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

. (page 18 of 61)
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 18 of 61)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

which, in the distance, may be seen a range of
bluffs, or mountains,which rise up between Ham's
Fork and Green River. From Granger to the
next station, are buttes on both sides of the
track, while, to the left, the high peaks of the
Uintah Range tower up in the distance, affording
one of the grandest views on the line of the road.
This is the region of moss agates, gems of vari-
ous kinds, and precious stones. Agates are found
all along the line of the road from Green River


in the distance have their summits far a'taov* the
limits of perpetual snow, and from 1.500 ta 2,000
feet above the springs that are the sources of the
streams below. These cones are distinctly strati-
fied, mostly horizontal, and there are frequently
vast piles of purplish, compact quartzite, which
resemble Egyptian pyramids on a gigantic scale,
without a trace of grit, vegetation, or water. One
of these remarkable structures stands out isolated
from the rest, in the middle of the Valley of
Smith's Fork, and is so much like a Gothic
church, that the United States Surveying Party
gave it the name of Hayden's Cathedral, after
the leader of the exploration.

Church BiitteSr-887.7 miles from Omaha ;
elevation, 6,317 feet. The particular buttes,-
from which the station derives its name, are


about 10 miles south of the station, on the old
overland stage road, but buttes rise up from the
level plains in this vicinity in every direction.
They are, however, fast washing away. The
annual increase in rain-fall on this desert, since
the completion of the railroad and the stretch-
ing of five telegraph wires, is remarkable, and
is especially noticed by the old settlers. These
rains, with the frosts of winter, are having a
noticeable effect on the buttes. Isolated peaks
have disappeared entirely and prominent pro-
jections have been materially lessened. There
are still a large number, however, chiseled by
the action oi frosts and rains into fantastic
shapes which will excite the attention and rivet
the gaze of the traveler, as he passes by ; but, if
their annual diminution continues, in less than
half a century, thay will have lost their interest.
Near this station is the last crossing of Black's
Fork, which now bears away to the left, while
the road ascends another of its branches, called
the Big Muddy. What has been said in refer-
ence to abates, etc., of the other stations, will
apply to Church Buttes with equal force.

Curious Scientific Explorations.
Church Buttes is a curious formation, located on
the line of the old overland stage route, about
one hundred and fifty miles east from Salt Lake,
and at this point having an elevation of 6,731
feat. The formation is part of the Mauvaises
Terres, or Bad Lands, and consists of a vast de-
posit of sedimentary sandstones, and marly clay,
in perfectly horizontal strata, and contain within
their beds, some very remarkable paleontological
remains. The peculiar effects of stormy weather
and flood, in the past, has carved the bluff-lines
into the most curious and fantastic forms lofty
domes arid pinnacles, and fluted columns, these
rocks resembling some cathedral of the olden
tim% standing in the midst of desolation.

Professor Hayden, in speaking of them says,
" Distance lends a most delicious enchantment to
the scene, and the imagination can build many
castles from out of this mass of most singular
formation. A nearer approach dispels some of.
the illusions, but the mind is no less impressed
with the infinite variety of detail and the scat-
tered remains of the extinct life of some far dis-
tant age."

In this section are found " moss agates," in the
greatest abundance, being scattered all over the
surface of the country. Standing upon one of
the summits of the highest point of the " Bad
Lands," Hayden says, "as far as the eye can
reach, upon every side, is a vast extent of most
infinite detail. It looks like some ruined city of
the gods, blasted, bare, desolate, but grave, beyond
a mortal's telling." In 1870, a geological expedi-
tion, headed by Prof. O. C. Marsh, of Yale College,
and known as the " Yale College Expedition of
1870 " visited the " Bad Lands " and made a
geological examination. They were accompanied

by Buffalo Bill, a military troupe, and ten Pawnee
Indians, as guides. On the way, Professor Marsh
endeavored to explain the mighty changes of
geology and the grand discoveries they would
make and Buffalo Bill intimated, some of
them were "pretty tough yarns." The desolation
of the country can only be imagined, not de-
scribed hour after hour the party marched over
burning sand-hills, without rocks or trees, or
signs of water, while the thermometer stood at
110 in the shade of the wagons. After fourteen
hours in the saddle, one of the soldiers, exhaust-
ed with heat and thirst, finally exclaimed :
" What did God Almif/hty make such as this for 1 "
" Why," replied another more devout trooper,
" God Almighty made the country good enough,
but it's this deuced geology the professor talks about,
that spoiled it all."

For fresh water the party had to thank the
favor of a thunder-shower, during which they
drank from the rims of each other's hats. Their
researches resulted in the discovery of the re-
mains of various species of the camel, horse,
mammals, and others new to science. A branch
of this expedition exploring the canons and
plains of Northern Colorado, discovered a large
deposit which contained great quantities of
fossil turtles, and rhinoceros, birds, and the re-
mains of the areodon, a remarkable animal
combining the characteristics of the modern
sheep, pig and deer. The remains of another mon-
ster, the Titanolherium, were found of such vast
proportions, that a lower jaw measured over four
feet in length. At Antelope Station, in one of
these areodon beds, remains were found of
several species of horse ; one a three-toed ani-
mal, and another which, although full grown, had
attained the height of but two feet. In an ex-
ploration near Green River the expedition
found petrified fishes in abundance, and a small
bed, containing fossil insects, a rare discov-
ery. Here -were beetles and dragons, flies and
grasshoppers; a gigantic fossil mosquito, and
an extinct flea of great dimensions were also
discovered. At Fort Wallace, Ks., the party
found a trophy in the form of a skeleton of a
sea serpent nearly complete, which alone re-
quired four days to dig out and bring to the
camp. This monster when alive could not have
been less than 60 feet. It had a slender eel-
like body and tail, with mouth like a boa-con-

Among the curious incidents which happened,
was the discovery of a genuine Sioux Indian bur-
ial ground. The dead were reposing on platforms
of boughs elevated above the ground, and sup-
ported at the four corners by poles about eight
feet in height. On one of these tombs lay two
bodies, a woman, decked in beads and bracelets,
and a scalpless brave, with war paint still on the
cheeks, and holding in his crumbling hand,
a rusty shot-gun, and a pack of cards. Several


incidents occurred from the abundance of rattle-
snakes. Several animals were bitten by them,
and the country at some places fairly swarmed
with them. Numbers were killed every day by
the horses' feet, and while members of the party
would occasionally bathe in the river, these
reptiles would bask upon the bank of the stream
near their clothes, as one of them says, " Their
humming soon became an old tune, and the
charm of shooting the wretches wore away for
all but one, who was collecting their rattles as a
necklace for his lady love."

Hampton, a little over 50 miles from Green
River, 897.1 miles from Omaha, and 6,500 feet
above the sea. It is simply a side track where,
occasionally, trains meet and pass. Approaching
this station, two large buttes lift themselves
above their fellows on the left side of the track,
while beyond, a low, dark ridge may be seen cov-
ered with cedars. In this ridge is an abundance
of game and good hunting at almost any season
of the year. The game consists of elk, coyotes,
wolves, deer, bears, etc. About three miles be-
fore you reach the next station, you will notice
off to the right of the track, a long, low, dark ridge.
It is also covered with cedars, and it strikes the
road near Bridger Station. There are also plenty
of cedars in the bluffs to the left before you

Carter, the next station, which is 904.6
miles from Omaha, and 6,550 feet above the sea.
The station is named in honor of Col. Dick
Carter, whose home is here, and who has lived
here since the completion of the railroad. It is
the nearest railroad station to Fort Bridger,
which is located on Black's Fork, 11 miles due
south, and reached by daily stages from this
point. Near Carter, also, one can hardly go
amiss of moss agates and other curious speci-
mens. About twenty miles, a little northwest
of this station, is a mountain of coal on a tribu-
tary of Little Muddy. In this mountain are
found three splendid veins of coal, of total
thickness of eighty-seven feet, which can be
traced over ten miles; also layers of slate
twenty-five to thirty feet in depth. The coal
resembles cannel coal, and makes excellent
coke for smelting purposes. Seven miles north
of Carter is a white sulphur spring, a chaly-
beate spring, and, also, a fine fresh water
spring. The branch railroad from Granger
will pass these springs, and reach the moun-
tain of coal in a distance of fifty miles.

Smith's Fork, a branch of Black's, is about
five miles south of Fort Bridger, and Henry's
Fork, of Green River, is some twenty-five
miles still farther south, and is noted for its
rich grazing. It is mostly occupied by stock-
men as a winter range, where large nnmbers of
cattle are annually wintered without hay.
Smith's and Henry's Forks are filled with trout,
and afford fine fishing, while there is an abund-

ance of game, such as elk, deer, antelope and
bear, to attract the hunter and sportsman.
Numerous sage hens give fine shooting in the
summer months. Carter is a telegraph station,
and has a store from which ranchmen, hunters,
and others obtain supplies. A government
road to Fort Ellis, Montana and the Yellow-
stone Park, has been surveyed from this station
by way of Bear River Valley and the Soda
Springs in Idaho. It is some eighty miles
nearer than by Ogden or Corinne, over a fine

Bridger 914.1 mile from Omaha, with an
elevation of 6,780 feet. It is a telegraph sta-
tion named in honor of Jim Bridger, who was
a noted hunter and guide for government and
other expeditions. Since leaving Bryan we
have been going up hill all the time, and our
ascent will now be rapid until we pass the
divide between Piedmont and Aspen. Near
here is a cliff five hundred feet high, called
" Piut'?s Outlook" which can be seen on the
left of the track three miles west.

Leroy is the next station. It is 919.1 miles
from Omaha, and 7,123 feet above the level of
the sea. In passing over only five miles of
road, we have ascended nearly 350 feet. Leav-
ing this place, you will observe old telegraph
poles still standing on the left of the track.
They mark the line of the old overland road.
About two miles west of Leroy, at the base of
a hill or bluff, south of the track, are some ex-
cellent soda springs. They are near the road,
and trains sometimes stop to enable passengers
to drink the water. The water is highly recom-
mended for the cure of dyspepsia and toning-
up of the system. The following is an analysis
of the water as made by Assistant Surgeon
Smart, of the United States Army. It should
be stated, however, that the very important
element of carbonic acid could not be deter-
mined, as much of this had escaped while the
water was in transit from the spring to Camp
Douglas, Utah: GKAINS, PER GAL.

Carbonate of Magnesia. 50.680

Carbonate of Lime 58.674

Sulphate of Lime 41.104

Sulphate of Soda (Glauber's salts) .... 116.655
Chloride of Sodium (common salt) ... . 270.200
Iron and Alumina 1.162

Total 538,475

Potassium is also present in small quantity.
The hills and valleys in this vicinity con-
tinue to abound in agates and other curious
specimens, while soda, iron and fresh water
springs are numerous, sometimes in close
proximity to each other.

Piedmont. Here the road, after crossing it,
leaves the Muddy, which comes in from the
south. This station is ten miles from Leroy,
929.1 miles from Omaha, and has an elevation of


7,540 feet. In summer, the scenery along this
part of the road is delightful, while in winter the
storms are severe, the wind blowing almost a
constant gale, while the snow drifts mountains
high. There are several snow sheds along this
part of the road, the longest being on the sum-
mit, 2,700 feet in length. The road having to
wind around the spurs and into the depressions
of the hills, is very crooked, in one place doub-
ling back on itself. We are now crossing a high
ridge in the
Uintah Mount-
ains, and the
second highest
elevation on the
Union Pacific.
Off to the left
these mountains
in higher, grand-
er forms, lift
their summits
toward the
clouds, and are
most always
covered with
snow, while
their sides are
lined with dark
green the col-
or of the pine
forests, which
partially envel-
op them. While
the road was be-
ing built, large
quantities o f
ties, telegraph
poles and bridge
timber, were cut
on the Foot
Hills, near these
mountains, and
delivered to the
company. About
two miles north-
west of Pied-
mont, is a won-
derful Soda
Spring. The
sediment or de-
posits Of this INTERIOR OF SNOW

spring have built up a conical-shaped body with a
basin on the top. In this basin the water appears,
to a small extent, and has evidently sometime
had a greater flow than at present ; but, as similar
springs have broken out around the base of this
cone, the pressure on the main spring has, doubt-
less, been relieved, and its flow, consequently,
lessened. The cone is about 15 feet high and is
well worthy of a visit from the tourist. At
Piedmont, the traveler will first observe the per-
manent coal pits, built of stone and brick, which

are used in this country for the manufacture of
charcoal for the smelting works of Utah. There
are more of them at Hilliard and Evanston, and
they will be more fully described then.

Leaving Piedmont, the road makes a long
curve, like a horse-shoe doubling on itself, and,
finally, reaches the summit of the divide in a
long snow shed, one of the longest on the road.
Aspen, the next station. It is 938.5 miles
from Omaha, and has a reported elevation of

7,835 feet. It
is not a greal.
distance^ only
about two miles
from the sum-
mit. Evidences
of change in the
formation of the
country are
everywhere visi-
ble, and the
change affords a
marked relief to
the weary mo-
notony of the
desolate plains
over which we
have passed.
Down the grade
we now pass
rapidly, with
high hills on
either side of
the track
through a lovely
valley, with an
occasional fill.
and through a
deep cut, to the
next station.
This station,
opened for busi-
ness in 1873, is
943.5 miles from
Omaha, with an
elevation of
7,310 feet. The
town owes its
importance to
SHEDS, u. P. B. B. the Hilliard

Flume & Lumber Company, which has extensive
property interests here, and in the vicinity. In
approaching the town from Aspen, the road
passes down a " draw " or ravine, through
a cut on a curve, and near this place
enters the Bear River Valley, one of the
most beautiful, and so far as has been demon-
strated, fertile valleys of the Rocky Mountains.
Two things excite the curiosity of the traveler
if he has never seen them before ; one is the coal
pits, and the other is the elevated flume under


which trains of cars pass. This flume, built of
timber and boards, is 24 miles long, and is 2,000
feet higher where it first takes the water from
Bear River, than where it empties the same at
Milliard. The greatest fall in any one mile is
320 feet. The timber which is brought to the
station by this flume, is obtained in large
amounts in the foot hills of the Uintah Mount-
ains, or on the mountains themselves and is
mostly pine. The saw-mill of the company,
erected at the head of this flume, has a capacity
of 40,000 feet in 24 hours, with an engine of 40
Over 2,000,000
feet of lumber
were consumed
in the construc-
tion of this
flume, and its
branches in the
Through it
cord-wood, lum-
ber, ties and
saw-logs are
floated down to
the railroad.
The cord-wood
is used for char-
coal. You will
observe the con-
ical shaped pits
in which it is
made, near the
railway track,
on the right, as
you pass west-
ward. There
are 29 pits or
kilns at Hilli-
a r d , nineteen
small ones, and
ten large ones.
The small kilns
require twenty-
six cords of
wood at a fill-
ing, and the
large ones forty cords. The small ones cost
about $750, each ; the large ones f 900. These
kilns consume 2,000 cords of wood per month,
and produce 100,000 bushels of charcoal as a re-
sult, in the same time. There are other kilns
about nine miles south of the town, in active oper-
ation. There are fine iron and sulphur springs
within three-fourths of a mile of the station.
The reddish appearance of the mountain we
have just passed indicates the presence of iron
in this vicinity in large quantities, and coal also
begins to crop out in different places as we go
down the valley. Bear River is renowned for
its trout. They are caught south of the road in


the mountain tributaries, and north of Evans-
ton, in Bear River Lake. Though the country
has somewhat changed in appearance, and a dif-
ferent formation has been entered upon, we have
not passed the region of agates and gems,
precious and otherwise. They are found in the
vicinity of Hilliard, in large quantities, together
with numerous petrifactions of bones, etc., with
fossilized fish, shells, ferns and other materials.

Twenty-five miles a little south-west of Hil-
liard are found two sulphur mountains. The
sulphur is nearly 90 per cent, pure, in inex-
haustible quan-

The scenery of
the Upper Bear
River is rugged
and grand.
About 20 miles
south of Hil-
liard is a nat-
ural fort which
was taken pos-
session of by a
gang of horse
thieves and cut-
throats, under
the lead of one
Jack Watkins,
a genuine front-
ier ruffian, who,
with his com-
panions, for a
long time re-
sisted all at
tempts at cap-

The hills and
mountains in
this vicinity
abound in
game, and offer
rare induce-
ments to sports-
m e n . The
country around
both Hilliard
and Evanston is
the natural home for bears, elk, deer, catamounts,
lynx, wolves, coyotes, wolverines, beaver, mink,
foxes, badgers, mountain lions, wild cats, jack
rabbits, etc., grouse sage hens, quails and ducks
in the spring and fall. Not far north of Evans-
ton, on Bear River, is Bear Lake, ten miles in
length, and from five to eight in breadth. The
boundary line between Idaho and Utah passes
directly across the lake from east to west.

Soda Sprinffs. Farther north, at the Big Bend
of Bear River, the most interesting group of soda
springs known on the Continent, occupy some
six square miles. To those graced with steam
vents, Fremont gave the name of Steamboat


Springs, from the noise they make like a low-
pressure engine. Near by is a spring with an
orifice brightly stained with a brilliant yellow
coating of oxide of iron, from which the water is
thrown up two feet.

Independence Rock. This has long been
a noted landmark, for travelers on the old over-
land wagon route. Its base which borders the
road is literally covered with names and dates,
some of them even before Fremont's expedition
crossed the Continent many more well known.

The Sweetwater River flows immediately
along the southern end of it, and on the opposite
side of the stream is another ridge similar to it,
continuing from the south-west, which was once
connected with it. It is a huge example of dis-
integration ; its rounded form resembles an
oblong hay-stack, with layers of rocks lapping
over the top and sides of the mass. Thin layers

another conspicuous landmark, the Twin Peaks,
which really are but one high peak in the ridge,
cleft down the centre, dividing it in two, nearly to
the base.

View in the Uintah Mountains. The
view we give on page 78, is taken from Photo-
graph Ridge, elevation, 10,829 feet, by the
Hayden Exploring Expedition, and is one of the
grandest and most perfect mountain views in the
West. The traveler, as he passes rapidly
through Echo and Weber Canons, and casually
notices the chain of mountains at the south, can
form no idea of their beauty and grandeur.
Professor Hayden says of this view " In the fore-
ground of our view is a picturesque group
of the mountain pines. In the middle dis-
tance, glimmering in the sunlight like a silver
thread, is Black's Fork, meandering through
grassy, lawn-like parks, the eye following it up


have been broken off in part, and huge masses
are scattered all around it. On some portions of
the sides they lap down to the ground, with so
gentle a descent that one can walk up to the top
without difficulty. The rock has a circum-
ference of 1,550 yards. The north end is 193
feet in height, and the opposite end, 167 feet,
with a depression in the center of 75 feet.

Devil's Gate on the Sweetwater. Follow-
ing up the valley from Independence Rock, and
five miles north, is another celebrated natural
curiosity. The Devil's Gate, a canon which the
Sweetwater River has worn through the Granite
Ridge cutting it at right-angles. The walls are
vertical, being about 350 feet high, and the dis-
tance through is about 300 yards. The current
of the stream through the gate is slow, finding
its way among the fallen masses of rock, with
gentle, easy motion, and pleasant murmur.

Fifteen miles farther above the Devil's Gate, is

to its sources, among the everlasting snows of
the summit ridge. The peaks or cones in the
distance, are most distinctly stratified and ap-
parently horizontal or nearly so, with their sum-
mits far above the limits of perpetual snow, and
from 1,500 to 2,000 feet above the springs that
rise from the streams below."

Gilbert's Peak, is one of the highest peaks
of the Uintah Mountain Range, named after
General Gilbert of the U. S. A. It has near its
summit a beautiful lake of 11,000 feet, and
above this rises the peak abruptly 2,250 more.
Total, 13,250 feet.

Throughout these mountains are very many
lakes, which gather among the rocks bordered
with dense growth of spruce trees, and form a
characteristic feature of the scenery.

Bear Hirer City. After leaving Hilliard,
the road, as it continues down the valley of Sul
phur Creek, passes the site of Bear River City, a


once famous town, but which now has not a sin-
gle building to mark where it once stood ; a mile
and a half west of Hilliard will be seen the head-
boards of the graves of early-day rioters. The
city was laid out in 1868, and for a time there
was high speculation in lots, and once the popula-
tion reached as high as 2,000 persons. Fre-
quent garrotings, deaths and robberies, led to the
organization of a vigilance committee, who hung
three of the desperadoes. An active fight after-
wards ensued
between the
cifcizsns and
the mob, who
had organized
to revenge the
death of one
of their num-
ber. The citi-
zens were well
protected b y
the wall of a
store, and by
active firing
killed 16 of the
rioters, with
other losses,
never known.
From that day
the place was
dropped by the
railroad, and
it faded en-
tirely away.

Jtfillis is
the next sta-
tion, 947.5
miles from
Omaha, with
an elevation of
6,790 feet. It
is an unim-
portant side
track, where
trains occa-
sionally pass.
Its location is
about a mile
and a half be-
low or west of
the site of Bear
River City.

Leaving Millis the road soon crosses Bear River
over a low trestle-work an opening being left
in the embankment for the passage of surplus
water in time of freshets. The entire valley
here has been known to be covered with water
in the spring.

Evanston, 957 miles from Omaha; eleva-
tion, 6,770 feet. It is the county-seat of
Uintah County, Wyoming Territory, and the
last u>wn going west, in Wyoming. It con-

tains about 1,500 people, and is a thriving
business place, owing to proximity of the coal

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 18 of 61)