Fiction | March 01, 1999

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He kept to himself on the ferry, going up the Sacramento from San Francisco. A lot of the other men on board had partners or were striking up friendships. He’d volunteered his name and home state, Hy Hopgoode, Iowa, to a couple of men from Florida who sat next to him on the top deck, but he let it drop after that. He didn’t mention that he’d been here in California before. When the ferry docked the next day at Sacramento City, most of the passengers headed toward the outfitters for supplies, buying so much it seemed they were expecting the diggings to be right at hand, like they’d only have to carry their heavy packs a couple of miles. He knew better but still overloaded himself with food and equipment before heading up the road.

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