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Journal of Western Travel

by John McTurk Gibson
edited by Weldon Hoppe
August 22nd, 1859 -- What made us feel worse than ever this morning was the fact that we were camped over night only a mile from first rate feed. We however turned out when we came to it, intending to go some six miles further where some springs are said to be and then cut our hay, and lay in a supply of water for the desert; but alas! for human calculations; relying too implicitly on two of the company who had stopped there in 1852 we missed the springs altogether, and consequently got neither grass nor water. We at length arrived at Humboldt Lake where the river spreads out over a flat sandy and in some places marshy bottom, and forms quite a lake. There are some waterfowl but not very abundant. No water to drink only lake water, that nearest the shore is not get-down-able at all, but by wading in about 100 yards and dipping it up, it don't taste much worse than a decoction of goose dung mixed with suet water, there is no alternative only to swill it down, if it should gag us. So here we are without a single spear of grass, laying on the shore of the lake with nothing to do, but gaze at the starry heavens and wish ourselves anywhere else in all creation only here.

Travelled 20 miles. We reached the meadows this morning, fed and staid until afternoon. There good springs here but we did not find them. We thought the meadows were farther down so we started down stream after travelling 15 miles without water. We reached the lake 10 miles above the sink. This lake is about 8 miles by 3. These meadows are where they make hay for the desert. This is a barren country. We have not seen in the past 300 miles a stick of timber as large as a man's arm.

Copyright © 1997 Weldon Hoppe
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