July 31, 1841 — This Lonesome Part of Creation

Saturday, 31st. Left Ham’s fork this morning. A distance of 14 miles, over an uncommonly hilly road, took us to Black’s fork of Green river, on which we encamped. Here we found a little grass and no wood. The hills, which everywhere rose to view, were thinly clad with shrubby cedars. The fruit found in this lonesome part of creation — serviceberries on the mts. and currants on the streams. In the afternoon we descried a large smoke rising from beyond the intervening chain of hills. From this and other signs we were assured that there were plenty of Indians in the country. It was necessary therefore to keep a vigilant look-out, lest the Blackfeet should leave us minus a few horses.

The serviceberry (amelanchier) is a delicious and highly nutritious native of North America, also known as shadbush, shadblow, saskatoon, and juneberry. The berries are dark purple when ripe. Native Americans used dried serviceberries in pemmican. For more about serviceberries, check out this article at the Backyard Forager.

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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