August 23, 1841 — The Great Salt Lake

Monday, 23rd. Started, bearing our course west, in order to pass the Salt Lake, passed many salt plains and springs in the forenoon. The day was hot. The hills and land bordering on the plains were covered with wild sage. In passing the declivity of a hill, we observed this sage had been plucked up and arranged in long minows, extending near a mile in length. It had been done by the Indians, but for what purpose we could not imagine, unless it was to decoy game. At evening, we arrived in full view of the Salt Lake. Water was very scarce. Cedar grows here, both on the hills and in the valleys. Distance, twenty miles.

“Minows” is probably the printer’s misreading of “windrows,” a long line of raked hay or sheaves of grain laid out to dry.

Bidwell’s first view of Great Salt Lake. Photo by Roy D. Tea

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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