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Journal of Western Travel

by John McTurk Gibson
edited by Weldon Hoppe
Independence Rock
June 27th, 1859 -- Immediately after starting one of Ben's wagon- tires rolled off and so spoiled our forenoon's drive, coming up the Sweetwater we passed a trading post, where we saw a young grizzly bear cub, then comes Independence Rock, a large isolated oblong, irregular shaped mass of rock several hundred feet long, and its greatest altitude I would suppose was somewhere near a hundred feet, every available point, literally covered with names as various as the dates. Devil's Gate from downstream Six miles further we passed the Devil's Gate, where the Sweetwater foams, rushes, and thunders through between two perpendicular mountains at great inconvenience to itself, when it might just as easily have gone through where the road runs, but then it would have sounded bad for all the travel to go through the Devil's Gate, no saying where it might have led in that case. Devil's Gate from top On putting up our tents tonight, we had a slight taste of a regular hurricane, the dust coming down before the wind in clouds sufficient to obscure the face of nature, but it is now mild and pleasant again, and we have a fair prospect of having a substantial mess of hare-soup in the morning.

Travelled some 16 miles. One of our tires came off and we had it to set. We passed Independence Rock, it is about 120 feet high and 600 long and about 150 through, with an ovaling top. It received its name by a man eating his dinner on it the 4th of July some years since. I suposed it got its name by standing off from all others. It stands by the river bank. We also passed Devil's Gate. It is formed by the Sweet Water cutting a channell through the mountain about 300 feet in depth. The sides being solid rock. We ascended the rock and looked down on the river rushing through the gate. Amongst the rocks on the top were one man and three ladies. The wind blew very strong on the rock, this quite a sight. We have started through the Rattle Snake range of the Rocky Mountains. They are solid rock with a few pines scattered over them.

Copyright © 1997 Weldon Hoppe
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