43. McKinstry August 30, 1850

[Friday] "After watering our cattle at the lower end of the lake (they did not appear to like the water) we were now ready to start on the desert. Some of us being impatient we started about 4 P.M. and without resting our cattle that were considerably jaded already on the heavy road....


The road that comes down on the other side of the river comes in here and as we intended to take the Truckey route I suppose that we should have crossed to the other side. But we were told that the Truckey route took off to the right four miles from here....


When we got some 4 or 5 m. we took a right hand road but soon came to the slough and the road spread out and eventually returned to the road we had left,... Finding ourselves again in the Carson road concluded to keep it as it was now dark, quite dark. Stopped and took a lunch of salt beef & bread which made us very dry. Mr. Crispen was furious at our not getting on the track we intended; he and Hibbard had a great quarrel....


Got under way again about 8 P.M. The desert is complete, there is not even the dwarf greasewood to be found. We are much pressed for water. People say they will pay any price for water... After travelling 10 or 12 miles one of our oxen (Duke) laid down as much as to say that he was tired. We rested him awhile, gave him a little water and hay and started on, but he would not keep up. We tied him to the wagon but he throwed himself and we were compelled to leave him in the road....


Though the road has been strewed all the way with carcasses and wagons, yet daylight shows them plainer and as we enter the sands they increase. I believe that the animals will average over 160 per mile all the way, four times that number across the sand. There are frequently 20 or 30 dead animals in as many rods. I find people sleeping beside the road, cattle dieing as well as dead, horses dead all saddled and bridled, some in their harness....


From information we got from an emigrant we turned off the road to the left in the direction of a long low hill, leaving our wagons in the road, and found a Salt Lake a mile in circumference surrounded by a steep high bank and some beautiful fresh springs gushing out of the banks at the margin of the Lake. Oh! how sweet that water was, and I fancy our cattle thought so too, but I got to it first and quenched my own thirst which was indeed intolerable. The cattle, instead of stopping for the spring, rushed into the lake. Here they found nothing but brine.


In 5 m. we arrived at the river and camped 1/2 m. up it. Found no grass, but we had a little that we brought across the desert, and browsed our cattle on willow. Made 40 miles."

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