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Journal of Western Travel

by John McTurk Gibson
edited by Weldon Hoppe
August 25th, 1859 -- I have often heard of being entirely overpowered by sleep, but never experienced the sensation until this occasion. I would take hold of the hind end of the wagon and walk along, while in that position I would frequently fall asleep and fall in the sand. This was the case with several of the company. I noticed Jesse Berkey in particular, he was driving loose stock, fell asleep on his feet, stumbled and fell, and when he awoke he was all of a hundred yards ahead of the cattle. This feeling however only lasted about an hour. The road is, in general, level and good although frequently interspersed with heavy sand. 7 miles from the Wells, the road was tolerably passable and five miles pretty heavy. Here we find another trading post, hay 5c per lb. I bought some hay, fed it, and a quantity of flour and water to each ox, gave them what water they wanted from our kegs and started on immediately in order to get across five more miles of the heaviest sand on the whole route. We made the Carson River by 9 o'clock A.M., just two hours later than we ought to have been. I would recommend to every one who crosses the desert with cattle at least to start earlier than we did, because we rested but little, travelled a good jog and found the sand a little too hot before we got through. WE strike the Carson River at Ragtown, but there is no feed at all here, two miles further and we camped where we can find a spear of grass once in a while. We had to do it as the cattle were nearly tuckered having travelled 45 miles without intermission, with little or no feed for two days before starting.

We are in camp two miles above Ragtown. This is the first time we have had the privilege of camping under shade trees since we left the States. There are trees strung all along this river.

Copyright © 1997 Weldon Hoppe
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