August 26, 1841 — Sand, Salt, and Sagebrush

Thursday, 26th. Traveled all day over dry barren plains, producing nothing but sage, or rather, as it ought to be called, wormwood, and which I believe will grow without water or soil. Two men were sent ahead to search for water, but returned a little while before dark, unsuccessful.

Our course intersected an Indian trail, which we followed directly north towards the mountains, knowing that in these dry countries the Indian trails always lead to the nearest water. Having traveled till about 10 o’clock p.m. made a halt, and waited until morning. Distance about 30 miles.

This was one of those days when they traveled all day in the hot sun and far into the night, hoping to find fresh water, and saw nothing but sand, salt, and sagebrush. Another day like that might have killed them all. They were wise to follow the Indian trail. It would lead them to water eventually.

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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