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The Discovery of Yellowstone Park by Nathaniel Pitt Langford

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Farther along the base of this mountain is a sulphurous cavern about
twenty feet deep, and seven or eight feet in diameter at its mouth, out
of which the steam is thrown in jets with a sound resembling the puffing
of a steam-boat when laboring over a sand-bar, and with as much
uniformity and intonation as if emitted by a high-pressure engine. From
hundreds of fissures in the adjoining mountain from base to summit,
issue hot sulphur vapors, the apertures through which they escape being
encased in thick incrustations of sulphur, which in many instances is
perfectly pure. There are nearby a number of small sulphur springs, not
especially remarkable in appearance.

About one hundred yards from these springs is a large hot spring of
irregular shape, but averaging forty feet long by twenty-five wide, the
water of which is of a dark muddy color. Still farther on are twenty or
thirty springs of boiling mud of different degrees of consistency and
color, and of sizes varying from two to eight feet in diameter, and of
depths below the surface varying from three to eight feet. The mud in
these springs is in most cases a little thinner than mortar prepared
for plastering, and, as it is thrown up from one to two feet, I can
liken its appearance to nothing so much as Indian meal hasty pudding
when the process of boiling is nearly completed, except that the
puffing, bloated bubbles are greatly magnified, being from a few inches
to two feet in diameter. In some of the springs the mud is of dark brown
color, in others nearly pink, and in one it was almost yellow. Springs
four or five feet in diameter and not over six feet apart, have no
connection one with another either above or beneath the surface, the mud
in them being of different colors. In some instances there is a
difference of three feet in the height to which the mud in adjoining
springs attains. There may be in some instances two or more springs
which receive their supply of mud and their underground pressure from
the same general source, but these instances are rare, nor can we
determine positively that such is the case. This mud having been worked
over and over for many years is as soft as the finest pigments.

All of these springs are embraced within a circle the radius of which is
from a thousand to twelve hundred feet, and the whole of this surface
seems to be a smothered crater covered over with an incrustation of
sufficient strength and thickness to bear usually a very heavy weight,
but which in several instances yielded and even broke through under the
weight of our horses as we rode over it. We quickly dismounted, and as
we were making some examinations, the crust broke through several times
in some thin places through which vapor was issuing. Under the whole of
this incrustation the hottest fires seem to be raging, and the heat
issuing from the vents or from the crevices caused from the breaking in
of the surface is too intense to be borne by the gloved hand for an
instant. Surrounding the natural vents are deposits of pure sulphur,
portions of which in many instances we broke off, and after allowing
them to cool, brought them away with us. On the top of the mountain
overlooking the large sulphur spring is a small living crater about six
inches in diameter, out of which issue hot vapor and smoke. On the slope
adjoining the mud spring is another crater of irregular shape, but
embracing about one hundred square inches, out of which issues hot
vapor, the rocks adjoining changing color under the intense heat with
every breath blown upon them.

The tramp of our horses' feet as we rode over the incrustation at the
base of the mountain returned a hollow sound; yet while some of our
party were not disposed to venture upon it with their horses, still I
think with care in selecting a route there is very little danger in
riding over it.

On the mountain, large quantities of sulphur formed by the condensation
of the vapor issuing from the crevices, now closed, but once in activity
in the incrusted covering, have been deposited, and we collected many
specimens of pure and crystallized sulphur. Thousands of pounds of pure
and nearly pure sulphur are now lying on the top and sides of the
mountain, all of which can be easily gathered with the aid of a spade to
detach it from the mountain side incrustations to which it adheres in
the process of condensation. We gave to this mountain the name "Crater

Five miles further on we camped near the "Mud geyser." Our course to-day
has been for the greater part over a level valley, which was plainly
visible from the top of Mount Washburn. The water of the river at this
point is strongly impregnated with the mineral bases of the springs
surrounding our camp, and that empty into the river above it.

Friday, September 2.--To-day we have occupied ourselves in examining the
springs and other wonders at this point. At the base of the foot-hills
adjoining our camp are three large springs of thick boiling mud, the
largest of which resembles an immense cauldron. It is about thirty feet
in diameter, bordered by a rim several feet wide, upon which one can
stand within reach of the boiling mass of mud, the surface of which is
four or five feet below the rim enclosing it, the rim being a little
raised above the surrounding level. Some twelve or fifteen rods from
this spring are two other springs from ten to twelve feet in diameter.
Near by is a hot (not boiling) spring of sulphur, fifteen to eighteen
feet in diameter, too hot to bathe in. From these we passed over the
timbered hill at the base of which these springs are situated. In the
timber along the brow of the hill and near its summit, and immediately
under the living trees, the hot sulphur vapor and steam issue from
several fissures or craters, showing that the hottest fires are raging
at some point beneath the surface crust, which in a great many places
gives forth a hollow sound as we pass over it. Through a little coulee
on the other side of the hill runs a small stream of greenish water,
which issues from a small cavern, the mouth of which is about five feet
high and the same dimension in width. From the mouth, the roof of the
cavern descends at an angle of about fifteen degrees, till at the
distance of twenty feet from the entrance it joins the surface of the
water. The bottom of the cavern under the water seems to descend at
about the same angle, but as the water is in constant ebullition, we
cannot determine this fact accurately. The water is thrown out in
regular spasmodic jets, the pulsations occurring once in ten or twelve
seconds. The sides and mouth of this cavern are covered with a dark
green deposit, some of which we have taken with us for analysis. About
two hundred yards farther on is another geyser, the flow of which occurs
about every six hours, and when the crater is full the diameter of the
surface is about fourteen feet, the sides of the crater being of an
irregular funnelshape, and descending at an angle of about forty-five
degrees. At the lowest point at which we saw the water it was about
seven feet in diameter on the surface. One or another of our party
watched the gradual rise of the water for four or five hours. The
boiling commenced when the water had risen half way to the surface,
occasionally breaking forth with great violence. When the water had
reached its full height in the basin, the stream was thrown up with
great force to a height of from twenty to thirty feet, the column being
from seven to ten feet in diameter at the midway height of the column,
from bottom to top. The water was of a dark lead color, and those
portions of the sides of the crater that were overflowed and then
exposed by the rise and fall of the water were covered with stalagmites
formed by the deposit from the geyser.

While surveying these wonders, our ears were constantly saluted by dull,
thundering, booming sounds, resembling the reports of distant artillery.
As we approached the spot whence they proceeded, the ground beneath us
shook and trembled as from successive shocks of an earthquake. Ascending
a small hillock, the cause of the uproar was found to be a mud
volcano--the greatest marvel we have yet met with. It is about midway up
a gentle pine-covered slope, above which on the lower side its crater,
thirty feet in diameter, rises to a height of about thirty-five feet.
Dense masses of steam issue with explosive force from this crater, into
whose tapering mouth, as they are momentarily dispelled by the wind, we
can see at a depth of about forty feet the regurgitating contents. The
explosions are not uniform in force or time, varying from three to eight
seconds, and occasionally with perfect regularity occurring every five
seconds. They are very distinctly heard at the distance of half a mile,
and the massive jets of vapor which accompany them burst forth like the
smoke of burning gunpowder.

Some of these pulsations are much more violent than others, but each one
is accompanied by the discharge of an immense volume of steam, which at
once shuts off all view of the inside of the crater; but sometimes,
during the few seconds intervening between the pulsations, or when a
breeze for a moment carries the steam to one side of the crater, we can
see to the depth of thirty feet into the volcano, but cannot often
discover the boiling mud; though occasionally, when there occurs an
unusually violent spasm or concussion, a mass of mud as large in bulk as
a hogshead is thrown up as high as our heads, emitting blinding clouds
of steam in all directions, and crowding all observers back from the
edge of the crater. We were led to believe that this volcano has not
been long in existence; but that it burst forth the present summer but a
few months ago. The green leaves and the limbs of the surrounding forest
trees are covered with fresh clay or mud, as is also the newly grown
grass for the distance of 180 feet from the crater. On the top branches
of some of the trees near by--trees 150 feet high--we found particles of
dried mud that had fallen upon the high branches in their descent just
after this first outburst, which must have thrown the contents of the
volcano as high as 250 or 300 feet. Mr. Hauser, whose experience as an
engineer and with projectile forces entitles his opinion to credit,
estimates from the particles of mud upon the high trees, and the
distance to which they were thrown, that the mud had been thrown, in
this explosion, to the height of between 300 and 400 feet. By actual
measurement we found particles of this mud 186 feet from the edge of the

We did not dare to stand upon the leeward side of the crater and
withstand the force of the steam; and Mr. Hedges, having ventured too
near the rim on that side, endangered his life by his temerity, and was
thrown violently down the exterior side of the crater by the force of
the volume of steam emitted during one of these fearful convulsions.
General Washburn and I, who saw him fall, were greatly concerned lest
while regaining his feet, being blinded by the steam, and not knowing in
which direction to turn, he should fall into the crater.

Between the volcano, the mud geyser and the cavern spring are a number
of hot sulphur and mud springs, of sizes varying from two to twenty feet
in diameter, and many openings or crevices from which issue hot vapor or
steam, the mouths of which are covered with sulphur deposits or other

From the mud volcano we moved up the valley about four miles to our camp
on the river, passing several mud puffs on the way. One of the soldiers
brought in a large string of river trout, but the water of the river is
strongly impregnated with the overflow from springs near its bank, and
is not palatable. Some of our party who have drank the water are feeling
nauseated. Others think that their illness is caused by partaking too
freely of one of the luxuries of our larder, canned peaches. I assuaged
my thirst with the peaches, and have not partaken of the water, and
there is no one in our camp in finer condition than I am.

Lieutenant Doane's felon has caused him great suffering to-day, and I
have appealed to him to allow me to lance it. I have for many years
carried a lancet in my pocketbook, but I find that I have inadvertently
left it at home. So all this day, while on horseback, I have been
preparing for the surgical operation by sharpening my penknife on the
leathern pommel of my saddle as I rode along. I have in my seamless sack
a few simple medicines, including a vial of chloroform. Lieutenant Doane
has almost agreed to let me open the felon, provided I put him to sleep
with the chloroform; but I feel that I am too much of a novice in the
business to administer it. However, I have told him that I would do so
if he demanded it. Our elevation to-day is about 7,500 feet above sea

Saturday, September 3.--This morning General Washburn and I left camp
immediately after breakfast and returned four miles on our track of
September 1st to Crater Hill and the mud springs, for the purpose of
making farther examinations. We found the sulphur boiling spring to be
full to overflowing, the water running down the inclined surface of the
crust in two different directions. It was also boiling with greater
force than it was when we first saw it, the water being occasionally
thrown up to the height of ten feet. About 80 or 100 yards from this
spring we found what we had not before discovered, a boiling spring of
tartaric acid in solution, with deposits around the edge of the spring,
of which we gathered a considerable quantity. In the basin where we had
found so many mud springs we to-day found a hot boiling spring
containing a substance of deep yellow color, the precise nature of which
we could not readily ascertain. We accordingly brought away some of it
in a bottle (as is our usual custom in such cases of uncertainty), and
we will have an analysis of it made on our return home. In the same
basin we also found some specimens of black lava.

A half mile south of these springs we found an alum spring yielding but
little water and surrounded with beautiful alum crystals. From its
border we obtained a great many curiously shaped deposits of alum
slightly impregnated with iron. The border of this spring below the
surface had been undermined in many places by the violent boiling of the
water, to the distance of several feet from the margin, so that it was
unsafe to stand near the edge of the spring. This, however, I did not
at first perceive; and, as I was unconcernedly passing by the spring, my
weight made the border suddenly slough off beneath my feet. General
Washburn noticed the sudden cracking of the incrustation before I did,
and I was aroused to a sense of my peril by his shout of alarm, and had
sufficient presence of mind to fall suddenly backwards at full length
upon the sound crust, whence, with my feet and legs extended over the
spring, I rolled to a place of safety. But for General Washburn's shout
of alarm, in another instant I would have been precipitated into this
boiling pool of alum. We endeavored to sound the depth of this spring
with a pole twenty-five feet long, but we found no bottom.

Everything around us--air, earth, water--is impregnated with sulphur. We
feel it in every drop of water we drink, and in every breath of air we
inhale. Our silver watches have turned to the color of poor brass,

General Washburn and I again visited the mud vulcano to-day. I
especially desired to see it again for the one especial purpose, among
others of a general nature, of assuring myself that the notes made in my
diary a few days ago are not exaggerated. No! they are not! The
sensations inspired in me to-day, on again witnessing its convulsions,
and the dense clouds of vapor expelled in rapid succession from its
crater, amid the jarring of the earth, and the ominous intonations from
beneath, were those of mingled dread and wonder. At war with all former
experience it was so novel, so unnaturally natural, that I feel while
now writing and thinking of it, as if my own senses might have deceived
me with a mere figment of the imagination. But it is not so. The wonder,
than which this continent, teeming with nature's grandest exhibitions,
contains nothing more marvelous, still stands amid the solitary
fastnesses of the Yellowstone, to excite the astonishment of the
thousands who in coming years shall visit that remarkable locality.[J]

Returning to the camp we had left in the morning, we found the train had
crossed the river, and we forded at the same place, visiting, however,
on our way another large cauldron of boiling mud lying nearly opposite
our camp. Soon after fording the river we discovered some evidence that
trappers had long ago visited this region. Here we found that the earth
had been thrown up two feet high, presenting an angle to the river,
quite ingeniously concealed by willows, and forming a sort of rifle-pit,
from which a hunter without disclosing his hiding place could bring down
swans, geese, ducks, pelicans, and even the furred animals that made
their homes along the river bank.

We followed the trail of the advance party along the bank of the river,
and most of the way through a dense forest of pine timber and over a
broad swampy lowland, when we came into their camp on the Yellowstone
lake two miles from where it empties into the river, and about ten miles
from our morning camp. We passed Brimstone basin on our left, and saw
jets of steam rising from the hills back of it. From all appearances the
Yellowstone can be forded at almost any point between the rapids just
above the upper fall and the lake, unless there are quicksands and
crevices which must be avoided.

Yellowstone lake, as seen from our camp to-night, seems to me to be the
most beautiful body of water in the world. In front of our camp it has a
wide sandy beach like that of the ocean, which extends for miles and as
far as the eye can reach, save that occasionally there is to be found a
sharp projection of rocks. The overlooking bench rises from the water's
edge about eight feet, forming a bank of sand or natural levee, which
serves to prevent the overflow of the land adjoining, which, when the
lake is receiving the water from the mountain streams that empty into it
while the snows are melting, is several feet below the surface of the
lake. On the shore of the lake, within three or four miles of our camp,
are to be found specimens of sandstone, resembling clay, of sizes
varying from that of a walnut to a flour barrel, and of every odd shape
imaginable. Fire and water have been at work here together--fire to
throw out the deposit in a rough shape, and water to polish it. From our
camp we can see several islands from five to ten miles distant in a
direct line. Two of the three "Tetons," which are so plainly visible to
travelers going to Montana from Eagle Rock bridge on Snake river, and
which are such well-known and prominent landmarks on that stage route,
we notice to-night in the direction of south 25 degrees west from our
camp. We shall be nearer to them on our journey around the lake.

Sunday, September 4.--This morning at breakfast time Lieutenant Doane
was sleeping soundly and snoring sonorously, and we decided that we
would not waken him, but would remain in camp till the afternoon and
perhaps until morning. Walter Trumbull suggested that a proper deference
to Jake Smith's religious sentiments ought to be a sufficient reason
for not traveling on Sunday, whereupon Jake immediately exclaimed, "If
we're going to remain in camp, let's have a game of draw."

Last evening Lieutenant Doane's sufferings were so intense that General
Washburn and I insisted that he submit to an operation, and have the
felon opened, and he consented provided I would administer chloroform.
Preparations were accordingly made after supper. A box containing army
cartridges was improvised as an operating table, and I engaged Mr. Bean,
one of our packers, and Mr. Hedges as assistant surgeons. Hedges was to
take his position at Doarte's elbow, and was to watch my motion as I
thrust in the knife blade, and hold the elbow and fore-arm firmly to
prevent any involuntary drawing back of the arm by Lieutenant Doane, at
the critical moment. When Doane was told that we were ready, he asked,
"Where is the chloroform?" I replied that I had never administered it,
and that after thinking the matter over I was afraid to assume the
responsibility of giving it. He swallowed his disappointment, and turned
his thumb over on the cartridge box, with the nail down. Hedges and Bean
were on hand to steady the arm, and before one could say "Jack
Robinson," I had inserted the point of my penknife, thrusting it down to
the bone, and had ripped it out to the end of the thumb. Doane gave one
shriek as the released corruption flew out in all directions upon
surgeon and assistants, and then with a broad smile on his face he
exclaimed, "That was elegant!" We then applied a poultice of bread and
water, which we renewed a half hour later, and Doane at about eight
o'clock last night dropped off into a seemingly peaceful sleep, which
has been continuous up to the time of this writing, two o'clock p.m.[K]

Evening of September 4.--I have been glad to have this rest to-day, for
with the time spent in writing up a detailed diary in addition to the
work about camp, I have been putting in about sixteen hours work each
day. So this afternoon a nap of two or three hours was a pleasant rest.
I strolled for a long distance down the shore, the sand of which abounds
in small crystals, which some of our party think may possess some value.
Craters emitting steam through the water are frequently seen beneath the
surface, at a distance of from forty to fifty feet from its margin, the
water in which is very hot, while that of the lake surrounding them I
found to be too cool for a pleasant bath. In some places the lake water
is strongly impregnated with sulphur. One crater emits a jet of steam
with a hissing noise as loud as that usually heard at the blowing off of
the safety valve of a steam-boat. In the clear light of the setting sun,
we can see the three Tetons in a southwesterly direction.

[Illustration: GRAND TETON.]

Some member of our party has asked what is the meaning of the word
"Teton" given to these mountains.[L] Lieutenant Doane says it is a
French word signifying "Woman's Breast," and that it was given to these
mountains by the early French explorers, because of their peculiar
shape. I think that the man who gave them this name must have seen them
from a great distance; for as we approach them, the graceful curvilinear
lines which obtained for them this delicate appellation appear angular
and ragged. From our present point of view the name seems a misnomer. If
there were twelve of them instead of three, they might better be called
the "Titans," to illustrate their relation to the surrounding country.
He indeed must have been of a most susceptible nature, and, I would fain
believe, long a dweller amid these solitudes, who could trace in these
cold and barren peaks any resemblance to the gentle bosom of woman.

Monday, September 5.--Lieutenant Doane continued to sleep all last
night, making a thirty-six hours nap, and after dressing his thumb and
taking an observation to determine our elevation, which we found to be
7714 feet above the ocean, we broke camp at nine o'clock. After the
train had got under way, I asked Mr. Hedges to remain behind and assist
me in measuring, by a rude system of triangulation, the distance across
the lake as well as to the Tetons; but owing to the difficulty we
encountered in laying out a base line of sufficient length, we abandoned
the scheme after some two hours of useless labor.


Following the trail of the advance party, we traveled along the lake
beach for about six miles, passing a number of small hot sulphur springs
and lukewarm sulphur ponds, and three hot steam jets surrounded by
sulphur incrustations. After six miles, we left the beach, and traveled
on the plateau overlooking the lake. This plateau was covered with a
luxuriant growth of standing pine and a great deal of fallen timber,
through which at times considerable difficulty was experienced in
passing. A little way from the trail is an alkaline spring about six
feet in diameter. We came to camp on the shore of the lake, after having
marched fifteen miles in a southerly direction. We have a most beautiful
view of the lake from our camp. Yesterday it lay before us calm and
unruffled, save by the waves which gently broke upon the shore. To-day
the winds lash it into a raging sea, covering its surface with foam,
while the sparkling sand along the shore seems to form for it a jeweled
setting, and the long promontories stretching out into it, with their
dense covering of pines, lend a charming feature to the scene. Water
never seemed so beautiful before. Waves four feet high are rolling in,
and there appear to be six or seven large islands; but we cannot be
certain about this number until we reach the south shore. From this
point we cannot tell whether the wooded hills before us are islands or
promontories. On the shore are to be found large numbers of carnelians
or crystallized quartz, agates, specimens of petrified wood, and lava
pebbles or globules. We have found also many curious objects of slate
formation, resembling hollowed-out cups, discs, and two well formed
resemblances of a leg and foot, and many other curious objects which
Nature in her most capricious mood has scattered over this watery
solitude. All these seem to be the joint production of fire and water;
the fire forming and baking them, and the water polishing them. We
called this place "Curiosity Point."

If Mount Washington were set in the lake, its summit would be two
thousand feet below the surface of the water.

To-night a conference of the party was held, to decide whether we would
continue our journey around the lake, or retrace our steps and pass
along the north side of the lake over to the Madison. By a vote of six
to three we have decided to go around the lake. Mr. Hauser voted in
favor of returning by way of the north side. My vote was cast for going
around the lake.

As we passed along the shore to-day, we could see the steam rising from
a large group of hot springs on the opposite shore of the lake bordering
on what seems to be the most westerly bay or estuary.[M] We will have an
opportunity to examine them at short range, when we have completed our
journey around the lake.

Tuesday, September 6.--We broke camp at ten thirty this morning,
bearing well to the southeast for an hour and then turning nearly due
south, our trail running through the woods, and for a large part of our
route throughout the day, through fallen timber, which greatly impeded
our progress. We did not make over ten miles in our day's travel.
Frequently we were obliged to leave the trail running through the woods,
and return to the lake, and follow the beach for some distance. We
passed along the base of a brimstone basin, the mountains forming a
semi-circle half way around it, the lake completing the circle. In
company with Lieutenant Doane I went up the side of the mountain, which
for the distance of three or four miles and about half way to the summit
is covered with what appears to be sulphate (?) of lime and flowers of
sulphur mixed. Exhalations are rising from all parts of the ground at
times, the odor of brimstone being quite strong; but the volcanic action
in this vicinity is evidently decreasing.

About half way up the deposit on the mountain side a number of small
rivulets take their rise, having sulphur in solution, and farther down
the mountain and near the base are the dry beds of several streams from
ten to twenty feet in width which bear evidence of having at some time
been full to the banks (two or three feet deep) with sulphur water. The
small streams now running are warm.

The side of the mountain over which we rode, seems for the most part to
be hollow, giving forth a rumbling sound beneath the feet, as we rode
upon the crust, which is very strong. In no instance did it give way as
did the crust at "Crater hill," under which the fires were raging,
though the incrustation appears to be very similar, abounding in vents
and fissures and emitting suffocating exhalations of sulphur vapor.

On the sides of the mountain were old fissures, surrounded by rusty
looking sulphur incrustations, now nearly washed away. The whole
mountain gives evidence of having been, a long time ago, in just the
same condition of conflagration as that in which we found "Crater hill;"
but all outward trace of fire has now disappeared, save what is found in
the warm water of the small streams running down the sides.

Our course for the past two days has been in nearly a south-southeast
direction, or about parallel with the Wind river mountains. We have
to-day seen an abundance of the tracks of elk and bears, and
occasionally the track of a mountain lion.

Wednesday, September 7.--Last night when all but the guards were asleep,
we were startled by a mountain lion's shrill scream, sounding so like
the human voice that for a moment I was deceived by it into believing
that some traveler in distress was hailing our camp. The stream near the
bank of which our camp lay, flows into the southeast arm of Yellowstone
lake, and for which the name "Upper Yellowstone" has been suggested by
some of our party; but Lieutenant Doane says that he thinks he has seen
on an old map the name "Bridger" given to some body of water near the
Yellowstone. We tried to cross the river near its mouth, but found the
mud in the bed of the stream and in the bottom lands adjoining too deep;
our horses miring down to their bellies. In accordance with plans agreed
upon last night, General Washburn and a few of the party started out
this morning in advance of the others to search for a practicable
crossing of the river and marshes, leaving the pack train in camp.

In company with Lieutenant Doane I went out upon a reconnaissance for
the purpose of determining the elevation of the mountains opposite our
camp, as well as the shape of the lake as far as we could see the
shore, and also to determine as far as possible our locality and the
best line of travel to follow in passing around the lake. There is just
enough excitement attending these scouting expeditions to make them a
real pleasure, overbalancing the labor attendant upon them. There is
very little probability that any large band of Indians will be met with
on this side of the lake, owing to the superstitions which originate in
the volcanic forces here found.

We followed along the high bank adjacent to the bottom through which the
river runs in a direction a little south of east for the distance of
about three miles, when we entered a heavily timbered ravine, which we
followed through the underbrush for some three miles, being frequently
obliged to dismount and lead our horses over the projecting rocks, or
plunging through bushes and fallen timber. At the end of two hours we
reached a point in the ascent where we could no longer ride in safety,
nor could our horses climb the mountain side with the weight of our
bodies on their backs. Dismounting, we took the bridle reins in our
hands, and for the space of an hour we led our horses up the steep
mountain side, when we again mounted and slowly climbed on our way,
occasionally stopping to give our horses a chance to breathe. Arriving
at the limit of timber and of vegetation, we tied our horses, and then
commenced the ascent of the steepest part of the mountain, over the
broken granite, great care being necessary to avoid sliding down the
mountain side with the loose granite. The ascent occupied us a little
more than four hours, and all along the mountain side, even to near the
summit, we saw the tracks of mountain sheep. The view from the summit of
this mountain, for wild and rugged grandeur, is surpassed by none I ever
before saw. The Yellowstone basin and the Wind river mountains were
spread out before us like a map. On the south the eye followed the
source of the Yellowstone above the lake, until, twenty-five miles away,
it was lost in an immense canon, beyond which two immense jets of vapor
rose to a height of probably three hundred feet, indicating that there
were other and perhaps greater wonders than those embraced in our
prescribed limit of exploration. On the north the outlet of the lake and
the steam from the mud geyser and mud volcano were distinctly visible,
while on the southeast the view followed to the horizon a succession of
lofty peaks and ridges at least thirty miles in width, whose jagged
slopes were filled with yawning caverns, pine-embowered recesses and
beetling precipices, some hundreds and some thousands of feet in height.
This is the range which Captain Raynolds, approaching from the east,
found impassable while on his exploring tour to the Yellowstone in the
year 1860. I shall, upon my return home, read Captain Raynolds' report
with renewed interest.[N]

The mountain on which we stood was the most westerly peak of a range
which, in long extended volume, swept to the southeastern horizon,
exhibiting a continuous elevation more than thirty miles in width, its
central line broken into countless points, knobs, glens and defiles, all
on the most colossal scale of grandeur and magnificence. Outside of
these, on either border, along the entire range, lofty peaks rose at
intervals, seemingly vying with each other in the varied splendors they
presented to the beholder. The scene was full of majesty. The valley at
the base of this range was dotted with small lakes. Lakes abound
everywhere--in the valleys, on the mountains and farther down on their
slopes, at all elevations. The appearance of the whole range was
suggestive of the existence, ages since, of a high plateau on a level
with these peaks (which seemed to be all of the same elevation), which
by the action of the water had been cut down in the intervals between
the peaks into deep gorges and canons. The sides of the mountains formed
in many places a perpendicular wall from 600 to 1,000 feet in height.

This range of mountains has a marvelous history. As it is the loftiest,
so it is probably the most remarkable lateral ridge of the Rocky range.
In the expedition sent across the continent by Mr. Astor, in 1811, under
command of Captain Wilson P. Hunt, that gentleman met with the first
serious obstacle to his progress at the eastern base of this range.
After numerous efforts to scale it, he turned away and followed the
valley of Snake river, encountering the most discouraging disasters
until he arrived at Astoria.[O]

I have read somewhere (I think in Washington Irving's "Astoria" or
"Bonneville's Adventures") that the Indians regard this ridge of
mountains as the crest of the world, and that among the Blackfeet there
is a fable that he who attains its summit catches a view of the "Land of
Souls" and beholds the "Happy Hunting Grounds" spread out below him,
brightening with the abodes of the free and generous spirits.

Lieutenant Doane and I were somewhat fatigued with our climb of four
hours' duration, and we refreshed ourselves with such creature comforts
as we found on the summit; but, although we attained the "crest," we did
not discern any "free and generous spirit," save that which we saw
"through a glass darkly."

At the point where we left our horses there was, on the east slope of
the mountain, a body of snow, the surface of which was nearly
horizontal, and the outer edge of which was thirty feet in perpendicular
height. This body of snow is perpetual. At this point the elevation, as
indicated by our aneroid barometer, was 9,476 feet, while at the summit
it was 10,327 feet, a difference of 581 feet, which was the broken
granite summit.

The descent occupied an hour and a quarter, when we struck the trail of
the pack train near the base of the mountain, which we followed until we
found three poles placed in the form of a tripod, the longer pole
pointing to the right to indicate that at this point the party had
changed its course.

[Illustration: Marker made of sticks.]

Obeying this Indian sign, we descended the bank bordering the valley and
traversed the bottom lands to the river, which we forded at a point
where it was about ninety feet wide and three feet deep, with a current
of about six miles an hour. This was about six or seven miles from the
mouth of the river. We followed the trail of the advance party through a
beautiful pine forest, free from underbrush, for the distance of two
miles, passing two beautiful lakes. By this time night had overtaken us,
and it was with difficulty that we could follow the trail, the tracks of
the horses' shoes, which were our sole guide, being hardly discernible.
But we pressed on, following the dark, serpentine line of freshly
disturbed earth till it turned up the side of the mountain, where we
followed it for upwards of a mile. Fearing lest we were not upon the
right trail, we dismounted, and, placing our faces close to the ground,
examined it carefully, but could not discover the impression of a single
horseshoe. Gathering a few dry branches of pine, we kindled a fire upon
the trail, when we discovered that we had been following, from the base
of the mountain, the trail of a band of elk that had crossed the line of
travel of the pack train at a point near the base of the mountain, and
in the dim twilight we had not discovered the mistake.


The prospect for a night on the mountain, without blankets or supper,
seemed now very good; but we retraced our steps as rapidly as possible,
and on reaching the base of the mountain, struck out for the lake,
resolving to follow the beach, trusting that our party had made their
camp on the shore of the lake, in which case we should find them; but
if camped at any considerable distance from the shore, we should not
find them. Our ride over fallen timber and through morass for the
distance of about two miles to the shore of the lake was probably
performed more skillfully in the darkness of the night than if we had
seen the obstacles in our path, and as we rounded a point on the smooth
beach we saw at a distance of a little over a mile the welcome watch
fire of our comrades. When we arrived within hailing distance we gave a
loud halloo, and the ready response by a dozen sympathetic voices of our
companions-in-arms showed that our own anxiety had been shared by them.
Our camp to-night is on the westerly side of the most southeasterly bay
of the lake. These bays are separated by long points of land extending
far out into the lake. From our camp of two days ago some of these
points seemed to be islands. From the top of the mountain, which Doane
and I ascended to-day, I made an outline map of the north and east sides
of the lake and part of the south side; but on account of the heavy
timber on the promontories I could not make a correct outline of the
south and west shores. General Washburn and Hauser, as well as myself,
have thus far made outlines of the lake shore as best we could from
points on a level with the lake, but these have been unsatisfactory and
have lacked completeness, and Washburn and Hauser have both expressed
their satisfaction with the sketch of the lake shore I made to-day from
the top of the mountain; and Washburn has just told me that Lieutenant
Doane has suggested that, as I was the first to reach the summit of the
mountain, the peak should be named for me. I shall be gratified if this
is done.[P]

7, 1870, AND COMPLETED SEPT. 10 AND 13.]

We have traveled from our morning camp about twelve miles, but we are
not more than four miles from it in a straight line.

Thursday, September 8.--Travel to-day has led us in zigzag directions
over fallen timber some twelve miles. We have halted on a small creek
about one mile from the most southerly arm of the lake and about seven
miles in a straight line from our morning camp.

This has been a terrible day for both men and horses. The standing trees
are so thick that we often found it impossible to find a space wide
enough for the pack animals to squeeze through, and we were frequently
separated from each other in a search for a route. Hedges and Stickney,
in this way, became separated from the rest of the party, and after
suffering all the feelings of desolation at being lost in this
wilderness, accidentally stumbled upon our camp, and they freely
expressed their joy at their good fortune in being restored to the
party. I fully sympathized with them, for, speaking from a personal
experience of a similar character which I had in 1862, I can say that a
man can have no more complete sense of utter desolation than that which
overwhelms him when he realizes that he is lost.

At one point while they were seeking some sign of the trail made by the
rest of the party, a huge grizzly bear dashed by them, frightening
Hedges' horse, which broke his bridle and ran away.

After supper Washburn and Hauser went up on the ridge back of the camp
to reconnoiter and ran across a she grizzly and her two cubs. Being
unarmed, they hastily returned to camp for their guns, and five or six
of us joined them in a bear hunt. The members of this hunting party were
all elated at the thought of bagging a fine grizzly, which seemed an
easy prey. What could one grizzly do against six hunters when her
instinctive duty would lead her to hurry her little ones to a place of

While putting our guns in order and making other preparations for the
attack, an animated discussion took place concerning a proper
disposition of the two cubs which were to be captured alive. Some of our
party thought that they ought to be carried home to Helena, but Bean and
Reynolds, our packers, being appealed to, thought the plan not feasible
unless they could be utilized as pack animals. When we reached the spot
where Washburn and Hauser had last seen the bear, we traced her into a
dense thicket, which, owing to the darkness, we did not care to
penetrate, for not one of us felt that we had lost that particular bear.
Jake Smith, with more of good sense than usual, but with his usual lack
of scriptural accuracy, remarked, "I always considered Daniel a great
fool to go into a den of bears."[Q]

Our journey for the entire day has been most trying, leading us through
a trackless forest of pines encumbered on all sides by prostrate trunks
of trees. The difficulty of urging forward our pack train, making choice
of routes, extricating the horses when wedged between the trees, and
re-adjusting the packs so that they would not project beyond the
sides of the horses, required constant patience and untiring toil,
and the struggle between our own docility and the obstacles in our way,
not unfrequently resulted in fits of sullenness or explosions of wrath
which bore no slight resemblance to the volcanic forces of the country

[Illustration: Benj. Stickney]

On one of these occasions when we were in a vast net of down timber and
brush, and each man was insisting upon his own particular mode of
extrication, and when our tempers had been sorely tried and we were in
the most unsocial of humors, speaking only in half angry expletives, I
recalled that beautiful line in Byron's "Childe Harold," "There is a
pleasure in the pathless woods," which I recited with all the "ore
rotundo" I could command, which struck the ludicrous vein of the company
and produced an instantaneous response of uproarious laughter, which, so
sudden is the transition between extremes, had the effect to restore
harmony and sociability, and, in fact, to create a pleasure in the
pathless wilderness we were traveling.

One of our pack horses is at once a source of anxiety and amusement to
us all. He is a remarkable animal owned by Judge Hedges, who, however,
makes no pretentious to being a good judge of horses. Mr. Hedges says
that the man from whom he purchased the animal, in descanting upon his
many excellent qualities, said: "He is that kind of an animal that
drives the whole herd before him." The man spoke truly, but Mr. Hedges
did not properly interpret the encomium, nor did he realize that the
seller meant to declare that the animal, from sheer exhaustion, would
always be lagging behind the others of the herd. From the start, and
especially during our journey through the forest, this pony, by his
acrobatic performances and mishaps, has furnished much amusement for us
all. Progress to-day could only be accomplished by leaping our animals
over the fallen trunks of trees. Our little broncho, with all the
spirit necessary, lacks oftentimes the power to scale the tree trunks.
As a consequence, he is frequently found resting upon his midriff with
his fore and hind feet suspended over the opposite sides of some huge
log. "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." He has an
ambitious spirit, which is exceeded only by his patience. He has had
many mishaps, any one of which would have permanently disabled a larger
animal, and we have dubbed him "Little Invulnerable." One of the
soldiers of our escort, Private Moore, has made a sketch of him as he
appeared to-day lying across a log, of which I am to have a copy.


I growled at Hauser and scolded him a little in camp to-night because of
some exasperating action of his. I here record the fact without going
into details. I think that I must try to be more patient. But I am
feeling somewhat the fatigue of our journey. However, there is something
to be said on the other hand, and that is that there is no one of the
party better able to bear its labors and anxieties than I, and therefore
I should be the last man to lose my patience.

I know of nothing that can try one's patience more than a trip of any
considerable length by wagon train or pack train through an uninhabited
region, and the most amiable of our race cannot pass this ordeal
entirely unscathed. Persons who are not blessed with uncommon equanimity
never get through such a journey without frequent explosions of temper,
and seldom without violence. Even education, gentle training and the
sharpest of mental discipline do not always so effectually subdue the
passions that they may not be aroused into unwonted fury during a long
journey through a country filled with obstructions. Philosophy has never
found a fitter subject for its exercise than that afforded by the
journey we are now making, which obliges the members of our party to
strive to relieve each other's burdens.

Friday, September 9.--Last night there occurred an incident which I
would gladly blot from these pages, but a faithful record of all the
events of camp life in connection with this expedition demands that I
omit nothing of interest, nor set down "aught in malice."

Mr. Hedges and I were on guard during the last relief of the night,
which extends from the "Wee sma' hours ayont the twal" to daybreak. The
night was wearing on when Hedges, being tempted of one of the Devils
which doubtless roam around this sulphurous region, or that perhaps
followed Lieutenant Doane and myself down from that "high mountain
apart" where the spirits roam, asked me if I was hungry. I replied that
such had been my normal condition ever since our larder had perceptibly
declined. Mr. Hedges then suggested that, as there was no food already
cooked in the camp, we take each a wing of one of the partridges and
broil it over our small fire. It was a "beautiful thought," as Judge
Bradford of Colorado used to say from the bench when some knotty legal
problem relating to a case he was trying had been solved, and was
speedily acted upon by both of us. But I was disappointed in finding so
little meat on a partridge wing, and believed that Hedges would have
chosen a leg instead of a wing, if he had pondered a moment, so I
remedied the omission, and, as a result, each roasted a leg of the bird.
Soon increase of appetite grew by what it fed on, and the breast of the
bird was soon on the broiler.

In the meantime our consciences were not idle, and we were "pricked in
our hearts." The result was that we had a vision of the disappointment
of our comrades, as each should receive at our morning breakfast his
small allotment of but one partridge distributed among so many, and it
did not take us long to send the remaining bird to join its mate. Taking
into consideration the welfare of our comrades, it seemed the best thing
for us to do, and we debated between ourselves whether the birds would
be missed in the morning, Hedges taking the affirmative and I the
negative side of the question.

This morning when our breakfast was well nigh finished, Mr. Hauser asked
"Newt," the head cook, why he had not prepared the partridges for
breakfast. "Newt" answered that when he opened the pan this morning the
birds had "done gone," and he thought that "Booby" (the dog) had eaten
them. Whereupon Hauser pelted the dog with stones and sticks. Hedges and
I, nearly bursting with our suppressed laughter, quietly exchanged
glances across the table, and the situation became quite intense for us,
as we strove to restrain our risibles while listening to the comments of
the party on the utter worthlessness of "that dog Booby." Suddenly the
camp was electrified by Gillette asking, "Who was on guard last night?"
"That's it," said one. "That's where the birds went," said another. This
denouement was too much for Hedges and myself, and amid uproarious
laughter we made confession, and "Booby" was relieved from his disgrace
and called back into the camp, and patted on the head as a "good dog,"
and he has now more friends in camp than ever before.

Mr. Hauser, who brought down the birds with two well directed shots with
his revolver, made from the back of his horse without halting the
animal, had expected to have a dainty breakfast, but he is himself too
fond of a practical joke to express any disappointment, and no one in
the party is more unconcerned at the outcome than he. He is a
philosopher, and, as I know from eight years' association with him, does
not worry over the evils which he can remedy, nor those which he cannot
remedy. There can be found no better man than he for such a trip as we
are making.

"Booby" is taking more kindly, day by day, to the buckskin moccasins
which "Newt" made and tied on his feet a few days ago. When he was first
shod with them he rebelled and tore them off with his teeth, but I think
he has discovered that they lessen his sufferings, which shows that he
has some good dog sense left, and that probably his name "Booby" is a
misnomer. I think there is a great deal of good in the animal. He is
ever on the alert for unusual noises or sounds, and the assurance which
I have that he will give the alarm in case any thieving Indians shall
approach our camp in the night is a great relief to my anxiety lest some
straggling band of the Crows may "set us afoot." Jake Smith was on guard
three nights ago, and he was so indifferent to the question of safety
from attack that he enjoyed a comfortable nap while doing guard duty,
and I have asked our artist, Private Moore, to make for me a sketch of
Smith as I found him sound asleep with his saddle for a pillow. Jake
might well adopt as a motto suitable for his guidance while doing guard
duty, "Requieseat in pace." Doubtless Jake thought, "Shall I not take
mine ease in mine inn?" I say _thought_ for I doubt if Jake can give a
correct verbal rendering of the sentence. A few evenings ago he jocosely
thought to establish, by a quotation from Shakespeare, the unreliability
of a member of our party who was telling what seemed a "fish story," and
he clinched his argument by adding that he would apply to the case the
words of the immortal Shakespeare, "Othello's _reputation's_ gone."


We broke camp this morning with the pack train at 10 o'clock, traveling
in a westerly course for about two miles, when we gradually veered
around to a nearly easterly direction, through fallen timber almost
impassable in the estimation of pilgrims, and indeed pretty severe on
our pack horses, for there was no trail, and, while our saddle horses
with their riders could manage to force their way through between the
trees, the packs on the pack animals would frequently strike the trees,
holding the animals fast or compelling them to seek some other passage.
Frequently, we were obliged to re-arrange the packs and narrow them, so
as to admit of their passage between the standing trees. At one point
the pack animals became separated, and with the riding animals of a
portion of the party were confronted with a prostrate trunk of a huge
tree, about four feet in diameter, around which it was impossible to
pass because of the obstructions of fallen timber. Yet pass it we must;
and the animals, one after another, were brought up to the log, their
breasts touching it, when Williamson and I, the two strongest men of the
party, on either side of an animal, stooped down, and, placing each a
shoulder back of a fore leg of a horse, rose to an erect position, while
others of the party placed his fore feet over the log, which he was thus
enabled to scale. In this way we lifted fifteen or twenty of our animals
over the log.

Soon after leaving our camp this morning our "Little Invulnerable,"
while climbing a steep rocky ascent, missed his footing and turned three
back summersaults down into the bottom of the ravine. We assisted him to
his feet without removing his pack, and he seemed none the worse for his
adventure, and quickly regained the ridge from which he had fallen and
joined the rest of the herd.

At 3 o'clock in the afternoon we halted for the day, having traveled
about six miles, but our camp to-night is not more than three miles from
our morning camp.

Mr. Hedges' pack horse, "Little Invulnerable," was missing when we
camped; and, as I was one of the four men detailed for the day to take
charge of the pack train, I returned two miles on our trail with the two
packers, Reynolds and Bean, in search of him. We found him wedged
between two trees, evidently enjoying a rest, which he sorely needed
after his remarkable acrobatic feat of the morning. We are camped in a
basin not far from the lake, which surrounds us on three sides--east,
north and west. Mr. Everts has not yet come into camp, and we fear that
he is lost.

About noon we crossed a small stream that flows towards the southwest
arm of the lake, but which, I think, is one of the headwater streams of
Snake river. I think that we have crossed the main divide of the Rocky
Mountains twice to-day. We have certainly crossed it once, and if we
have not crossed it twice we are now camped on the western slope of the
main divide. If the creek we crossed about noon to-day continues to flow
in the direction it was running at the point where we crossed it, it
must discharge into the southwest arm of the lake, and it seems probable
that Mr. Everts has followed down this stream.

I have just had a little talk with Lieutenant Doane. He thinks that our
camp to-night is on the Snake river side of the main divide, and there
are many things that incline me to believe that he is correct in his

Last night we had a discussion, growing out of the fact that Hedges and
Stickney, for a brief time, were lost, for the purpose of deciding what
course we would adopt in case any other member of the party were lost,
and we agreed that in such case we would all move on as rapidly as
possible to the southwest arm of the lake, where there are hot springs
(the vapor of which we noticed from our camp of September 5th), and
there remain until all the party were united. Everts thought a better
way for a lost man would be to strike out nearly due west, hoping to
reach the headwaters of the Madison river, and follow that stream as his
guide to the settlements; but he finally abandoned this idea and adopted
that which has been approved by the rest of the party. So if Mr. Everts
does not come into camp to-night, we will to-morrow start for the
appointed rendezvous.

Saturday, September 10.--We broke camp about 10 o'clock this morning,
taking a course of about ten degrees north of west, traveling seven
miles, and coming to camp on the lake shore at about five miles in a
direct line from our morning camp at half past two p.m. No sign of Mr.
Everts has been seen to-day, and on our arrival in camp, Gillette and
Trumbull took the return track upon the shore of the lake, hoping to
find him, or discover some sign of him. A large fire was built on a high
ridge commanding all points on the beach, and we fired signal guns from
time to time throughout the night.

Mr. Hauser and I ascended a high point overlooking our camp, and about
eight hundred feet above it, where from the top of a tall tree I had a
fairly good view of the shore outline of the west and south shores of
the lake, with all the inlets, points and islands. We were also enabled
to mark out our course of travel which it would be necessary to follow
in order to reach the most southwesterly arm of the lake and take
advantage of openings in the timber to facilitate travel. On this high
point we built a large fire which could be seen for many miles in all
directions by any one not under the bank of the lake, and which we hoped
Mr. Everts might see, and so be directed to our camp.

In going to the summit we traveled several hundred feet on a rocky ridge
not wide enough for safe travel by a man on horseback. At an elevation
of about eight hundred feet above Yellowstone lake we found two small
lakes nestled in a deep recess in the mountain and surrounded by the
overturned rocks.

Our route to-day has been entirely through fallen timber, and it has
been a hard day of travel on our horses, necessitating jumping over logs
and dead branches of trees, and thus we have made very slow progress.

The map of Yellowstone lake which we will be enabled to complete from
the observations made to-day will show that its shape is very different
from that shown on Captain Raynolds' map. The lake has but three

We are more than ever anxious about Mr. Everts. We had hoped, this
morning, to make our camp to-night on the southwest arm of the lake, but
the fallen timber has delayed us in our travel and prevented our doing
so. The southwest arm of the lake has been our objective point for the
past three days, and we feel assured that Mr. Everts, finding himself
lost, will press on for that point, and, as he will not be hindered by
the care of a pack train, he can travel twice as far in one day as we
can, and we are therefore the more anxious to reach our destination. We
have carefully considered all the points in the case, and have
unanimously decided that it will be utter folly to remain in camp
here, and equally so to have remained in this morning's camp, hoping
that he would overtake us. On the evening that Mr. Hedges was lost, Mr.
Everts told him that he ought to have struck out for the lake, as he
(Everts) would do if lost. So we will move on to the southwest arm of
the lake and remain three or four days. If Mr. Everts overtakes us at
all he will do so by that time.

[Illustration: Truman C. Everts]

Sunday, September 11.--Gillette and Trumbull returned to camp this
morning, having traversed the shore of the lake to a point east of our
camp of September 9th, without discovering any sign of Mr. Everts. We
have arrived at the conclusion that he has either struck out for the
lake on the west, or followed down the stream which we crossed the day
he was lost, or that he is possibly following us. The latter, however,
is not very probable.

Mr. Hauser, Lieutenant Doane and I saddled up immediately after
breakfast, and, with a supply of provisions for Mr. Everts, pressed
forward in advance of the rest of the party, marking a trail for the
pack animals through the openings in the dense woods, and avoiding, as
far as possible, the fallen timber. We rode through with all possible
dispatch, watching carefully for the tracks of a horse, but found no
sign of Mr. Everts. We followed both the beach and the trail on the bank
for several miles in either direction, but we saw neither sign nor
track. The small stream which we crossed on the 9th does not flow into
this arm of the lake as we thought it might, and it is evidently a
tributary of the Snake river.

The pack train arrived early in the afternoon with the rest of the
party, and all were astonished and saddened that no trace of Mr. Everts
had been found. We shall to-night mature a plan for a systematic search
for him. It is probable that we will make this camp the base of
operations, and remain here several days. Everts has with him a supply
of matches, ammunition and fishing tackle, and if he will but travel in
a direct line and not veer around to the right or left in a circle, he
will yet be all right.

Directly west of our camp on the further side of this arm of the lake,
and about four miles distant, are several hot springs which we shall
visit before leaving the lake.

We were roused this morning about 2 o'clock by the shrill howl of a
mountain lion, and again while we were at breakfast we heard another
yell. As we stood around our campfire to-night, our ears were saluted
with a shriek so terribly human, that for a moment we believed it to be
a call from Mr. Everts, and we hallooed in response, and several of our
party started in the direction whence the sounds came, and would have
instituted a search for our comrade but for an admonitory growl of a
mountain lion.

We have traveled to-day about seven miles. On leaving our camps
yesterday and to-day, we posted conspicuously at each a placard, stating
clearly the direction we had taken and where provisions could be found.

The country through which we have passed for the past five days is like
that facetiously described by Bridger as being so desolate and
impassable and barren of resources, that even the crows flying over it
were obliged to carry along with them supplies of provisions.

Monday, September 12.--In accordance with our pre-arranged programme,
three parties were sent out this morning in search of Mr. Everts. Smith
and Trumbull were to follow the take shore until they came in sight of
our last camp. Hauser and Gillette were to return on our trail through
the woods, taking with them their blankets and two days' rations.
General Washburn and myself were to take a southerly direction towards
what we called "Brown Mountain," some twelve miles away. Smith and
Trumbull returned early in the afternoon and reported having seen in
the sand the tracks of a man's foot, and Smith thought that he saw
several Indians, who disappeared in the woods as they approached; but
Trumbull, who was with him, did not see them, and Smith says it was
because he was short-sighted. For some reason they did not pursue their
investigations farther, and soon returned in good order to camp.

The reconnaissance made by General Washburn and myself resulted in no
discovery of any trace of Everts. We traveled about eleven miles
directly south, nearly to the base of Brown mountain, carefully
examining the ground the whole of the way, to see if any horseshoe
tracks could be discovered. We crossed no stream between the lake and
the mountain, and if Mr. Everts followed the stream which we crossed on
the 9th, he is south of Brown mountain, for it is evident that he did
not pass westward between Brown mountain and Yellowstone lake; otherwise
we would have discovered the tracks of his horse.

It is now night, and Hauser and Gillette have not yet returned.

Two miles on this side (the north side) of Brown mountain, Washburn and
I passed over a low divide, which, I think, must be the main range of
the Rocky Mountains, just beyond which is another brimstone basin
containing forty or fifty boiling sulphur and mud springs, and any
number of small steam jets. A small creek runs through the basin, and
the slopes of the mountains on either side to the height of several
hundred feet showed unmistakable signs of volcanic action beneath the
crust over which we were traveling. A considerable portion of the slope
of the mountain was covered with a hollow incrustation of sulphur and
lime, or silica, from which issued in many places hot steam, and we
found many small craters from six to twelve inches in diameter, from
which issued the sound of the boiling sulphur or mud, and in many
instances we could see the mud or sulphur water. There are many other
springs of water slightly impregnated with sulphur, in which the water
was too hot for us to bear the hand more than two or three seconds, and
which overflowed the green spaces between the incrustations, completely
saturating the ground, and over which in many places the grass had
grown, forming a turf compact and solid enough to bear the weight of a
man ordinarily; but when it once gave way the underlying deposit was so
thin that it afforded no support. While crossing, heedless of General
Washburn's warning, one of these green places, my horse broke through
and sank to his body as if in a bed of quicksand. I was off his back in
an instant and succeeded in extricating the struggling animal, the turf
being strong enough to bear his body alone, without the addition of the
weight of a man. The fore legs of my horse, however, had gone through
the turf into the hot, thin mud beneath. General Washburn, who was a few
yards behind me on an incrusted mound of lime and sulphur (which bore us
in all cases), and who had just before called to me to keep off the
grassy place, as there was danger beneath it, inquired of me if the
deposit beneath the turf was hot. Without making examination I answered
that I thought it might be warm. Shortly afterwards the turf again gave
way, and my horse plunged more violently than before, throwing me over
his head, and, as I fell, my right arm was thrust violently through the
treacherous surface into the scalding morass, and it was with difficulty
that I rescued my poor horse, and I found it necessary to instantly
remove my glove to avoid blistering my hand. The frenzied floundering of
my horse had in the first instance suggested to General Washburn the
idea that the under stratum was hot enough to scald him. General
Washburn was right in his conjecture. It is a fortunate circumstance
that I to-day rode my light-weight pack horse; for, if I had ridden my
heavy saddle horse, I think that the additional weight of his body would
have broken the turf which held up the lighter animal, and that he would
have disappeared in the hot boiling mud, taking me with him.

At the base of Brown mountain is a lake, the size of which we could not
very accurately ascertain, but which was probably about two miles long
by three-quarters of a mile wide. On the south end appeared to be an
outlet, and it seems to be near the head of the Snake river. Owing to
the difficulty of reaching the beach, growing out of the mishaps arising
from the giving way of the turf, as I have described, our nearest
approach to the lake was about one-half of a mile.

During the absence of Washburn and myself Mr. Hedges has spent the day
in fishing, catching forty of the fine trout with which the lake
abounds. Mr. Stickney has to-day made an inventory of our larder, and we
find that our luxuries, such as coffee, sugar and flour, are nearly used
up, and that we have barely enough of necessary provisions--salt,
pepper, etc., to last us ten days longer with economy in their use. We
will remain at the lake probably three or four days longer with the hope
of finding some trace of Everts, when it will be necessary to turn our
faces homewards to avoid general disaster, and in the meantime we will
dry a few hundred pounds of trout, and carry them with us as a
precautionary measure against starvation. At all of our camps for the
past three days, and along the line of travel between them, we have
blazed the trees as a guide for Mr. Everts, and have left a small supply
of provisions at each place, securely cached, with notices directing Mr.
Everts to the places of concealment. The soldiers' rations issued for
thirty days' service will barely hold out for their own use, and we have
little chance of borrowing from them. We left Helena with thirty days'
rations, expecting to be absent but twenty-five days. We have already
been journeying twenty-seven days, and are still a long way from home.

A few nights ago I became ravenously hungry while on guard, and ate a
small loaf of bread, one of five loaves that I found in a pan by the
campfire. I was not aware at the time that these loaves were a part of
the soldiers' breakfast rations, nor did I know that in the army service
each soldier has his own particular ration of bread. So the next
morning, with one ration of bread missing, one soldier would have been
short in his allowance if the others had not shared their loaves with
him. I supposed at the time of my discovery of the five loaves that they
belonged to the larder of the Washburn branch of the party--not to the
escort--and I apologized to the soldiers when I learned the truth, and
we are now as good friends as ever; but, from an occasional remark which
they drop in my presence, I perceive that they think they have the laugh
on me. Unfortunately for them, we will part company before we reach the
settlements, and I will have no opportunity to _liquidate_ my
obligations. Hard work and plain living have already reduced my
superfluous flesh, and "my clothes like a lady's loose gown hang about
me," as the old song runs.

Day before yesterday Mr. Gillette and I discussed the question of the
probability of a man being able to sustain life in this region, by
depending for his subsistence upon whatever roots or berries are to be
found here. We have once before to-day referred to the fact that we have
seen none of the roots which are to be found in other parts of the Rocky
Mountain region, and especially in the elevated valleys. We have not
noticed on this trip a single growing plant or specimen of the camas,
the cowse, or yamph. If Mr. Everts has followed the stream on which we
were camped the day he was lost down into the Snake river valley, he
will find an abundance of the camas root, which is most nutritions, and
which will sustain his life if he has sufficient knowledge of the root
to distinguish the edible from the poisonous plant.

I have been told by James Stuart that in the valley of the Snake river
the "camas" and the "cowse" roots are to be found in great abundance,
and are much prized as food by the Indians. "Cowse" is a Nez Perce word,
the Snake Indians give the name "thoig" to the same root. It grows in
great abundance in the country of the Nez Perce Indians, who eat great
quantities of it, and these Indians are called by the Snake Indians the
"Thoig A-rik-ka," or "Cowse-eaters." The camas is both flour and
potatoes for several wandering nations, and it is found in the most
barren and desolate regions in greatest quantity. The camas is a small
round root, not unlike an onion in appearance. It is sweet to the taste,
full of gluten, and very satisfying to a hungry man. The Indians have a
mode of preparing it which makes it very relishable. In a hole a foot in
depth, and six feet in diameter, from which the turf has been carefully
removed, they build a fire for the purpose of heating the exposed earth
surface, while in another fire they heat at the same time a sufficient
number of flat rocks to serve as a cover. After the heating process is
completed, the roots are spread over the bottom of the hole, covered
with the turf with the grass side down, the heated rocks spread above,
and a fire built upon them, and the process of cooking produces about
the same change in the camas that is produced in coffee by roasting. It
also preserves it in a suitable form for ready use.

The yamph has a longer and smaller bulb than the camas, though not quite
as nutritious, and may be eaten raw. Either of these roots contains
nutriment sufficient to support life, and often in the experience of the
tribes of the mountains winters have been passed with no other food.
There is a poisonous camas, which is sometimes mistaken for the genuine
root, but which cannot be eaten in large quantities without fatal
results. It always grows where the true camas is found, and much care is
necessary to avoid mixing the two while gathering the roots in any
considerable quantity. So great is the esteem in which the camas is held
that many of the important localities of the country in which it is
found are named for it.[S]



Lieutenant Doane was much amazed at the appearance of my horse's legs,
upon our return from Brown mountain, and has asked General Washburn and
myself what can be the nature of the ground where such a mishap could
occur. My theory of the matter is this: We frequently found springs of
hot water--though not boiling--some fifteen or twenty feet in diameter
at the top, the sides of which were funnel-shaped, and converged to a
narrow opening of say three feet diameter at a depth of twelve or
fifteen feet, and which below the point of convergence opened out like
an hour glass. In some of these springs at the point of convergence we
found tree branches that had fallen into the spring and had become
impregnated with the silica or lime of the water; water-soaked we call
it. I saw a number of such springs in which several branches of trees
were lying across the small opening at the point of convergence. When
once these are firmly lodged, they form a support for smaller branches
and twigs, and thus the tufts of grass which the spring floods or
melting snows bring down from the sides of the mountain will, after a
few years, made a sufficiently strong foundation for the earth, which
will also wash down the slopes into the spring. Once a firm footing is
established, it is only a question of time when the spring will be
filled to the brim with earth. Then gradually the seed blown over the
surface of the spring from the weeds and grass near by will take root,
and, in the course of a few years, a strong turf will be formed, through
which the water may percolate in many places, though giving to the
unsuspecting traveler no sign of its treacherous character. I think that
it was through such a turf as this that the fore legs of my horse and my
right hand were plunged.[T]


My pack horse which I rode to-day, a buckskin colored broncho, which is
docile under the pack saddle, "bucked" as I mounted him this morning;
but I kept my seat in the saddle without difficulty. Walter Trumbull,
however, on my return to-night, presented me with a sketch which he says
is a faithful portrayal of both horse and rider in the acrobatic act. I
think the sketch is an exaggeration, and that I hugged the saddle in
better form than it indicates.

[Illustration: MY BUCKING BRONCHO.]

Tuesday, September 13.--It was Jake Smith's turn to stand guard last
night, but he refused to do so, and Washburn took his place.

We have remained in camp all day. At about 9 o'clock this morning it
began to rain and hail, and we have had a little snow, which continued
to fall at intervals all day. At about 6 o'clock this evening Hauser and
Gillette arrived in camp, having returned on the trail to within three
miles of the place where we camped on the night of September 7th. They
examined the trail and the beach with the utmost care, but without
discovering any trace of Mr. Everts. They say that the trail over which
our train passed, or, rather, the path which our train made, was hardly
plain enough to be followed, and in many places where the pine leaves
had fallen thick upon the ground, it was totally invisible, so that no
one could have followed it with certainty except by dismounting and
closely observing the ground at every step. They made the journey very
well, from the fact that they had traveled the route once before, and
their horses instinctively followed the back path for a great part of
the distance without any special guidance. On their near approach to
camp, when the trail was no longer discernible, their dog "Booby" took
the lead when they were at fault, and brought them into camp all right.
They think they might have been forced to lie out all night but for the
sagacity of "Booby." They made on each of the two days nearly as great a
distance as our train traveled in four days. Their report has fully set
at rest the question of Mr. Everts having followed us. It settles as a
fact that he did not again strike our trail, and that had he done so he
could not have followed it, owing to his short-sightedness. Hauser and
Gillette are probably the two best trailers and woodsmen in our party,
and their report of the condition of the trail and the difficulty
experienced in following it has satisfied us that Mr. Everts has either
struck off in a southerly direction, following perhaps the headwaters of
the Snake river, or that he has made an effort to reach the head of the
lake with a view of returning by our trail to Boteler's ranch. It is
snowing hard to-night, and the prospect for a day or two more in this
camp is very good. The murky atmosphere to-night brings to view a number
of springs on the opposite shore of this arm of the lake and farther
back in the hills which we have not heretofore seen, and the steam is
rising from fifty craters in the timbered ridge, giving it the
appearance of a New England factory village.

After holding a council this evening we have resolved to remain at this
place two days more, hoping that Mr. Everts may overtake us, this arm of
the lake being the _objective point_ of our travel, fixed on the day
before that on which Mr. Everts was lost.

Wednesday, September 14.--We have remained in camp all day, as it is
next to impossible to move. The snow is nearly two feet deep, and is
very wet and heavy, and our horses are pawing in it for forage. Our
large army tent is doing us good service, and, as there is an abundance
of dry wood close by our camp, we are extremely comfortable. I am the
only one of the party who has a pair of water-proof boots, and I was up
and out of the tent this morning before daylight cutting into cordwood a
pine log, and before noon I had more than a half cord at the tent door.
Washburn and Hauser offered to do some of this work if I would loan them
my water-proof boots; but, as they are of a full size for me, and would
probably drop off of their feet, I told them that I would get the wood.

Lieutenant Doane to-day requested me to loan him this diary from which
to write up his records, as the condition of his thumb has interfered
with his use of a pen or pencil. I have accordingly loaned it to him,
and Private Moore has been busy the greater part of the day copying
portions of it.

For myself, I am very glad to have a day of rest, for I have felt much
wearied for several days. I think that I am certainly within bounds when
I say that I have put in sixteen hours a day of pretty hard work,
attending to camp duties, and writing each day till late at night, and I
realize that this journal of travel is becoming ponderous. Yet there is
daily crowded upon my vision so much of novelty and wonder, which should
be brought to the notice of the world, and which, so far as my
individual effort is concerned, will be lost to it if I do not record
the incidents of each day's travel, that I am determined to make my
journal as full as possible, and to purposely omit no details. It is a
lifetime opportunity for publishing to all who may be interested a
complete record of the discoveries of an expedition which in coming time
will rank among the first and most important of American explorations.

It is cold to-night, and the water in a pail standing at our tent door
was frozen at 7 o'clock in the evening.

The water fowl are more abundant at this point than they have been
elsewhere on the lake on our journey around it, and we could see to-day
hundreds of swans, geese and ducks, and many pelicans and gulls.

Thursday, September 15.--This forenoon the weather moderated, and
one-half the snow has melted, so that it is but about ten inches deep
to-night. Still, our horses are becoming restless for want of sufficient
food. The patches of grass which may be found under the snow are very
limited in extent, and as the animals are confined to the length of
their lariats, foraging is much more difficult than if they were running
loose. We have seen no signs of Indians following us since we made our
first camp upon the lake, and but little evidence that they have ever
been here, except some few logs piled so as to conceal from view a
hunter who may be attempting to bring down some of the game swimming on
the lake. We feel convinced that Jake Smith drew upon both his
imagination and his fears three days ago, when he reported that he had
seen Indians on the beach of the lake.

[Illustration: LIEUT. GUSTAVUS C. DOANE.]

Each night that we have been camped here we have heard the shrill cries
of the mountain lions, and under a momentary illusion I have each time
been half convinced that it was a human being in distress. Because of
the mountain lions we are keeping close watch upon our horses. They are
very fond of horse flesh, and oftentimes will follow a horseman a
long distance, more to make a meal upon the flesh of the horse than for
the purpose of attacking the rider.

[Illustration: JACK BARONETTE.]

During the three days we have spent in this camp, I have been enabled to
complete my diary for September 8th, 9th and 10th, which were red letter
days--days of great anxiety.

I had a good nap this afternoon while my diary was being used for
Lieutenant Doane, and I feel greatly refreshed. My first thought on
awakening was for poor Everts. I wonder where he can be throughout all
this fierce storm and deep snow! Perhaps the snow did not reach him, for
I noticed to-night that the ground was quite bare on the opposite side
of this arm of the lake, while the snow is eight or ten inches deep here
at our camp. Hauser is not feeling very well to-night.

Friday, September 16.--We this morning resolved to move over to the
vicinity of the hot springs on the opposite side of this arm of the
lake, from which point we will leave the Yellowstone for the Madison
river or some one of its branches. We followed up the beach for half a
mile, and then journeyed along the bank of the lake through the woods
for a mile to avoid the quicksands on the lake shore; then, taking the
beach again, we followed it to the springs where we are now camped.[U]

These springs surpass in extent, variety and beauty any which we have
heretofore seen. They extend for the distance of nearly a mile along the
shore of the lake, and back from the beach about one hundred yards. They
number between ninety and one hundred springs, of all imaginable
varieties. Farthest from the beach are the springs of boiling mud, in
some of which the mud is very thin, in others of such a consistency that
it is heaped up as it boils over, gradually spreading under its own
weight until it covers quite a large surface. The mud or clay is of
different colors. That in some of the springs is nearly as white as
white marble; in others it is of a lavender color; in others it is of a
rich pink, of different shades. I have taken specimens of each, which I
will have analyzed on my return home.[V] In close proximity to these are
springs discharging water nearly clear and apparently odorless, the
bottoms and sides of which, as well as of the channels of the streams
running from them, are covered with soft deposits of some substance they
contain in solution. These deposits and the hard incrustations around
the edges of the springs are of various colors, in some cases being dark
red, in others scarlet, in others yellow, and in still others green.

Along the shore of the lake are several boiling springs situated in the
top of incrusted craters, but which do not boil over, the sediment which
has been deposited around them forming a wall or embankment, holding
back the water.

But the most remarkable of all the springs at this point are six or
seven of a character differing from any of the rest. The water in them
is of a dark blue or ultra-marine hue, but it is wonderfully clear and
transparent. Two of these springs are quite large; the remaining five
are smaller, their diameters ranging from eight to fifteen feet. The
water in one of these latter is thrown up to the height of two feet.
The largest two of these springs are irregular in their general outline
of nearly an oval shape, the larger of the two being about twenty-five
feet wide by forty long, and the smaller about twenty by thirty feet.
The discharge from each of them is about one gallon per minute. The
sides of the springs are funnel-shaped, and converge until at the depth
of thirty feet, the opening is about eight feet in diameter. From the
surface or rim down to the lowest point of convergence where the opening
enlarges, the sides of the funnel (which are corrugated and very uneven
and irregular) are covered with a white deposit or incrustation which
contrasts vividly with the dark opening at its base, which is distinctly
visible at the depth of forty feet. These two springs are distant from
each other about twenty yards, and there is a difference of about four
feet in the elevation or level of the water. One peculiar feature of all
these springs is that they seem to have no connection with each other
beneath the surface. We find springs situated five or six feet apart, of
the same general appearance but of different temperatures, and with the
water upon different levels. The overflow from these springs for a great
number of years has formed an incrusted bank overlooking the border of
the lake, rising to the height of six feet; and, as the streams running
from the springs are bordered with incrustations of various hues,
depending upon the nature of the deposit or substance in solution, so
the incrusted bank, which has been in process of formation for ages,
exhibits all of these varied colors. In a number of places along the
bank of the lake, this incrusted deposit is broken down and has crumbled
into small pieces, upon which the waves have dashed until they have been
moulded into many curious shapes, and having all the colors of the
deposits in the springs--white, red and white blended, yellow and green.
Cavernous hollows which fill the shore incrustation respond in weird
and melancholy echoes to the dash of the billows.

The bottoms of the streams flowing from the deeper springs have for some
distance a pure white incrustation; farther down the slope the deposit
is white in the center with sides of red, and still farther down the
white deposit is hidden entirely by the red combined with yellow. From
nearly all these springs we obtained specimens of the adjoining
incrustations, all of which were too hot to be held for more than a
moment even with the gloved hand.

Between the springs all along the border of the lake were small craters
from which issued hot steam or vapor, besides which there were many cold
craters. Along the edge of the lake, out in the water from ten to thirty
feet from the shore are to be found springs with the water bubbling up a
few inches above the surface. None of the springs in this locality
appeared to be very strongly impregnated with sulphur. Some of the
incrustations on the beach are as white and delicate as alabaster. These
are the springs which we observed on September 5th from our camp on the
eastern shore of the lake.

Our explorations of the Yellowstone will cease at this point, and
to-morrow we start in our search for Firehole Basin. Our journey around
Yellowstone lake in close proximity to the beach is doubtless the first
ever attempted; and, although it has been attended with difficulty and
distress, these have been to me as nothing compared with the enjoyment
the journey has afforded, and it is with the greatest regret that I turn
my face from it homewards. How can I sum up its wonderful attractions!
It is dotted with islands of great beauty, as yet unvisited by man, but
which at no remote period will be adorned with villas and the ornaments
of civilized life. The winds from the mountain gorges roll its placid
waters into a furious sea, and crest its billows with foam. Forests of
pine, deep, dark and almost impenetrable, are scattered at random along
its banks, and its beautiful margin presents every variety of sand and
pebbly beach, glittering with crystals, carnelians and chalcedony. The
Indians approach it under the fear of a superstition originating in the
volcanic forces surrounding it, which amounts almost to entire
exclusion. It possesses adaptabilities for the highest display of
artificial culture, amid the greatest wonders of Nature that the world
affords, and is beautified by the grandeur of the most extensive
mountain scenery, and not many years can elapse before the march of
civil improvement will reclaim this delightful solitude, and garnish it
with all the attractions of cultivated taste and refinement.

Strange and interesting as are the various objects which we have met
with in this vast field of natural wonders, no camp or place of rest on
our journey has afforded our party greater satisfaction than the one we
are now occupying, which is our first camp since emerging from the dense
forest. Filled with gloom at the loss of our comrade, tired, tattered,
browned by exposure and reduced in flesh by our labors, we resemble more
a party of organized mendicants than of men in pursuit of Nature's
greatest novelties. But from this point we hope that our journey will be
comparatively free from difficulties of travel.

Mr. Hauser's experience as a civil engineer has been an invaluable aid
in judging of the "lay of the land," and so in giving direction to our
party in its zig-zag journeying around the lake. In speaking of this,
Hauser says that he thinks that I have a more correct idea of mountain
heights, distances and directions, and can follow a direct course
through dense timber more unerringly than any man he knows, except James
Stuart--a compliment which I accept most graciously. Some of our party
declare that they would have had no expectation of finding their way
back to camp, if they had ventured into the forest in search of Mr.

I recited to Washburn and Hauser to-night an extract from "The Task," by
the poet Cowper, which, in my younger days, I memorized for declamation,
and which, I think, is at once expressive of our experience in the
journey around the lake and of our present relief.

"As one who long in thickets and in brakes
Entangled, winds now this way and now that,
His devious course uncertain, seeking home,
Or having long in miry ways been foiled
And sore discomfited, from slough to slough
Plunging, and half despairing of escape,
If chance at length he finds a green-sward
Smooth and faithful to the foot, his spirits rise.
He chirrups brisk his ear-erecting steed,
And winds his way with pleasure and with ease."

It is a source of great regret to us all that we must leave this place
and abandon the search for Mr. Everts; but our provisions are rapidly
diminishing, and force of circumstances obliges us to move forward. We
still indulge the hope that he may have found and followed down some
branch of the Madison river and reached Virginia City, or down Snake
river and reached some settlement in that valley; and but for our
anxiety to reach home and prove or disprove our expectations, we might
have devoted much more time to visiting the objects of interest we have
seen, and which we have been obliged to pass by.

Mr. Hauser has eaten nothing to-day, and this evening he told me that he
felt sick. Such an acknowledgment from him means far more than it would
coming from many another man, for I know from intimate association with
him for eight years that there is no man in our party who will more
uncomplainingly reconcile himself to the hardships and privations of
such a journey as this, and if he is too ill to travel to-morrow
morning, and if the rest of our party think that they ought to take up
the journey homeward, I will remain with him here for a day, and as the
others will have to search out a path through the fallen timber, we can
make their two days' journey in one by following their beaten trail
without obstacles, and overtake them by the time they reach the Firehole
river, if they find it at all.

Saturday, September 17, morning.--We were awakened before daylight this
morning by loud roaring sounds proceeding from the hot springs close by
our camp, some of which were in violent action, though entirely
quiescent yesterday. Some of them in which the surface of the water,
last night, was several feet below the rim, are now overflowing.

My saddle horse broke his lariat, frightened by the roaring of the
springs, and plunged along too near one of them, when the surrounding
incrustation gave way and he sank down to his body, but frantically
extricated himself without standing upon the order of his
extrication;--but he has cut his foot so badly that I do not think it
will be prudent to ride him to-day. In his stead I will ride my smaller
pack horse, who has nearly recovered from the effects of the scalding he
received on my trip to Brown mountain. The hair has come off his legs in
several places as the result of that mishap, yet his wonderful vitality
always leaves him in a cheerful frame of mind and ready for any duty.

This has been a gloomy morning in our camp, for we all have been
depressed at the thought of leaving the lake and abandoning the search
for Mr. Everts. We have discussed the situation from every point of
view, and have tried to put ourselves in his place and have considered
all the possibilities of fate that may befall him. At one moment he may
be buoyed up with hope, however faint--at another weighed down by
despair and fear, with all their mental terrors. Has he met death by
accident, or may he be injured and unable to move, and be suffering the
horrors of starvation and fever? Has he wandered aimlessly hither and
thither until bereft of reason? As I contemplate all these
possibilities, it is a relief to think that he may have lost his life at
the hand of some vagabond Indian.

As the result of this conference we have decided upon a final plan of
action. We will give to Gillette from our remnant of provisions, ten
days' rations, and Lieutenant Doane will detail Privates Moore and
Williamson, with ten days' rations, and the three will continue the
search from this point. Mr. Gillette says that with the ten days'
rations they can devote five days to a continuous search, and the
remaining five days will be sufficient, with forced traveling, for them
to overtake us.

Hauser has endeavored to throw a little cheer into the conference by
saying to Gillette:

"I think that I should be willing to take the risk of spending
ten days more in this wilderness, if I thought that by so
doing I could find a father-in-law." This provoked an uproarious
shout of laughter, for we well understood that
Hauser alluded to the many social courtesies which Gillette,
in Helena, had extended to Miss Bessie Everts, the charming
daughter of our lost comrade, and one of the most attractive
of Montana belles. This sally of Mr. Hauser gives to me
the assurance of his own convalescence; and, if it so happens
that Gillette finds Mr. Everts, we will have the realization
of another image in "Childe Harold," "A rapture on the
lonely shore."[W]

Saturday, September 17, evening.--Gillette, Moore and Williamson left
us this morning about 9 o'clock on their final quest for Mr. Everts, and
the rest of our party soon resumed our journey. We have traveled about
twelve miles to-day, about one-half of the distance being through open
timber, and the other half over prostrate pines unmarked by any trail,
and through which we found it difficult to make our way, although the
obstructions were not so formidable as those on the south shore of
Yellowstone lake.[X] About noon we crossed a high ridge which we had
reached by a steep ascent, and on descending the opposite side we saw
upon our left a large lake which Lieutenant Doane and some others of our
party think is at the head of Firehole river, and they suggested that we
make our way to this lake and take as a guide to the Firehole the stream
which they believe will be found flowing from it. They argued that by
so doing we would be relieved from all uncertainty concerning the course
to be pursued in order to reach the Firehole river; but they were easily
persuaded that if the Firehole does take its rise in that lake, we can
as certainly strike that river by pursuing our present westwardly
direction as if we followed the plan suggested by them. Hauser and I
feel sure that this large lake is the head of Snake river.

In the afternoon we passed another ridge and descended into a small open
valley where we found a spring of good water, and where we are now
camped, near a very small creek, which runs in a direction a little
north of west, and which I believe flows to the Firehole or the Madison
river. Our direction of travel to-day has been governed somewhat by our
compasses, but we have neglected to make allowance for the variation of
the magnetic needle, which I think is about twenty degrees east of the
true meridian. Therefore in trying to follow a westerly course, we have
in reality taken a course about twenty degrees north of west.

As we passed the large lake on our left to-day, I observed that there
was no ridge of land between us and the lake; therefore I believe that
it is in the Snake river valley, and that we have to-day twice crossed
the main range of the Rocky Mountains. The fact that the Snake river
valley is so readily accessible from Yellowstone lake, gives me hope
to-night that Mr. Everts may have made his way out of the forest to some
settlement in the Snake river valley.

There is still four or five inches of snow on the ground, but there is
plenty of long grass under it, and our horses are faring tolerably well,
and will soon fill themselves with either grass or snow. There is no
clear space large enough for us to pitch our tent. We have had our
supper--an indifferent and scanty meal--and each man is now seeking with
varied success a dry spot beneath the sheltering branches of the pines
whereon to spread his blankets.

Some of our party seem terribly fatigued, and others mentally depressed.
The question of our present locality is still unsolved in their minds,
and has been intensified by the discussions in camp to-night as to
whether or not the large lake we saw discharges its waters into the
Snake river, and they ask: "If it does so, have we re-crossed the main
range to the eastern slope?" For myself I do not know of any day since
we left home when I have been in better spirits. I am sure we are on the
right course and feel no anxiety.

The sky to-night is clear and cloudless, but the snow is melting fast,
and there is a peculiar odor in the air that gives assurance of rain
before morning. Hedges (my bed fellow) and I have selected our sleeping
place, and I have placed over it a ridge-pole, supported by branches of
a tree, and have erected a "wickiup" of green pine boughs overlapping
like a thatched roof, which will turn off the rain if it comes, and I
have advised the others of our party to make similar preparations for a
rain. Hedges says that he feels worried and very much discouraged.

Sunday, September 18, 8 o'clock a.m.--There occurred a half hour ago the
first serious mishap affecting the welfare of the entire party; and
while the packers, Bean and Reynolds, are repairing the damage resulting
therefrom, I will go back a few hours and chronicle in the order of
their occurrence the events of the early morning.

Mr. Hedges and I, sleeping securely under the sheltering roof of our
pine-thatched wickiup, were aroused from our sweet dreams of home about
4 o'clock this morning by several members of our party, who sought
shelter from the rain which came down abundantly, or, as a Westmoreland
deacon used to say, "in cupious perfusion." The rain storm broke about 3
o'clock in the morning, and all of the party except Hedges and myself
were well drenched, as their only protection from the rain was their
blankets. An effort had been made by some of the party to kindle a fire
under the shelter of a large standing tree, but with indifferent
success. Hedges and I crawled out of our dry blankets, and sat upright,
so as to make as much room as possible for the others, and we welcomed
all our comrades to our dry shelter. General Washburn, who is suffering
somewhat from a cold, was especially grateful for the protection from
the storm, which continued until about 7 o'clock. The roof of our
wickiup had completely protected Hedges and myself from the rain except
at one spot directly over Hedges' exposed ear, where a displacement of
the pine leaves allowed a small stream to trickle through the roof,
filling his ear with water, much to his discomfort.

Some members of our party, at our early breakfast this morning, sitting
upon logs at various distances from our camp fire in their half-dried
clothing, and eating their scanty meal in silence, presented a sorry
appearance. Some are disappointed that we did not, last night, reach the
Firehole river, or some large branch of the Madison, which may guide us
homeward, and are wondering if we are moving in the right direction. I
feel so perfectly confident that we are traveling the right course that
I am in the best of spirits. It may be that my cheerfulness is owing, in
some degree, to my having dry clothing and a dry skin, which few of my
comrades have, but I see no reason for discouragement. I think that Mr.
Hauser is the best and most accurate judge of distances, of heights of
mountains, and direction of travel, of any man I know, and he does not
doubt that we are moving in the right direction. It is a satisfaction to
have my opinion confirmed by his judgment.

[Illustration: Nathaniel P. Langford]

We had just finished our breakfast a half hour ago when something--some
wild animal, or, perhaps, a snake--moving in the brush near where our
horses were picketed, frightened three of them, and in their violent
plunging they pulled up the iron picket pins attached to their lariats,
and dashed at a gallop directly through our camp, over the campfire, and
upsetting and scattering hither and thither our cooking utensils. The
iron picket pins flying through the air at the lariat ends narrowly
missed several of our party, but became entangled with the only two
sound pack saddles remaining of the entire number with which we started,
and dashed them against the adjacent trees, tearing off the side pieces
of the saddletrees, and rendering them useless. Our first thought was
that the damage done was beyond repair. We had, however, a few thin
boards, the remnants of our canned goods boxes, and from my seamless
sack of personal baggage I produced two gimlets, a screwdriver, a pair
of nippers, some wrought nails and two dozens of screws of various
sizes. When all these things were laid out, my comrades expressed great
surprise, for not one of them or the packers had any idea that there
were any tools or screws in our "outfit." On the other hand, it is a
matter of surprise to me that I am the only member of our party who has
a rubber coat, or a pair of oil-tanned water-proof boots, or who has
brought with him any medicines, tools, screws, etc.; and, except myself,
there is but one member of our party (whom I will not "give away" by
here recording his name) who had the foresight to bring with him a flask
of whiskey. I think we will be known among those who will hereafter
visit this marvelous region as "The Temperance Party," though some of
our number who lacked the foresight to provide, before leaving Helena, a
needed remedy for snake bites, have not lacked the hindsight required in
using it.

Bean and Reynolds have just announced that the pack saddles have been
repaired, and that preparations are being made for the start, so on
this hint I suspend my record until night.

Sunday, September 18, evening.--We left our morning camp about 9
o'clock, pursuing our uncertain course through fallen timber for a
distance of about three miles, when we had all our fears of misdirection
relieved by coming suddenly upon the banks of the Firehole river, the
largest fork of the Madison, down which we followed five miles, passing
several groups of boiling springs and a beautiful cascade[Y] (to which
we gave no name), when we emerged from the dense forest into a
sequestered basin two miles above the union of the Firehole river with a
stream which comes in from the southwest, the basin extending to the
width of a mile, and traversing the river until contracted between
proximate ranges two miles below our camp.

I have spent the entire afternoon and part of this evening in examining
the geysers and springs, but will not further record the explorations of
to-day until we are ready to leave the basin.

Monday, September 19.--When we left Yellowstone lake two days ago, the
desire for home had superceeded all thought of further explorations.
Five days of rapid travel would, we believed, bring us to the upper
valley of the Madison, and within twenty-five miles of Virginia City,
and we indulged the remote hope that we might there find some trace of
Mr. Everts. We had within a distance of fifty miles seen what we
believed to be the greatest wonders on the continent. We were convinced
that there was not on the globe another region where within the same
limits Nature had crowded so much of grandeur and majesty with so much
of novelty and wonder. Judge, then, of our astonishment on entering this
basin, to see at no great distance before us an immense body of
sparkling water, projected suddenly and with terrific force into the air
to the height of over one hundred feet. We had found a real geyser. In
the valley before us were a thousand hot springs of various sizes and
character, and five hundred craters jetting forth vapor. In one place
the eye followed through crevices in the crust a stream of hot water of
considerable size, running at nearly right angles with the river, and in
a direction, not towards, but away from the stream. We traced the course
of this stream by the crevices in the surface for twenty or thirty
yards. It is probable that it eventually flows into the Firehole, but
there is nothing on the surface to indicate to the beholder the course
of its underground passage to the river.

On the summit of a cone twenty-five feet high was a boiling spring seven
feet in diameter, surrounded with beautiful incrustations, on the slope
of which we gathered twigs encased in a crust a quarter of an inch in
thickness. On an incrusted hill opposite our camp are four craters from
three to five feet in diameter, sending forth steam jets and water to
the height of four or five feet. But the marvelous features of this
wonderful basin are its spouting geysers, of which during our brief stay
of twenty-two hours we have seen twelve in action. Six of these threw
water to the height of from fifteen to twenty feet, but in the presence
of others of immense dimensions they soon ceased to attract attention.

Of the latter six, the one we saw in action on entering the basin
ejected from a crevice of irregular form, and about four feet long by
three wide, a column of water of corresponding magnitude to the height
of one hundred feet. Around this crevice or mouth the sediment is piled
in many capricious shapes, chiefly indented globules from six inches to
two feet in diameter. Little hollows in the crust filled with water
contained small white spheres of tufa, of the size of a nutmeg, formed
as it seemed to me around some nuclei.[Z]

We gave such names to those of the geysers which we saw in action as we
think will best illustrate their peculiarities. The one I have just
described General Washburn has named "Old Faithful," because of the
regularity of its eruptions, the intervals between which being from
sixty to sixty-five minutes, the column of water being thrown at each
eruption to the height of from eighty to one hundred feet.

The "Fan" has a distorted pipe from which are projected two radiating
sheets of water to the height of sixty feet, resembling a feather fan.
Forty feet from this geyser is a vent connected with it, two feet in
diameter, which, during the eruption, expels with loud reports dense
volumes of vapor to the height of fifty feet.


The "Grotto," so named from the singularly winding apertures penetrating
the sinter surrounding it, was at rest when we first discovered it.
Externally it presented few indications of its character as a geyser.
Private Williamson, one of our escort, crawled through an aperture and
looked into the discharging orifice. When afterwards, he saw it belching
forth a column of boiling water two feet in diameter to the height of
sixty feet, and a scalding stream of two hundred square inches flowing
from the cavern he had entered a short time before, he said that he felt
like one who had narrowly escaped being summarily cooked.

The "Castle" is on the summit of an incrusted elevation. This name was
given because of its resemblance to the ruins of some old tower with its
broken down turrets. The silicious sinter composing the formation
surrounding it takes the form of small globules, resembling a ripe
cauliflower, and the massive nodules indicate that at some former period
the flow of water must have been much larger than at present. The jet is
sixty feet high by four feet in diameter, and the vent near it, which is
in angry ebullition during the eruption, constantly flows with boiling

One of the most wonderful of the springs in this basin is that of
ultra-marine hue directly in front of the "Castle" geyser. It is nearly
round, having diameters of about twenty and twenty-five feet, the sides
being corrugated and funnel-shaped, and at the depth of thirty feet
opening out into a cavern of unfathomable depth, the rim of the spring
having beautifully escalloped edges. It does not boil over, but a very
small stream of water flows from it, and it is not affected in its
appearance by the spouting of the geyser in its immediate proximity.
There is evidently no connection between this spring and the geyser.

The "Giant" is a rugged deposit presenting in form a miniature model of
the Colosseum. It has an opening three feet in diameter. A remarkable
characteristic of this geyser is the duration of its discharges, which
yesterday afternoon continued for more than an hour in a steady stream
about three feet in diameter and one hundred and forty feet high.

Opposite our camp, on the east side of the Firehole river, is a
symmetrical cone resembling an old-fashioned straw beehive with the top
cut off. It is about five feet in diameter at its base, with an
irregular oval-shaped orifice having escalloped edges, and of
twenty-four by thirty-six inches interior diameter. No one supposed that
it was a geyser, and until this morning, among so many wonders, it had
escaped a second notice. Suddenly, while we were at breakfast this
morning, a column of water shot from it, which by quite accurate
triangular measurement proved to be two hundred and nineteen feet in
height. Our method of triangulation was as follows: A point on the
surface of the ground was marked, which was in a direct line with a
branch of a tree near by, and of the top of the column of water when at
its greatest height. Having obtained the perpendicular height of the
branch of the tree from the ground, and the distance from this
perpendicular to the point of observation and to the geyser cone, we
were enabled to make a very accurate calculation of the height of the
column of water. We named this geyser the "Bee Hive."

Near by is situated the "Giantess," the largest of all the geysers we
saw in eruption. Ascending a gentle slope for a distance of sixty yards
we came to a sink or well of an irregular oval shape, fifteen by twenty
feet across, into which we could see to the depth of fifty feet or more,
but could discover no water, though we could distinctly hear it gurgling
and boiling at a fearful rate afar down this vertical cavern. Suddenly
it commenced spluttering and rising with incredible rapidity, causing a
general stampede among our company, who all moved around to the windward
side of the geyser. When the water had risen within about twenty-five
feet of the surface, it became stationary, and we returned to look down
upon the foaming water, which occasionally emitted hot jets nearly to
the mouth of the orifice. As if tired of this sport the water began to
ascend at the rate of five feet in a second, and when near the top it
was expelled with terrific momentum in a column the full size of the
immense aperture to a height of sixty feet. The column remained at this
height for the space of about a minute, when from the apex of this vast
aqueous mass five lesser jets or round columns of water varying in size
from six to fifteen inches in diameter shot up into the atmosphere to
the amazing height of two hundred and fifty feet. This was without
exception the most magnificent phenomenon I ever beheld. We were
standing on the side of the geyser exposed to the sun, whose sparkling
rays filled the ponderous column with what appeared to be the clippings
of a thousand rainbows. These prismatic illusions disappeared, only to
be succeeded by myriads of others which continually fluttered and
sparkled through the spray during the twenty minutes the eruption
lasted. These lesser jets, thrown so much higher than the main column
and shooting through it, doubtless proceed from auxiliary pipes leading
into the principal orifice near the bottom, where the explosive force is
greater. The minute globules into which the spent column was diffused
when falling sparkled like a shower of diamonds, and around every shadow
produced by the column of steam hiding the sun was the halo so often
represented in paintings as encircling the head of the Savior We
unhesitatingly agreed that this was the greatest wonder of our trip.

Mr. Hedges and I forded the Firehole river a short distance below our
camp. The current, as it dashed over the boulders, was swift, and,
taking off our boots and stockings, we selected for our place of
crossing what seemed to be a smooth rock surface in the bottom of the
stream, extending from shore to shore. When I reached the middle of the
stream I paused a moment and turned around to speak to Mr. Hedges, who
was about entering the stream, when I discovered from the sensation of
warmth under my feet that I was standing upon an incrustation formed
over a hot spring that had its vent in the bed of the stream. I
exclaimed to Hedges: "Here is the river which Bridger said was _hot at
the bottom_."[AA]

How many more geysers than those we saw in eruption there are in this
remarkable basin, it is impossible to determine. We will be compelled
reluctantly to leave it before it can be half explored. At least a
thousand pipes rise to the plain, one or two hundred of which, to all
appearances, are as likely to be geysers as any we have seen.

This entire country is seemingly under a constant and active internal
pressure from volcanic forces, which seek relief through the numberless
springs, jets, volcanoes and geysers exhibited on its surface, and which
but for these vents might burst forth in one terrific eruption and form
a volcano of vast dimensions. It is undoubtedly true that many of the
objects we see are of recent formation, and that many of the
extinguished craters recently ceased their condition of activity. They
are constantly breaking forth, often assuming new forms, and attesting
to the active presence of volcanic force.

The water in some of the springs presents to the eye the colors of all
the precious gems known to commerce. In one spring the hue is like that
of an emerald, in another like that of the turquoise, another has the
ultra-marine hue of the sapphire, another has the color of the topaz;
and the suggestion has been made that the names of these jewels may very
properly be given to many of these springs.

The packers with the pack train and several of our party broke camp at
9:30 this morning, a few of us remaining for an hour, hoping to have
another view of an eruption of the "Giantess;" but in this we were
disappointed, for it gave no sign of an eruption, save that the water,
visible generally at a depth of about twenty feet, would rise suddenly
eight or ten feet in the well, and as suddenly fall again.

We moved down the river on the east bank, part of the way through an
open valley and part through fallen timber. At about eight miles we came
upon an enormous spring of dark blue water, the largest we have seen.
Mr. Hauser measured it, and says it is four hundred feet in diameter.
The mineral solution has been deposited by the overflow on all sides for
two hundred yards, the spring itself being thirty feet above the general
level of the valley. Out near the center of the lake the water boils up
a few feet, but without any especial violent action. The lake has no
well-defined outlet, but overflows on many sides, the water flowing down
the slopes of the incrusted mound about one-quarter of an inch deep. As
we stood on the margin of this immense lake a small flock of ducks came
sailing down as if to alight; but as they skimmed the water a few inches
above the surface, they seemed to scent danger, and with rapid flapping
of their wings, all except one rose into the air. This one, in his
descent, had gained too great an impetus to check his progress, and
came down into the water, and his frantic efforts to rise again were
futile, and with one or two loud squawks of distress, which were
responded to by his mates who had escaped, he was in a moment "a dead
duck." We gave no name to this lake.[AB]

About one hundred yards from the lake on the side towards the river, the
incrustation breaks off perpendicularly, and another large lake is
formed, the surface of which is about fifteen feet below the upper and
larger lake. There are a few other springs near the river farther down
the stream.

Jake Smith, for the first time on this trip, selected at this large lake
a curious specimen of tufa. It was a circumstance so unusual that Hedges
called our attention to it, but as Smith was riding along holding his
treasure carefully in his hand, his horse stumbled, and he accidentally
dropped his specimen, and with a remark which I will not here record,
and which is at variance with his own Bible instruction, he denounced as
worthless all the specimens of the party which he had seen, and
inveighed against the folly of spending any time in gathering them.

From this point we passed down the valley close by the bank of the
river. The valley on our right was very marshy, and we saw at a
considerable distance one very large fountain of water spouting into the
atmosphere to a considerable height, and many steam jets, but, owing to
the swampy character of the ground, we did not visit them.[AC]

When we left Helena on August 17th, we believed that twenty-five days
would be the limit of time which would be consumed before our return;
but to meet all exigencies we laid in a thirty days' supply of
provisions. We have now been absent thirty-four days, and as we cached
some of our supply on Yellowstone lake for Mr. Everts' relief, we are
now on short rations, but the fish we dried while camped on Yellowstone
lake are doing good service.

While riding to-day alongside of Stickney and bemoaning the lack in our
larder of many articles of food, such as sugar, coffee and tea, the
supply of which has become exhausted, I asked him if he was fond of
maple sugar, and would like a lump of it. He requested me not to
tantalize him by mentioning the subject, whereupon I astonished him by
producing a goodly sized cake which I had brought with me from Helena,
and which for five weeks I had preserved untouched in my seamless sack.
It was enjoyed by all who shared it, but Stickney was especially
grateful for his division of the sweet morsel, and received it

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