On the Trail — July 16-18, 1841

Friday 16th. Traveled about 10 miles and encamped opposite the Wind River mountains where we were in full view of many lofty peaks glittering with eternal snow and frost under the blaze of a July sun.

Sunday, 18th. Left Sweet Water this morning, course SW. Crossed the divide which separates the water of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and after a travel of 20 miles reached Little Sandy, a branch of Green river – 1 buffalo was killed.

Leaving the Sweetwater River, the emigrants took the gradual climb up through South Pass, as a few wagons had done before them, and many, many more would do in the following years. As George R. Stewart wrote,”Here, at the summit of the Rocky Mountains, the very backbone of the continent, the grade was easy and the pass itself was more like a broad plain, so level that you were never sure when you passed from the Atlantic to the Pacific watershed.” (The California Trail)

South Pass–hardly the inspiring vista you expect for the Continental Divide.

Meanwhile the company awaited the return of John Gray, who had set off in search of the trappers who would surely be interested in the items (alcohol) that some members of the group had brought along to sell.

Stay tuned for more about the trappers and John Gray.

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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