August 25, 1841 — Salt Springs

Wednesday, 25th. Remained here all day.

They are camped at Salt Springs, on the northern side of the Great Salt Lake. The water is brackish and barely drinkable, but they stay so that their animals can rest and recuperate. Jimmy John said of this place:

These springs are deep. Some of our horses would have drowned had we not seen them in time. There are also extensive plains here which border on the Lake.”

By the time the Bidwell-Bartleson Party got to the Great Basin, they had been traveling for nearly four months. The last few weeks had been especially hard on the animals, going ten to twenty miles a day. They couldn’t keep up this pace — not on salty water and dry grass. Bidwell and his friends were finding that they had to rest the animals more and more often, and so on the 25th they stayed put, giving the oxen a chance to recuperate. But they couldn’t afford to delay either, so the next day they harnessed up the oxen and got on the trail again.

The picture is of Meadow Hot Springs, near Fillmore, Utah. Not where John Bidwell was at all, but something like I imagine the springs might have looked.

Photo courtesy:

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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