August 20, 1841

Friday, 20th. Company remained here while two men went to explore the country. They returned bringing the intelligence that we were within ten miles of where the river disembogued itself into the Great Salt Lake. This was the fruit of having no pilot — we had passed through Cash valley, where we intended to have stopped and did not know it.

“Disembogue” — there’s a word you don’t see every day.

Up until the Parting of the Ways they had had a pilot, Thomas Fitzpatrick, the trail guide hired by Father De Smet. He didn’t work for the Bidwell-Bartleson Party, so they lost his guidance when they split off from the party of missionaries that he was hired to guide into Idaho.

On this map, the green line shows the route of the Bidwell-Bartleson Party. They will skirt the north side of the Great Salt Lake and head west into the desert.

National Historic Trails map of Utah

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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