… Continuing on from the previous post …

“On the morning of the 21st, I was up as usual, that is, early, getting ready to leave. I was strongly urged to stay and get breakfast before starting. Having been well cared for I could but stop; a good breakfast was at my disposal. While getting my breakfast I inquired for the lady of the house, when soon she came. I bade her good morning and said, ‘I am about to leave you and thought I would like to bid you goodbye.’ ‘Why need you start so early?’ she said. ‘It is my custom; if I make an early start I can make a long or short day as I choose. I am informed that I shall have many sloughs to get through, some of them are deep and will be troublesome to get through.’ ‘Yes, I am afraid you will, and bad to get over. The rain we had a day or two ago made the marshes bad. I suppose it will be of no use to offer you any more than I have already done for your cow?’ ‘Madam, you have already offered me more than she is worth. I have been told many times that I could not get her East. At all times I have thought to the contrary, and it is my desire to give it a fair trial. The cow has not been milked this morning, but I intend to, give me a pail and I will milk her.’ I milked and gave the the lady the milking, saying, ‘My dear friend, this is all I can do. I have but one dollar; that is all the money I possess. I have as much grain as will last me to Corinne. Then I can get a sack and have as much as will pay for the same.’ ‘Stranger, your cow has paid your bill and more. Here is a lunch for the day,’ she answered. ‘Thank you, good morning.’ ‘Good morning, I hope you will get along all right.’

“It was just six o’clock as we left Kelton and on passing the blacksmith’s shop he called out to me, ‘Here, friend traveler, is something you will need after crossing the sloughs. It’s worth all I ask. You can not travel until you get rid of the mud; you will know more after you have crossed one.’ ‘What do you ask for it?’ ‘Oh, I sell cheap. It will be nothing to you, that is cheap enough.’ After thanking him I moved on, soon coming to one of these sloughs.

“These sloughs are flat or level pieces of land, of from forty to one hundred rods in length, composed of sand, mixed with salt and alkali. When rain falls on this soil, it becomes soft like mortar, for plastering. It is not deep, from one to three inches, but its adhesion to the boots, wheels, or feet of animals is very strong.

“I drove on to this slough, mud we will call it. As I walked through, my feet seemed to double in size; so did the horse’s and cow’s, and the rims of my wheels became very thick and clumsy. It does not fall off as ordinary mud will; it hangs like a load-stone until you scrape it off with some instrument. The blacksmith had given me the right kind of an instrument, it was nothing more or less than a shovel; the blade was two inches wide, three inches deep, and about one-eighth of an inch thick and about one foot long.

“After crossing one of these sloughs, I would have a half mile or more of good road before coming to another. After passing through one, I would clean off the mud from my boots, the horse’s and cow’s shoes, and from from the rims of my wheels, but with the latter I was not so particular. I found it best to remove the mud at once before it became dry, as it hardened as quick as cement.

“In traveling about seven miles I crossed five of these sloughs. At noon I stopped, giving my cattle water and grain and took a bite myself.”