For a century, the Spanish century, little changed along El Camino Real. Nothing could be called a town. Horsemen sauntered or gaily, wildly raced.
Under the oaks the poppies bloomed, the “cup of gold” of the Spaniard. Cattle lazily grazed. Elk moved among them in the easy truce of the herbivorous.
On occasion, a grizzly might lurch from a scrub thicket to break the neck of a young bull. Sometimes a panther dropped like a stone from his tree perch. At night, the coyote sang hysterically to the stars.
Cattle had little value except for hide or tallow. The Indian got his fill of meat and the Spaniard in joyous fiesta and ceremony counted his long and serene days.
No one foresaw the changes the gold find was to bring. No one saw the endless caravans and the fleets of windjammers that would populate the state a hundred fold in a few years. And would change the government and way of life for all time.
…to be continued…