On the Trail — September 25, 1841

Saturday, 25th. The creek became perfectly dry and its banks rose to high perpendicular precipices, so that there was no other road than the dry bed of the stream. Having come about 15 miles, we encamped in a place affording a little grass and water, where we could see nothing but the sky. But the men who ascended the precipice to see what was in the prospect ahead said that in about a mile we would come to a valley–this was delightful news.

Traversing the stony dry creek bed made the animals “tender-footed and sore,” a new worry to add to their many others. But the report of the scouts who climbed up the the top of the cliff gave them heart.  There was a valley and a river ahead, and it might be Mary’s River.

They continued on, day after day, through difficult country, still not sure that they were on Mary’s River. They averaged 15-20 miles a day — good progress — but in doubt every step of the way. By September 30th they had spent more than a week on this stream (probably the South Fork of the Humboldt River) that led northward, and they had been told that Mary’s River ran west southwest. Just imagine their anxiety!

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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