September 2, 1841

Thursday, 2nd. Idle in camp.

What does “idle in camp” mean? Maybe a few of the thirty men are out hunting, but they haven’t been having any success with that. The rest are perhaps discussing their situation, repairing harness or wagons, trying not to think about food, and taking naps.

And waiting. Waiting and hoping that their two scouts have found Mary’s River and are on their way back with news. The trouble is, none of them know where the river is. The trappers at Fort Hall told them to go south, and then west, but they don’t know how far in either direction. From where they are now, at Tenmile Spring, the headwaters of Mary’s River (the Humboldt River) are over 100 miles away. They must have been hoping that it was a lot closer than that, but they have no idea.

“Idle in camp”, a drawing by Father Nicholas Point

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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