Frederick E Shearer.

The Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... online

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Online LibraryFrederick E ShearerThe Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... → online text (page 17 of 61)
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large quantities were used. Bitter Creek is
rightly named. Its waters are so strongly
impregnated with alkali that they are almost
useless. Nevertheless, at the head of this
creek, where it is fed by cold, clear springs,
for more than ten miles from the station,
trout have been caught, though they are
small. The rugged scenery along this valley
will interest the traveler, as the views are
constantly changing. There are no machine-
shops for repairs here, only the five-stall
roundhouse. The creek has been dammed
for the purpose of supplying the water tank,
though the water is not the best for boil-
ers. The whole region of country, from a
point east, as far as Rock Creek to Green
River, is underlaid with coal. It frequently
crops out in this valley. The coal is lignite
and will not " coke " like the bituminous
coal. There are also indications of iron
and other minerals, in the immediate vicin-
ity of the valley. Occasionally, you will
see little shrub pines on the bluffs but no
timber. These pines have tried to grow,
but the sterility of the soil is against them.
They find it almost impossible to " take
root." Sometimes it seems, as you pass
down the valley and look ahead, as though
the train jvas going square against the
rocks, arid would be dashed in pieces ; but
a sudden curve, and you have rounded the
projecting bluffs, and are safely pursuing
your journey. Again, it seems as though
the bluffs were trying to shake hands across
the chasm, or making an effort to become
dovetailed together. They assume all sorts
of shapes, washed out in places by the
storms of ages smoothly carved as if by
the hand of the sculptor and again, ragged
and grotesque. The geology of the Bitter
Creek and Green River Valleys, will afford
a chapter of curious interest, and will amply
reward him who searches thoroughly after
the knowledge. Professor Hayden and Major
Powell have the best reports on the forma-
tion and geology of this region.

Black Btiftes is the next station, 795.4
miles from Omaha, and 6,600 feet above
ihe sea. It is a telegraph station with
accompanying side tracks. Fonnerly there
was a coal mine worked here, said to be-
long to Jack Morrow, now of Omaha, and
quite a noted frontier character in his
day. It furnishes excellent coal, easily ac-
cessible, the vein being from six to eight
feet thick. As you approach the station,
notice the balanced rock north of the
road and within 50 feet of the . side
track. The buttes from which the station

is named are south of the creek, and plainly

Hallvitte, named after a noted contractor
who graded the road through this part of
the valley. A few posts and adobe walls are
all that remain of the camp. It is simply
a side track, 800.9 miles from Omaha, with
an elevation of 6,590 feet.

Point of Koc1(8 is a station with a his-
tory. It was formerly quite a town, but its
glory has departed with the causes which
brought it into existence. It was formerly
the point of departure and the outfitting
place for the Sweetwater Gold District, South,
Pass City, Atlantic City, Camp Stambaugh,
and other places in the region of the Great
South Pass at the foot of Wind River
Mountains, and is the nearest railroad point
to those places, to-day, with a good wagon
road not much traveled. Distance to South
Pass City, 65 miles. The rocks from which
this place is named are on a high point
south of the track, and a little east of the
station. They seem in the distance like faint
outlines of huge perpendicular columns, not
very high, but really 365 feet perpendicular
above their base surroundings. Their summit
is about 1,100 feet above the track. At the
base of the rocks proper, and about 735 feet
above the track, seven sulphur springs break
out, three of which are large ones, the balance
being small.

North of the track, and three-fourths of a
mile west of the station, is an iron spring,
reputed to possess remarkable medicinal qual-
ities, several invalids, especially females, hav-
ing been highly benefited by drinking and
bathing in its waters. Four miles north of
the station is a huge sulphur spring, with
water pouring forth from the ground. The
artesian well, which supplies the watei-
tank here, is 700 feet deep. Water is pumped
out by steam power. Wells & Fargo 's Over-
land Express Company had a station here,
and their old adobe buildings, rapidly going
into decay, may still be seen across the
creek, at the base of the bluffs. In the
" piping " times of the town several build-
ings were commenced, but the collapse was
so sudden that they were never completed.
This station is 806.7 miles from Omaha, and
6,490 feet above the sea. It is now a place
of large coal interests, over one hundred
car loads per day being shipped. There
is also an artesian well one thousand and fif-
teen feet deep.

TJiayer, simply a side track, 812 miles
from Omaha, with an elevation of 6,425
feet. The moving trains will give the tourist
an ever-varying view of the grand and beau-
tiful scenery of this valley.

Salt Wells, 818.2 miles from the eastern


terminus of the road, and 6,360 feet above
the sea. It is a telegraph station, and in
the construction period of the road, was a
place where considerable timber, wood, etc.,
was delivered. The water from the well here
has a saltish, alkaline taste, hence the name.
Three and one-half miles north, there is a salt
or alkali basin, which has no visible outlet in
which the brackish waters stand the most of
the year.
JSaxter, 826.2 miles from Omaha; eleva-

its entire line. Rock Springs coal for domestic
purposes is only surpassed by anthracite. It
has but little of the sulphurous smell of other
soft coal, burns into ashes without clinkers, and
without the black soot which characterizes other
coal. These mines, with others, were formerly
operated by the Wyoming Coal Company.
Their product is annually increasing ; wherever
the superior merits of the coal have become
known it speedily supplants other kinds in use.
In 1880 the company mined 200,000 tons, or


tion, 6,300 feet A side track where passenger
trains do not stop. The valley narrows in this
vicinity, and the rugged rocks with their ragged
edges, if possible become more interesting to the

Rock Sprinfftt, 831.6 miles from Omaha,
and 6,280 feet above the sea. This is the great
coal station on the line of the Union Pacific
Road. The company not only furnishes the
finest lignite coal to be found, for its own use,
but supplies the market at every point along

20,000 cars allowing the usual ten tons per car.
They did not, however, ship this number of cars
as considerable coal is furnished to all the en-
gines that pass, and consumed by the people
living in the town. They are now working two
veins,one sixand the other about ninefeet in thick-
ness. The Artesian well here is 1,145 feet deep.

Wil1cint 840.6 miles from Omaha, with
an elevation of 6,200 feet. A side track for
passing trains between Rock Springs and

Green River. which is the end of the Lara-


mie division of the road, 273.8 miles from that
place, and 846.6 miles from Omaha, with an ele-
vation of 6,140 feet. This is a regular eating-
station, breakfast and supper, and is now one of
the best kept hostelries on the road. This place
will eventually be a popular resort for those who
are seeking for fossiliferous remains, and those
who delight in fishing. Here is the outfitting
point for hunting and fishing parties who
desire to go either north or south, and here
is the head center for Rocky Mountain spec-
imens, fossils, petrifactions, etc., and travelers
would like to know beforehand just what accom-
modations they can obtain. Mr. Kitchen is able
to provide for all, in elegant style, at reasonable
prices. Here, also, he has on exhibition and for
sale the specimens alluded to such as beautiful
moss agates, fossil fish, petrified shells and wood,
with othars which we are not able to name. Par-

others to reclaim the soil, but thus far
with indifferent success, though Mr. Fields
was quite successful, in 1875, with a crop of
potatoes, cabbages, turnips, radishes, and other
"garden truck."

Stages leave here for Big Horn, Sweetwater,
and other towns tri-weekly. The old mud
huts are beginning to find occupants again.
The Desert House is the only hotel, a
pleasant place with its flowers, ferns, and

The high projecting tower north of the
track, crowning a bluff, is 625 feet higher than
the river level below, and about 615 feet higher
than the track. Other rocks, as " The Sisters "
and " The Twin Sisters " will be readily recog-
nized by the passing traveler.

" Wake up, wake up," said an old lady to her
husband, as the train approached the station one


ties of men are employed to search the hills,
mountains and valleys in this vicinity, for these
specimens, and when found, to bring them in.
The stock is, therefore, continually replenished
with rich and rare gems and fossils, and they
may here be obtained at any tim?.

Baing the end of a division, Green Rirer has a
large roundhouse with fifteen stalls, and the
usual machine and repair shops. The railroad
bursts into the valley through a narrow gorge
between two hills, then turns to the right and
enters the town, crossing the river beyond on a
wooden truss bridge. The old adobe town, re-
mains of which are still visible, was on the bot-
tom-land directly in front of the gorge.

Green River is now the county-seat of
Sweetwater County, Wyoming, and has a
population of nearly 500 persons. Efforts
have been made by Mr. Fields and a few

morning last year ; " here is Solomon's temple
petrified," said she, as she gave him another
shake. The old gentleman rubbed his eyes, gave
another yawn, and finally looked out, to see what
excites the curiosity of every traveler, as he
arrives at this place. Sure enough ; it seems as
though some great temple once stood here, or
several of them, and in the wrecks of time, left
their gigantic pillars standing, as a reminder of
their former greatness.

Ttie Green Hirer. The peculiar color of
this river is not owing to the fact of any discolora-
tion of the water ; that, when the banks of the
stream are not filled by freshets of itself or some
of its tributaries, is very pure and sweet, and of
the usual color of clear water, but is owing to
the green shale through which it runs, and which
can readily be seen in the bluffs in the vicinity
and for quite a distance up Black's Fork, and



which is supposed to contain arsenic or chloride
of copper, which becomes detached by drainage
and fastens itself to the pebble stones and bot-
tom of the stream, causing the water, as you
look into it, to bear the same color. This river
rises in the Wyoming and Wind River Mount-
ains, is fed by numerous tributaries, and flows
in a general southerly direction, until it unites
with the Colorado River. The scenery along its
banks, most always rugged, in some places is
sublime. Where it is crossed by the railroad, its
valley is narrow, enclosed on either side by high
bluffs, which have been washed into numerous
fanciful shapes by the storms of time, and
which are crowned, in many instances, by col-
urns, or towers, forcibly reminding one of the
towers, battlements and castles, spoken of in
the old feudal times. Its tributaries, nearly
all have narrow fertile valleys, which are be-
ing occupied by stockmen, and which afford
both hay and shelter for stock. South of
the railroad, it winds through the famous Col-
orado Canon, so well and grandly described
by Major Powell, the explorer. The river and
its surroundings must from their very nature,
always be a source of interest to the scien-
tist, and will soon become a popular resort
for fossil hunters, gem searchers and sports-

Brown's Hole. This is a beautiful scene
just below Red Canon, the water is calm, quiet,
and peaceful, like a mirror, with wonderfully dis-
tinct reflections. Here is the last quiet stretch
of the river ere it enters into the turbulent pas-
sage of the deeper, gloomier, and larger canon


below. The sandy beach, at the left, shows the
foot-prints of numerous deer, bears, and elk that
frequent the bank.

Brown's Hole is an expansion of the val-
ley of Green River, and is about five miles
wide and thirty miles long. This is a name given
by the old trappers, 40 years ago, or more and
has been a favorite wintering place for stock.
Little or no snow falls in the valleys, and they are
so well surrounded by high mountains, that the
bleak winds of winter cannot reach them. The
valley is covered with wild sage and bunch
grass and at the time of the visit of the Hayden
Exploring Party, there were 2,200 head of Texas
cattle, just driven in, to fatten for the California
market. In the north sides of the valley, the beds
of rock have, by the action of the weather, become
shaped into innumerably beautiful, architectural
forms, like the ruins of pyramids.

Giant's Cliilt. This is fairly a giant in di-
mensions, as its proportions are really colos-
sal. It rises with almost perpendicular sides,
and is impossible to scale by ascent. The rock
is interesting for its peculiar -formation, as it
bears evidences of having once existed at the
bottom of a lake. It lies in regular strata, all
horizontal, and most of these contain fossils of
plants and fishes. The plants are all extinct
species, and closely allied to our fruit and forest
trees ; among them, however, are some palms,
which indicated this to be, in original times,
vhen the deposit was formed, a very warm
climate. Professor Hayden, in examining this
rock, and others near, found the plants in the
upper part of the rock, and about a hundred feet


Ibwer down, discovered the remains of fishes, all
of them belonging to fresh water, and all extinct
species. They were imbedded in oily shales, and
insects were found with them, in a remarkable
state of preservation. With the fishes were also
found feathers of birds, and a few reeds.

Peculiarities of the Green River Rocks.
To the peculiar formation of rocks which gives
all this region its characteristic features, is given
the name of the Green River Shales. The sedi-
ments are arranged in regular layers, mostly
quite thin, but varying from the thickness of a
knife-blade to several feet. These peculiar
layers, or bands, are quite varied in shades of
color. In some of the thin slabs of shale, are
thousands of beautiful impressions of fish, some-
times a dozen or so within the compass of a

ters of the river are of the purest emerald, witk
banks and sand-bars of glistening white. The
perpendicular bluff to the left is nearly 1,500 feet
above the level of the river, and of a bright red
and yellow. When illuminated by full sunlight,
it is grand, and deserves its full title " The Flam-
ing Gorge." It is the entrance to a gateway to
the still greater wonders and grandeurs of the
famous Red Canon that cuts its way to a depth
of 3,000 feet, between this point and its entrance
into Brown's Hole.

Leaving Green River the railroad crosses the
bridge, turns to the right, and runs along under
the bluffs the highest being about 350 feet
high, and almost over the river in one place for
about three miles, when it again turns to the
left, passing the divide where there is an un-


square foot. Impressions of insects and water
plants are also sometimes found. At Burning
Hock Cut, the road passes through thin layers
of a sort of cream-colored, chalky limestone,
interspersed with strata of a dark -brown color,
saturated with petroleum, so as to burn freely.
The Cut derives its name Burning Rocks, from
the fact that during the building of the road
the rocks became ignited and burned for some
days, illuminating the labor of the workmen by
night and filling the valley with dense clouds
of smoke by day.

Curious Scenes along the Green River.
At the mouth of Henry's Fork there is a view
on Green River of great beauty, which derives its
principal charm from its vivid colors. The wa-


named side track, and along a hilly, broken

The Sweetwater. This stream rises in the
Wind River Mountains, directly north of Point
of Rocks and Salt Wells, in the great South
Pass, discovered by General Fremont, and runs in
a general easterly direction uniting with the
North Platte River about 80 miles north of Fort
Steele. South of it is the Sweet water Mountain
Range. North of it lay the Rattlesnake Hills,
which are said to be one continuous chain of
broken ragged rocks heaped upon each other in
confused masses. They are utterly barren and
desolate, and beyond the snakes which give them
their name, are avoided by almost every living
thing. Near the mouth of this river, Independence


Rock, a noted landmark of the plains, rises. It
is on the line of the Indian trail, to the upper
North Platte Region, and near it has been found
immense deposits of soda in lakes which are
said to be nearly pure, and which are soon to be
worked. The valley of this stream is rarely
covered with snow in winter, and affords ex-
cellent grazing for stock the entire year. Were
it not so exposed to Indian raids in summer, it
would soon be occupied. The care of stock re-
quires horses and beyond the killing of a few
head for beef occasionally, the Indians do not
trouble it ; the horses are what they want, and
what they come after and scalps will be taken,
if necessary to obtain them. Placer, gulch and
quartz gold has been discovered in the Wind
River Mountains, near the Great South Pass,
and fortunes have been made and lost in that
mining district in a very short time. They have
been made by the mining sharks, who sold their
mines to the inexperienced and uninitiated
from the East, and lost by the parties
who were "taken in." To the east of the
Wind River Mountains the Shoshone or
Snake River Indian reservation has been
laid off. The principal towns are Atlantic
City, South Pass City, and Miner's Delight,
a mining town. Near Atlantic City is Camp
Stambaugh, and still farther north, on the
east side of the same mountain, is Camp
Brown, the latter being near the boundary
line of the Indian reservation referred to.
Very fine hot mineral springs have been
found on or near this reservation. The
main road by which these places are
reached, leads out from Bryan and Green
Kiver. From the latter place four-horse
coaches are run tri-weekly, while from
the former a great quantity of govern-
ment freight is annually shipped. The
road crosses the river near the mouth
of Big Sandy Creek, and follows up
this stream, and its south branch to
Pacific Spring, after which it crosses a
low divide to a tributary of the Sweetwater.
While the road from Point of Rocks is much
shorter yet this route is said to be the best as it
follows the valley of a stream all the way, and
avoids sand-hills which are very trying to stock.
From Green River the road at present traveled,
passes up the valley until it strikes the Big
Sandy, where it intersects the road from Bryan.
The nearest peaks seen on the north side of the
track, as you pass the divide just west of Creston,
are those of the real Rocky Mountain Range, and
extend in a north-westerly direction to the head
of the Wind River Mountains, from which they
are only divided by the Sweetwater Valley. Be-
fore the Lodge Pole Valley Route was discovered
via the Cheyenne Pass, the North Platte and
Sweetwater Route via the South Pass and Big
Sandy was the main, in fact the great overland

route, traveled by the Mormons and Cali-
fornia emigrants. At the time the railroad was
built, however, the Lodge Pole Route was the
one mainly traveled. The vast region north of
the railroad between the Black Hills and Green
River Valley, contains within itself the germs of
a mighty empire, only waiting for the united
efforts of capital and labor for development.

Hryan, over 13 miles from Green River,
and 860 miles from Omaha, with an elevation of
6,340 feet or just 200 feet higher than at Green
River. This station was formerly a division ter-
minus at which time it was a place of consider-
able- importance. The government has a depot
here, where its freight for Camp Stambaugh,
Camp Brown and other places is received. The
majority of the freight for the Sweetwater Min-
ing District and the settlements at the base of
the Wind River Mountains, South Pass City,
Atlantic City, etc., is also shipped from this
place, the distance to the latter city being 90
miles. Bryan is the first station where the rail-
road strikes Black's Fork of the Green River.
This fork rises in the Uintah Mountains, directly
south of Piedmont, and runs in a north-easterly
direction till it reaches Bryan, then turns toward
the south-west and unites with Green River some
twenty miles below *he town of Green . liver.
The valley at Bryan is quite broad in places, and
thickly covered with sago brush and greasewood.
The soil is said to be fertile and capable of pro-
ducing large crops with irrigation.

Fort Bridger, eleven miles south of Carter
Station, is on this stream, and ,it that place over
300 bushels of potatoes have been raised from a
single half acre of ground. This shows what
this virgin soil can do if irrigated. The table-
land on the elevated benches that the traveler
will observe on either side of the road, is said to
be equally rich, and would be equally as prolific
if it could be irrigated. As you approach Bryan,
look away to the south and south-east, and you
will behold the towering peaks of the Uintab
Mountains, 70 or 80 miles off. They do not
look so distant, but then distance is very decep-
tive in this country. Bryan is a telegraph sta-
tion with a store, saloon, and a few houses all
that's left to tell the story of its better and de-
parted days. Its early history is the same as all
the railroad towns we have mentioned, with
roughs, cut-throats, gamblers, villains, etc., and
their cleaning out by vigilance, committees, under
law administered by "Judge Lynch."

We now pursue our w r ay up the valley of
Black's Fork. Four miles west of Bryan, the
road first crosses this stream which it follows to
Church Buttes.

Marston is the next station a side track
21 miles from Green River, and 867.6 miles from
Omaha ; elevation, 6,245 feet. From the appar-
ently level plains which the road crosses, abrupt
buttes or bluffs rise as if built by human hands


as mounds to conceal some treasure, or to perpet-
uate some remarkable incident in history. They
form a curious study, and awaken no little in-
terest in the mind of an observing traveler. To
the left of the track there are a number of low
buttes as you approach

Granger, the next station, 877.2 miles from
Omaha, and 6,270 feet above the sea. It is a
telegraph station, named in honor of an old set-
tler here. The Union Pacific Company is now
building its "Oregon Branch" from Granger
northwest via Soda Springs and Snake River
Valley, Idaho, to Portland, Oregon. The branch
is to be completed in 1882, and will be a sev-
eral hundred miles shorter route from the
East to Oregon than any other projected
line. The road here crosses Ham's Fork, a
tributary of Black's Fork, which lises some 70

to Evanston, in great profusion. The most of
them, however, are valueless, but occasionally
specimens of rare beauty are picked up. On
what are called " the bad lands," about 7 miles
south of the road, however, the finest agates,
with other beautiful gems, are obtained with lit-
tle difficulty. In Ham's Fork water agates,
creamy white, and amber colored, may be occa-
sionally picked up. They are quite rare, and
when cut by the lapidary, are held to be of con-
siderable value.

View of Uintah Mountains. The view
we give an illustration of, on page 78, is one of
the finest in the Far West. The scene is taken
from Photograph Ridge, at an elevation of
10,829 feet. In the foreground is a picturesque
group of the mountain pines. In the middle
distance flows Black's Fork. The peaks or coneg


miles north-west, and which, the old settlers say,
is really the main stream of the two. The banks
of this stream, as far as you can see, are lined
with bushes, and farther up, its valley produces
luxuriant grass, from which hay is cut, and upon
which numerous herds of cattle feed. An oval
peak rises on the north side of the track, beyond

Online LibraryFrederick E ShearerThe Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... → online text (page 17 of 61)