72. Bryant July 23, 1846

One of these gorges presents a most savage and gloomy aspect. It is so narrow and deep that the rays of the sun never penetrate to its bottom. Mr. Hudspeth thinks this is what is called by the hunters, “Ogden's Hole.” It derives this name from the circumstance that a trapper by the name of Ogden concealed himself here from a body of pursuing and hostile Indians, and perhaps perished. I am not sufficiently acquainted with the facts to relate them with accuracy. The romantic interest of the story is doubtless much enhanced by a view of the wild and forbidding spot where its incidents and catastrophe occurred. The ranges of mountains, as we proceeded down the gorge, became more and more elevated, but less precipitous. I noticed, at a height of six or eight hundred feet above the level of the stream, numberless small white fossil shells, from half an inch to an inch in diameter. In places bare of vegetation, the ground was white with these crustaceous remains....


Observing at a distance a party of Indians, whose encampment was some two miles up the valley, coming towards us, we determined to halt for an hour or two, and gather from them such information as we could in reference to the route to the Salt Lake. The first Indians that came up were two men and a small boy. One of the men called himself a Utah, the other a Soshonee or Snake. The Utah appeared to be overjoyed to see us. He was not satisfied with shaking hands, but he must embrace us, which, although not an agreeable ceremony, was submitted to by several of our party. This ceremony being over, he laughed merrily, and danced about as if in an ecstasy of delight in consequence of our appearance. He examined with great curiosity all of our baggage; tried on, over his naked shoulders, several of our blankets, in which costume he seemed to regard himself with great satisfaction. He was, for an Indian, very comical in his deportment and very merry. The number of Indians about our camp soon accumulated to fifteen or twenty, all of whom were Utahs, except the one Snake mentioned, who had married a Utah squaw. A hasty dinner was prepared, and we distributed very sparingly among them (for our stock of provisions is becoming low) something from each dish, with which display of hospitality they appeared to be gratified. Most of these Indians were armed with bows and arrows. There were among them a miserable rifle and musket, which they had evidently procured from Mexican trappers or traders, as, when I inquired of the owner of one of them its name, he pronounced the word carabina. Those who had these guns were desirous that we should wait until they could ride some distance and bring dressed deer or elkskins, which they wished to trade for powder and balls. They were all miserably clothed, some wearing a filthy, ragged blanket, others a shirt and gaiters made of skins, and others simply a breech-cloth of skins. Their countenances, however, were sprightly and intelligent, and several of them were powerfully formed. The result of our inquiries in reference to the route was not satisfactory. The merry old fellow we first met, advised us by signs to go southwest a distance until we struck water, and then go northwest. · Another advised us to return to the small valley, and from thence to pass through the mountains parallel with Weber river. We determined on the latter route, it appearing to be the shortest. Saddling up, we retraced our trail into the small valley, where we were overtaken by the Indians, desirous of trading skins for powder and balls. Several trades were made, generally at the rate of twelve charges of powder, and as many ounce-bullets, for a large elk or deer skin well dressed. We ascended from the valley through a winding and difficult ravine, to the summit of the range of mountains on the west, from which we could see nothing but mountain after mountain, one rising behind another, in the course we designed taking. A halt was called, and Mr. Hudspeth and myself, leaving our party, entered a ravine and followed it down steep declivities, (our mules frequently sliding ten or fifteen feet over bare and precipitous rocks,) with a view of ascertaining the practicability of passing along the bank of the river.


We returned after considerable difficulty to our party, and countermarching, encamped just as the sun was setting, in the small valley so often referred to. There are two Indian lodges near our camp. We visited them, and made exchanges of small articles with the women for parched and pulverized sunflower and grass seeds. Its taste was much like that of parched corn, and agreeable. All the men, women, and children, some eight or ten in number, visited us during the preparation and discussion of our supper, watching with much curiosity and interest the culinary operations and other movements. They were good-natured and sociable, so far as there can be sociability between persons making known their thoughts by vague signs. Our supper to-night, with the exception of bread and coffee, consisted of a stew made of antelope flesh, which, as it happened, was very highly seasoned with pepper. I distributed several plates of this stew among the Indians. They tasted of it, and immediately made most ludicrous grimaces, blowing out and drawing in their breath, as if they had been burnt. They handed back the plates without eating their contents. To satisfy them that we were playing no tricks upon them, which they seemed to suspect, I ate from the same dishes; but they could not be prevailed upon to eat the stew. Coffee, bread, and a small lump of sugar to each was distributed among them, with which they seemed much pleased. The sugar delighted them beyond measure, and they evidently had never seen or tasted of it before. During the visit of these Indians, I noticed the females hunting for the vermin in the heads and on the bodies of their children; finding which, they ate the animals with an apparent relish. I had often heard of this disgusting practice, but this is the first instance of it I have seen. They retired to their lodges about nine o'clock, and so much confidence did we feel in their friendship, that no watch was set for the night.


It is difficult to know exactly which canyon in the Wasatch Range that Bryant's party was in on this date. The marker below is only a guess.