Someone commented here recently that the old photos and trip reports I’ve been sharing were all well and good, but that she really wanted to catch up with Mr. Johnson on his cross-country trek. Fair enough. We left him, quite some time ago, having just met up with a wagon train bound for Utah.

“On the morning of the 30th [of May, 1883], all hands were up before the sun. A detail was made and sent in search of wood, but nothing but sage brush could be found, and enough of this was found to boil all the water that was necessary to make coffee for breakfast for the whole camp. I milked the cow and contributed it to the general stock, and the company were much pleased to taste milk once more. At six o’clock all had finished breakfast and got ready to break camp. It was decided to do so on account of the scarcity of fuel and grass, but we had plenty of good water, such as we shall not find for many miles.

“As we were about to part, the captain of the camp, John H. Standly, said, ‘Stranger from California, bound East to Massachusetts, we sincerely hope that you will succeed in your great undertaking. Traveling alone as you are, not knowing what you may have to encounter (perhaps, it is as well you do not), we know, and can’t help but think of you daily. We would like to know whether you succeed in getting through your journey safely.’ I answered, ‘Strangers from Kansas, I thank you kindly for your sympathy in my behalf, hoping that you all may reach your destination in safety. I know what you will have to encounter. Moving as an army, if you get into a tight place you can get out of it; you are not alone as I am. Strangers, I bid you all goodbye.’ As I left them, they gave three cheers for the man from California, bound East to Massachusetts.

“It was half-past eight o’clock when we broke camp, each going his separate way. It was a delightfully warm morning, but hard traveling for my horse, as she kept slipping. But as the day advanced, the traveling improved. About twelve at noon, I stopped and gave the cattle a feed of grain. No water for them as warm as it had been in the morning; it was rather hard on them. My stop was short as I wished to get to some water.”

… to be continued