… continuing from the previous post …
“On the morning of June 2nd, on the banks of the Platte River, I broke camp, journeying on and following the river to a bridge, recently built by the government, which I crossed. After traveling but a short distance I came to the store, before spoken about. This place is known as Hot Springs, and is about one hundred and thirty miles from Laramie. I traveled along the river until I came to some grass and stopped. It was difficult to get the cattle past, if I had desired; so I unharnessed the horse and gave the cattle a good chance to eat their fill, not knowing where the next would be found. We stayed just one hour and then went on, coming back to the old trail.
“This morning, when leaving camp, instead of fording the river, I chose to go over the bridge, as the river was very high. It is a good ford, but at this time of the year the water is deep and strong. Many in crossing have been borne down by its force, so the government erected this bridge. As you make the river from the east or west, the trail is good. Although from the east, you have to descend a bluff, but not from the west. About one mile from the river, I came to a junction of four roads. In my rear is the river; to my left is Fort Steele and the Union Pacific Railroad, about twenty miles; to my right is the bridge; to my left is the road to Laramie, a hundred and twenty miles away, more or less. It was four o’clock and [we were] moving in the right direction, hoping to make Laramie in five days. The road is good and all of us cheerful.
“About six o’clock, ahead of us I saw smoke; soon after we came up to three ugly-looking men who were putting up a tent; they had a wagon and three bulls. I passed the compliments of the day with them in a rough manner, asking some questions. I thought it best to go on as I did not like their movements, but I asked how far it was to water. ‘Three miles to the creek,’ was answered. ‘How large a creek?’ I asked. ‘A small one, but water enough for your cattle,’ was answered. ‘Where are you from?’ they asked. ‘I am from Hot Springs.’ ‘Where in h–l is Hot Springs?’ was asked. ‘About fifteen miles from here, near Platte River.’ It is about three miles to the creek, so I said, ‘Come, Fanny, we must reach the creek,’ which in due time we did. Giving my cattle a good drink I went on, not daring to make my camp there.
“I made up my mind to journey on as long as I could as my road was good. After a little while I saw a light ahead, which on our coming near, proved to be a camp. In approaching the camp, the horse gave a tremendous neigh, startling all the camp, horses as well as men. I went right into the camp and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, I am alone and will not harm you; I have come from the west as suppose you seldom meet persons from that direction. I wish to camp with you tonight, and would rather do so than stop with those I met two hours ago. I should have kept on if I had not struck with your camp, until I was far out of their reach.’ ‘Who were those that you dislike so much?’ I told him of the men with the bulls, whose looks and actions I did not like, and repeated the discussion I had with them, so I traveled out of their reach and here I am. I asked if they had any objections to my camping with them overnight, and was told they had no objections.
“I led my cattle into the camp and gave them grain, made my bed and laid down, saying that I was very weary and tired, having traveled a long distance that day. ‘Stranger, if you are not too tired, please tell us where you are from and where bound?’ ‘Strangers, I have come from California. Three hundred and three miles north of San Francisco, from there following the Central Pacific Railroad through the states of California, Nevada, and Utah to Ogden, to Green River, to this place.’ ‘Where are you going, stranger?’ ‘I am bound east, to Massachusetts,’ I answered. ‘Going to Massachusetts! How far have you come with that cow, stranger?’ ‘I have led her all that distance, about eighteen hundred miles. Where are you from?’ I asked. ‘We are from Kansas and are going to Oregon.’ ‘I have met many from Kansas, all going to Oregon. What is the cause of so many leaving Kansas?’ ‘We are from the western part of Kansas. The hot winds kill about everything there, and the people are leaving, going west.’ ‘How many teams have you?’ ‘We have four, also four men, four women, twelve children and two dogs, all for Oregon. Stranger, where has been your worst traveling on the whole route?’ ‘My worst traveling, and also the most dangerous, was in California. From Green River to where we are has been the most disagreeable. All alone, as I am, it makes on think of home too much. I am continually thinking of breaking down, or anything serious happening to me; these thoughts trouble me continuously. Since leaving Green River city, there have been days that I have seen no person nor passed a house. I have yet about one hundred miles to travel before I reach Laramie. How many houses do I pass in making that distance?’ I asked. ‘You pass one, yes, two; both are at a river where you cross on a bridge, one on each side to take the toll. These are all until you get to New Laramie, where there is a post office and a store. Now, friend, stranger, we will leave you until morning and hope you will have a good night’s rest. Good night.’ ‘Good night,’ I replied.”
[Can you imagine traveling for days on end without seeing another person along the way?!]
To be continued …