September 27, 1841 — Palisade Canyon

Monday, 27th. Road was very difficult all day; course of the stream W. Traveled about 20 miles.

They are not hauling wagons anymore, so even if the “road” is rough, they can still make 20 miles a day, which is not bad. Jimmy John thought it was 25 miles.

Today we traveled about 25 miles down Marys river through a deep valley with clifts of rock in each side some times perpendicular for some hundred feet through which the river runs in a southwest course. We camped on the bank of the river where the valley widens a little. We killed an ox this evening for beef.

They are pretty sure now that they are on Mary’s River. The deep, cliff-bordered valley is Palisade Canyon. Today the railroad runs through the canyon, but not the road (I-80), which bypasses the canyon, just like most other wagon trains did. (This information is from No Trail to Follow: The First Wagon Party to California, 1841, by Michael E. LaSalle, 2018. If you ever want to follow the route of the Bidwell-Bartleson Party step by step, this is the book for you.)

Alfred A. Hart (1816-1908), photographer – Library of Congress
“Entering the Palisades. Ten Mile Canyon” 1868

They killed an ox for beef. They don’t have any other provisions anymore. They have about 10 oxen left. Will the beef on the hoof hold out long enough to get them to California? Keep reading.

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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