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Donnell Vista Point by chateaugrief Donnell Vista Point by chateaugrief

This is Donnell Vista Point up near Sonora Pass in Stanislaus County north of Yosemite.  It’s a lazy summer week and I wanted to do something with soft natural colors.  The first of the pioneer wagon trains came through here in 1841, the Bidwell-Bartleson Party.  Whenever I read about the wagon guys, I’m always struck by how utterly unprepared, completely insanely unprepared these people were.  For example, Bidwell, upon being elected captain of their wagon party and charged with finding a route, figured that they could just ‘head west with the sun’ along the rivers. I don’t think he even had a compass let alone any idea of how to navigate! They were smart enough not to take a whole bunch of women and children on the first train though, only one woman with a baby.  They knew about the Sierra Nevadas by now from the mountain men, and they knew about the salt lake.  But they got lost, they got trapped in blizzards, they came within an ace of starving themselves to death, and meanwhile, all this hardship wasn’t enough to get in the way of bickering enough that they split up.  They found themselves stuck wandering the canyon at Donnell Vista Point (which had less water in it before, there’s a dam) and they had to retrace their path, take the high road and then wander down it for miles to find a way across, all the way to Stanislaus River Canyon.  Eventually they made it to Mt. Diablo, where they were basically on flat ground and home free.  But with all these unprepared, not-ready-for-the-wilderness-and-certainly-not-mountain-men…let’s just call ‘em “city-slickers” for convenience, and all the Emigration Societies that they formed back in the midwest and loans that they took out to buy wagons and animals and supplies…why did they leave in the first place?  When you look at the history of the midwest it’s not until the 1850’s and 1860’s when the Civil war was about to torch off and everyone was getting massacred in raid after raid when it looked like it really got bad.  What convinced the 1840’s wagoners to leave it all and head west?  I’m going to look to the financial panic of 1837.  

This was an interesting point in time for the United States.  I’d almost say that the entire system was on the verge of collapse, or actually did collapse.  All because of foreign interest rates.  Banks stopped redeeming paper currency, there were massive runs on banks, almost half of the banks in the US failed and closed down etc.  There was a huge fight between Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, and the directors of the central bank who wanted a bailout. The failure of the banks to redeem paper currency probably cemented in the American mind the desire for hard currency (Jackson was very popular) that economists had been trying to ease people out of.  The 1837 panic was triggered when the Bank of England raised their interest rates because of a massive crop failure that caused England to need to import all it’s food for a year.  Why I ask… was there a massive crop failure?  The usual answer to that is the usual answer, and I found sandwiched right between Tambora  and Krakatoa, the 1835 eruption of Cosiguina in Nicaragua.  It took nearly a full degree off the earth’s temperature for a year, like they all those big explosions tend to do. So there’s a tenuous chain of speculation for you: Volcanoes destroying crops, leading to financial panics, leading to farmer bankruptcies, which sends their young folk with no options out to be pioneers, who walk across some of the world’s most impassable mountains, to find an Eden and strike gold in 1849 (and oil in 1865).  Boom!  California.  Pretty tenuous, I agree.  But look at the ice core graph on this Rutger’s university page of sulfate aerosols since 500 AD and you can see that right around 1800 there was a lot of turmoil, almost as much as in the Plague Years, which you can also see clearly marked on the graph. Pretty cool.    

Still not as tenuous as this stupid plan that Di and Kore are cooking up. 

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:iconcrimsonsunset218:
CrimsonSunset218 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2018
Interesting "story/history lesson".  I think finances would defiantly have ... encouraged the "city slickers" to leave home and go west.  I'm not sure what I would have done in those days.  Hmm... *rolls eyes* probably been in an abusive relationship with a guy I didn't love and couldn't divorce, obeying his every wish.  I'm going to stop thinking about that.

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:iconjoystiq-ac1:
Joystiq-ac1 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is amazing!
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:iconinkflood:
inkflood Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh my goodness this is gorgeous! 
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:iconxyisun:
xyisun Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Love your landscape dude.
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
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:iconxyisun:
xyisun Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome dude. you works really are a progress. they give so much angst and umph to us.
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:iconslowdog294:
slowdog294 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2018  Professional Photographer
Excellent. :D
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
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:iconslowdog294:
slowdog294 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2018  Professional Photographer
You are most welcome. :D
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:iconh1gh-v0ltag3:
H1Gh-V0LtAg3 Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2018
Awesome work!
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thank you!
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:iconlonermade:
lonermade Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you again for your interesting history of California and your painting is wonderful. One thing that I have thought about those times is that people were not as attached to things as we are today. Things were a lot more utilitarian and universal. They didn''t need a different fork for salad from entree, bicycle shorts and running shorts, a different pair of shoes for each three hours of the day. If something broke or was worn out you or someone nearby could make another and people basically lived outdoors so to pack their blankets, bucket, bowl, spoon, knife, boots and jacket into a wagon and take off may not have seemed bold and adventurous as we think today. What seems required faith, courage or being foolhearted is following someone that does not know where you were going, how to get there or what to do along the way. I suppose that is a folly for all ages.

One thing I found curious was in your phrase "they came within an ace of starving" I had not heard 'within an ace' before. In the mid-west people often come within an inch of any number of thing (except those that they are an inch away from) but not an ace. Is that a common phrase in California?
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
I'm amused by the comment that they didn't need a different fork for a salad and an entree...this was certainly not true among a certain social set.  Still isn't, as a matter of fact.  Forks are such a modern invention anyways.  bicycle shorts on the other hand, are an abomination unto the lord. gentlemen, you look like a chicken.  It's not easy to make things by hand.  I see a lot of it firsthand thanks to the titan blacksmith who makes this whole thing work.  I have made most of the objects mentioned...and from the perspective of knowing a bit about this...it would have taken a lot of pressure to make the pioneers take the trip.  Either that or they were just idiots, which they were't because the ones who lived were smart enough to make the learning curve.  Or they just turned cannibal.  There's always scenic Donner Pass to paint. That's a story that's much more horrific than is generally advertised publicly, how not to choose a wagon train.     

Within an ace...I suppose it's because I had a decorated card shark for a grandmother.  Can't say it's a phrase I've heard in California. Refers to aces low.  I guess aces can go low or high in 21, right?  I'm sure there's a compulsory aces low game I'm forgetting.  Baccarat?
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:iconlonermade:
lonermade Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
I take your point about social class and the making things is hard. I still think that restless youth would think it less unusual to head off for their dreams than they would today. I could be wrong but I think 1840s people lived largely outdoors and worked a lot with their hands, 2010s outdoors is where you are when you run between your air conditioned house to your air conditioned car and working with your hands is all thumbs. I also think the pioneers had no idea what it meant to cross the mountains.

So you've made a squirrel cooker?
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
squirrel cooker actually yes...but it's for like, chicken...squirrels are tree rats www.ebay.com/itm/Squirrel-Cook…  1840s America had a lot fewer amenities than say Europe did at the time, but there was still a wide variance in standard of living depending on where you lived.  When I started reading about the oregon trail and the guys who came to california in that first wave of 'non-mountain-men' I was absolutely floored by how difficult it was, and how badly they were unprepared...yet they rose to meet the challenge.  I suppose thats why we admire the pioneers so much, I look at these mountain passes and say, could I do that?  I can't imagine I would.  there's a thousand reasons why I wouldn't make that journey...like...dysentery...now i'm going to be humming that stupid song all day...  then again a sizable number of the pioneers shipped their heavy furniture around cape horn to meet them when they got there...dunno what to make of that, but these people weren't necessarily destitute
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:iconlonermade:
lonermade Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2018  Hobbyist Photographer
So a chicken cooker, which tastes just like squirrel so I'm told or is that vice versa. Everything tastes just like something when they are trying to trick you in to eating it. ;) I figured there were rich heading west too but you are saying they shipped their stuff and didn't travel with it? I suspected the rich would travel by ship and wagons over the mountains was the path taken by middle and lower classes. You obviously know better than I. I was trying to apply the bit of knowledge I have for what sent young men to lumber camps here in Michigan as similar experience for those that crossed the mountains. Crossing the Rockys and the Sierra Nevadas would certainly be an arduous journey and those that made it are certainly to be admired. If they really understood what they were in for I believe many would have stayed home and I suppose it is as likely the rich would have been just as oblivious to the challenge.
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:iconrocannon92:
Rocannon92 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Professional General Artist
amazing
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
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:iconcreeperman0508:
CreeperMan0508 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
fantastic landscape, looks beautiful
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
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:iconcreeperman0508:
CreeperMan0508 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
you're welcome
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:iconjollyjunk8:
jollyjunk8 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Student General Artist
this is beautiful. I don't get how people make something so good, all I do is draw crappy stuff.
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!  my advice is keep drawing crappy things until they're not as crappy anymore.  that's what I'm trying to do ;)  
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:iconcandiedsnakes:
CandiedSnakes Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
This is beautiful! Bullet1 Pixel Rose Bullet - Pastel Pink Bullet1 
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
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:iconsereida-arts:
Sereida-Arts Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Student General Artist
Looks like an amazing place to be :) Your work is impressive :D
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!  
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:iconsereida-arts:
Sereida-Arts Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2018  Student General Artist
you're welcome :D
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:iconrose-hunter:
Rose-Hunter Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
that's gorgeous
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
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:iconrose-hunter:
Rose-Hunter Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
you're welcome!
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:iconviktorgjokaj:
ViktorGjokaj Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing!
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
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:iconskautsslv:
SkautssLV Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018
Awesome!
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
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:iconmpz28:
mpz28 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018
very nice Cool Emoticon Love Bravo #2
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
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:iconuranus-seventhsun:
Uranus-seventhsun Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018
Fascinating history. Funny how volcanoes can lead people to do the stupidest things.
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Volcanoes.  When you look at that graph and think about these major periods of civic unrest...it's spooky.  But why shouldn't a massive explosion like that have lasting effects?  I have always been fascinated by volcanoes.  Let's hope I don't ever get to see one up close.  
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:iconuranus-seventhsun:
Uranus-seventhsun Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2018
Yep, we've had it easy for the last two centuries and there are several ticking bombs which are overdue to blow. 
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:iconbcfoster20:
Bcfoster20 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018  Student Photographer
Wow this is sooo splendid
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
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:iconbcfoster20:
Bcfoster20 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Student Photographer
Welcome
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:icondragondoodle:
dragondoodle Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Gorgeous picture and very interesting bit of history as well :nod:
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thank you!  
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:iconlorenzoturtle:
LorenzoTurtle Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018
wow amazing
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:iconchateaugrief:
chateaugrief Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!
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:iconjohnlockfangirl:
JohnlockFanGirl Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018
This is beautiful. :D
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June 13
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