1st. We left the stream and drove more to the left into the desert, and continually in deep sand. It was a very difficult journey. Came upon more salty springs, and the country was often flooded with this water. The Americans call it Salredigwather. When the water soaks into the soil, it leaves a white foam, which may be used as yeast after it has been cleaned. Underneath this foam is often the finest salt. The water does not taste very salty, and the cattle drink from it when they are very thirsty. It is very harmful, however. If the cattle drink from it frequently, and take in large quantities, they become tired, their noses bleed, they swell up, and usually die on the spot. Around noon a wheel on the provision wagon broke, and it was not mended until evening. We again came upon the stream, and stayed close to it, but we were driving in the sand. **HOTH PROBABLY REFERS TO ALKALI, ASHES OF THE PLANT SALTWORT, OR SALERATUS WATER. P.G.**
2nd. During the night an English lady who was with us, gave birth to a son, and 4 of our oxen died. A strong westerly wind blew all night long, and was still blowing this morning. While searching for grass our oxen had wandered off 3-4 miles, and for this reason it was late before we could get away. We had not been traveling very far, when a storm broke loose in the desert, one can imagine how terrible it is. We had the wind against us. It blew the sand like rain clouds high up into the air, and at us. This was not the worst, however. Frequently there came a whirlwind that did not only blow sand up in the air, but also small stones as large as peas, hurling them into our faces. If anyone had the misfortune to be hit by a whirlwind, he would be thrown to the ground, if he had not already thrown himself down in time. Many tops were torn from the wagons, and were often torn entirely asunder. We endured this for about an hour or so, then neither cattle nor people could stand it any longer. We drove to the river and stayed there. The stream is still Sweet River. The storm kept up all day.
3rd. During the night we were awakened by bears, and had the good fortune to shoot 2 of which we took along the hides and some meat. It was beautiful weather, and we set out at an early hour. We forded the river 3 times, and were not always in desert regions, but were also ascending and descending mountains, and still climbing higher and higher. On these mountains grew tall cedars. On one mountain a stone had been placed, erected there by an astronomer, who had figured out that this mountain is 17,000 feet above sea level.
It was not a rocky peak however, but an ordinary mountain across which lay the course of the trail. From here I saw rocky mountains that were considerably higher. The other wagon train was constantly some miles ahead of us. Today I counted 69 dead oxen along the trail. The road was continually difficult to travel over. Grass was nowhere to be seen, but we had to go through many salt swamps. In the evening we came upon a spring, where there was a sufficient amount of good water, and remained there.
4th. It blew all during the night, and today we had a strong wind also. It came from the northwest, however. It struck us sidewise and we kept on driving. At different places we saw sulphurous vapors rise out of the ground, and came across swampy spots, where the earth had caved in.
As on yesterday the region was a sandy desert, inhabited by wild animals, and overgrown with some kind of dry heather. This, together with oxen excrements, had made up our fuel for several days. Once more we came close to the stream, and made camp.
5th. 2 of our oxen died during the night. The trail led through the river; but not out of the desert, which was of the same type as that here. Men and cattle had to suffer a great deal. The dust was often so thick that we could not see 10 steps ahead, and we were as black as Negroes from the sweat and dust. Today it was oppressively hot. We came across large pieces of land, mostly covered with Salradi water and foam. Late in the evening we came to a narrow river, and found there a good place for our cattle.
6th. It rained this morning. Although we were still in the desert, the rain today had made the trail hard and good. I counted 40 dead oxen along the road. Our own oxen also suffered a great deal, as they had not had enough to eat during the last few days. Besides, many of them were also lame. Close to the trail 5 emigrants were buried. The place was surrounded with bushes. They were probably an entire family, for they all bore the name Weis from Studgard. They had been buried on September 9, 1854, by Ludwig Kramer from Stufgard. We came upon a spring, that had its source in a swamp, and remained there.
7th. The water from this spring was quite blue; but it was good, otherwise. It froze during the night, and there was ice 3 inches thick on the water. The region was like that of yesterday; only desert, the trail was not very good, and it was so sandy that frequently the oxen could not move forward. Besides, it was remarkably hot. For a short while today we drove along a mountain on which stood tall cedars. There also grows a tree here that is very much like mahogany. That is what the Americans call it, anyway. Towards evening we came to a river that was 100 feet below the surrounding land. it flowed between rocks on both banks. This was strange, as the entire region was a desert. We drove 2 miles along the river and then camped.
8th. The stream is called Big Sendkrik, Big Sand River. Our cattle got no water during the night, as they could not get down below. 5 of our oxen died this morning. Around noon we came upon a slope, where the trail led through the river, and there the cattle could drink. The bottom of the stream also consisted of rock. The region and the trail were like yesterdays; only a desert of sand. We drove away from the river, came upon it again in the evening and found a good place for the cattle. Today I counted 11 graves with the remains of emigrants, and 47 dead oxen.
9th. A young Englishman and driver of our wagon, who had been sick for some days, died this morning. He was buried immediately, and a board with the name and birthplace was placed on his grave. The trail continued along the river, and it was very bad. 3 of our oxen died this morning, and we let 4 that were tired out, remain behind. We forded the river once more, came upon places where sulphurous vapors rose out of the ground, and saw spots where there was much Salredi. A wagon, came too close to a swamp and toppled over. 3 women who sat on it sank deep onto the swamp, and we had much trouble in getting them out. Two were almost smothered to death, as they were head first in the swamp. Our quack-salver had a great deal of trouble reviving them. Otherwise they had suffered little harm, but were so covered with mud or potash that they could not walk. It was planned that our journey was to have continued 4 miles farther, but this accident prevented that, and we had to stay here at a place where there was neither water, grass nor wood.
10th. The wagon was again put in shape during the night, and the journey continued at an early hour. We soon came to a broad river, called Grinriffer, Green River, and forded it at once. It was very difficult to get across, for the current was rapid and the bottom full of large boulders. 2 of our oxen died during the crossing. We drove 4 miles along the river and halted. Here we met 7 wagons and 60 oxen, that had been sent out from Salt Valley to meet us, in order to lighten the burdens of our own oxen. On this river and quite close to us, lived 800 Indian families that made up a tribe. Immediately after our arrival, a crowd of them gathered around us. They were all naked except a few, who had covered themselves with blankets or rags. They had rings in their noses and ears, had bands embroidered with pearls round their necks and arms, and their faces were painted with various colors. They asked for bread, sugar and whiskey (Brandy). Otherwise they were quiet and friendly. Here was once more a good region, and here was an abundance of grass which our starved cattle ate much with relish. This place is called Fort Britze. It was formerly a small fort, like the preceding ones, but it had been destroyed by the Indians. Now only a trader and 2 farmers are living there. Here ends the Territory of New Braser, and here begins the Territory of Uta.
11th. It had hardly become day, when a crowd of naked Indians made their appearance in our camp. The mothers carried small children on their backs. They always carry their children in that way. They tie them to a board, and carry it, fastened with leather straps, upright on the back. This strapping and carrying of the small children, is said to have contributed to the fact that cripples are very seldom found among Indians.
It is more over a beautiful sign to see oneself surrounded by hundreds of dark and naked people. The leader of our wagon train traveled ahead of us today, and another man by the name of Jachmann, who had brought the wagons and oxen here, took his place. Our lame oxen remained here. The new ones were yoked and the 7 wagons loaded, and in the afternoon we set out. Now there were only 10 oxen pulling each wagon, and 20 were kept in reserve in the rear. To begin with the trail led through the mountains, but soon it came out on level land again, and as there was no water to be found, we had to continue traveling after it became dark. At 9 o'clock we came to a river called Blekriffer, the Black River, and made camp.
12th. The journey continued on level land. We often came upon deep ravines, where much work and exertion was required to get through. I saw two large eagles on a rock. Counted 53 dead oxen along the trail. Saw two graves from which the corpses had been eaten by wolves. Bones, that were still quite fresh, and torn clothing lay in the graves. The corpses were probably from the other train. Later on I saw 9 graves, side by side. The dead were all Danes. Again we had to travel in the dark before we found water, and once more we came upon the Black River. Later in the evening I quarreled with my wife and the tailor. I gave him a good, solid and through, old fashioned thrashing, and hope that he will have to march into the Salt Valley with black eyes and a black backside.
13th. We forded the river first thing in the morning, and had to cross it altogether 3 times during the day. Again I saw 9 emigrant graves. In 4 of these rested Germans and in 5 Frenchmen. I counted 73 dead oxen, and there were also many broken wagons lying about. Up until now the weather has been continuously fine, but the nights have often been very cold. The country was again desert like. In the evening we came into a small valley, through which meandered a narrow stream. Here everything was still green and beautiful. Near by was a small forest in which we camped.
14th. During the entire day we had the river alongside of us, and forded it twice. Had to travel through deep ravines, and in one of these an axle tree broke. The wagon remained standing, while the rest drove on. We soon arrived in a beautiful valley and camped. The other wagon was brought back, and a new axle tree made during the night. There was a house with a store and a saloon in this valley. Near by lived many Indians. I had not for a long time seen such a beautiful region as this one. Good water, grass, a beautiful forest, which was still green, all this we had before us at this place. Many caravans had camped and rested there during the summer. This could be seen from all the dead oxen or their skeletons of which more than 100 were lying about.
15th. During the night a woman and a child in our party died, and we buried them both this morning. We drove for 2 hours in the valley, and then came into the mountains. We often had to cross high mountains and travel through deep ravines, and many times 24 oxen were hitched up to each wagon. Also here in the mountains we came upon places that were white with Salredi, and we also came to spots with deep swamps, which most of the wagons could not come through without help. Many chains broke today. Quite late at night, when it had been dark for some time, we halted in a ravine between high mountains. I never saw so many wolves as there were in this region. Perhaps there are so many because there is an abundance of food for them. It is not even necessary to travel fifteen minutes, before one sees a dead ox. In going away from one dead ox, the next one is to be seen shortly afterwards, and quite often 5-6 carcasses lie close together. Today I also saw 3 large snakes. They were yellow with blue stripes. Two of them were shot dead; one of them was 7 and the other 9 feet long.
16th. This morning 7 of our oxen died. As I was looking our camping place over, I found it exceedingly beautiful. The trail went through high mountains, covered with the most beautiful cedar trees. Here was good grass, but bad water. All day long the country was very romantic. We were often on an elevation or a mountain, and soon once more deep down in the earth. The atmosphere was very pleasant. Along the streams, of which we saw several today, all the shrubs and grass were still green. We traveled down a mountain side for an hour and halted in the valley.
17th. In this valley ran a narrow but deep river which we had to cross twice, and then we had to climb a small but steep mountain. 28 oxen were yoked to each wagon, and still they could hardly pull it. On the summit this mountain had only a small surface. The wagon was not yet up on high land, when 8 oxen in front were already climbing the mountain again. On the opposite side, moreover, the trail was rather steep, and it kept on being steep for a long while, and was full of stones and holes besides. Nevertheless we came up and down without breaking anything. And now we came into a small but beautiful valley, and drove up to the Barenfluss, Bear River, which we crossed without stopping first. This river is half a mile wide and not deep, but it has a rapid current. This crossing too took place without any accident, although some wagons had to have an additional oxen as aid in pulling. The river has gotten its present name because in the early times and even as late as 10 years ago, many bears stayed here, and made the region quite unsafe. At this place many travelers were pursued and also killed by bears. But now Indians have settled at 3 different places along the river. They are all Mormons, and these together with the Mormons from the Salt Valley now frequently go bear hunting together, so that their number is continually being reduced. The valley is closed in by a very high mountain and the river. In this valley are many graves with the remains of emigrants, supplied with name and birthplace. Among the dead were also Danes, Schleswigers and Holsteiners, some of whom I knew well. When we had crossed the river, we came into a broad level valley, between high rocks. This valley became narrower and narrower, and at last it was so narrow that a wagon could hardly pass through the high mountains. At this narrow place it was quite dark, and when we came through it, we arrived at a small stream, where we camped.
18th. The trail immediately went up a mountain side, and continued through the mountains until noon. Then we descended into a valley, where we stopped overnight. But before we came so far, we had had to pass through many swampy ravines, where a wagon rarely came through without first getting bogged down in the swamp. on both sides of the trail were still high mountains covered with beautiful and slender cedars. The valley should more properly be called a ravine than a valley, as it was not wider at many places than trail. and stream. It is called Echowalle, Echo Valley and Echokrik, Echo River. Here is a remarkably loud and clear echo. A shot, the crack of a whip, shouting, and the bellowing of the oxen, traveled from one side of the mountains to the other. The bellowing of the oxen was terrible to hear.
19th. We stayed in the valley, and had an exceedingly bad trail to travel all day long. We had to ford the river nine times, and it was often deep and swampy. On the trail itself were many swampy holes from the mountain springs, whose water ran across the trail and into the river. The valley had many curves, and on account of the high mountains we could rarely see more than 200 steps before or behind. I counted 51 dead oxen on the trail, and we too lost a couple. We camped in the valley. Late in the evening we were visited by three bears of which one was shot and killed. In the last 4 days we have not been traveling more than 5-6 miles a day, at the most.
20th. We had only remained a short while in the valley, and then had to travel on an inconceivably bad trail. Then we came through another ravine, and out upon a plain where some Indians lived. Now we came upon a river called Wiper, which we forded. This river is half a mile wide, and not deep, but has a rapid current. The journey now continued across mountains and through ravines, usually with 16-20 oxen yoked to each wagon. As yesterday, our journey was today slow and dangerous. Came up to a small stream which we crossed many times, and not infrequently a wagon would be bogged down in the mud. Today we saw the highest mountains in this region. Our camping place was in a deep ravine or cave, and it was rather a good one. Except that there were many, and to some extent, vicious snakes in it, whose company we feared.
21st. The trail remained the same and was worse rather than better. We often drove across mountains and here too it was swampy. On a mountain over which we drove and which was hardly wider on top than for a wagon to pass, a wagon fell...
of the Salt Lake Valley, C.C.A. Christensen, no date.