"CIRO Scenic View of Elephant Rock" by Wallace Keck , public domain
City of Rocks
Brochure about the California National Historic Trail (NHT) at City of Rocks National Reserve (NRES) in Idaho. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
California National Historic Trail City of Rocks National Reserve A self-guided journey to discovering the California National Historic Trail at City of Rocks City of Rocks National Reserve is a partnership between the National Park Service and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation California National Historic Trail City of Rocks National Reserve A self-guided journey to discovering A self-guided journey to discovering the California National Historic Trail at City of Rocks Prepared by Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and the National Park Service City of Rocks National Reserve PO Box 169 Almo, Idaho 83312 http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov www.nps.gov/ciro 2015 Contents What’s in store before you explore? There are eight stops, six of which have interpretive signage, along the 10 mile auto route. Introduction Map—Overview Parting of the Ways to the Elba Basin The Almo Valley Twin Sisters in the Distance The Salt Lake Alternate Replica Wagons Wagon Trains Camp Guide Books Trails West Markers Entrance to City of Rocks Trail Ruts First View of Circle Creek Basin Tracy Homestead Camp Rock Treasure Rock Map— Locations of the Waysides and Markers Artists on the Trail Register Rock Pinnacle Pass Ledyard and Margaret Ann Alsip Frink Twin Sisters Salt Lake Alternate-Boise Kelton Stage Route Post Office Granite Pass The Mormon Battalion Life on the Trail Emigrant and Native American Interactions Trouble on the Trail Emigrant Names For Further Study / Credits Bibliography 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 12 13 14 15 16 17 20 21 23 24 27 29 30 32 33 34 35 36 38 39 40 41 42 Introduction City of Rocks National Reserve (Reserve) was established by Congress on November 18, 1988 in order to preserve and protect the significant historical and cultural resources; to manage recreational use; to protect and maintain scenic quality; and to interpret the nationally significant values of the Reserve. The primary significance of the Reserve is the California National Historic Trail and its associated features. These features include the wagon ruts and granite monoliths with signatures as well as the open landscape. This booklet provides information about the California National Historic Trail from Connor Junction at the north end of the Jim Sage Mountains where the California Trail enters the Elba Basin and follows the trail south through the Almo Valley and present day Almo before turning west through the City of Rocks and then continuing west over Granite Pass. Over 240,000 people traveled the California Trail between 18431882 with the heaviest traffic occurring in the years between 1849, the beginning of the Gold Rush and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad on May 10, 1869. After the railroad was completed, traffic on the overland trails diminished. Much of what we know about the journey along the California Trail comes from diaries and journals the emigrants wrote. Journal and diary entries have been included in this booklet to tell the stories of the people, brave and determined, who passed through City of Rocks on the overland road to California. “This journey is only for those who have health and spirit to enjoy and to endure; to those who are unfortunate, it is a chapter of woe.” Elizabeth Cornelia Woodcock Ferris, 1856 3 Map—Overview Why does the Trail go where it goes? This map shows the topography of the area and how it dictated the paths of the trails. Emigrants wanted to take the shortest and most level route with good water and grass for themselves and their stock. At the top right, the trail goes between the Cottrell and Jim Sage mountains. The trail passes through the east side of the Elba Basin, over the Elba-Almo Divide and through the Almo Valley turning west into the City of Rocks through gaps in the east ridge. The outlet at the south end of the City of Rocks is a gap in the south ridge. Granite Pass is a low point in a high mountain range which extends for miles in either direction. Overland Trails City of Rocks National Reserve Castle Rocks State Park ¯ 0 1 2 4 Miles 4 The Parting of the Ways to the Elba Basin The “parting of the ways” refers to the place where the California Trail separates from the Oregon Trail. Just west of where the Oregon Trail crosses the Raft River is where emigrants had to make the decision about their destination. “July 15 … came to Raft River, a small stream that flowed from the mountains on our left. Here the roads fork again, the righthand one turning off northwesterly towards Oregon, while we took the left-hand one, going southwesterly towards California, leaving Snake River, and traveling up Raft River.” Margaret A. Frink, 1850 Emigrants heading to California turned south and followed the Raft River, with the Cotterel Mountains on their right. McClendon Springs, at the base of the Cotterel Mountains, just southwest of present day Malta was a resting stop on the trail. “July 6, ...found a splendid spring that burst out from the base of the Mts, where we found fine grass skirting the margin of the spring branch which...was to my waist and of an excellent quality. It was one mile to the right of the road and had not been discovered by any previous Emegrants. This was truly an Oasis in the desert.” James Pritchard, 1849 The Cotterel Mountains end and the California Trail travels through the gap between the Cotterel and the Jim Sage Mountains (see map on page 4). Emigrants passed through the east side of the Elba Basin, crossed the Elba-Almo Divide and Summit Creek and entered the Almo Valley. The emigrants crossed Grape Creek, Edwards Creek, Almo Creek and several unnamed tributaries in the valley. 5 The Almo Valley The route south through the Elba Basin, over the Elba-Almo Divide and the Almo Valley roughly parallels the current road, Route 77 Spur. Journal entries give us glimpses of the conditions in the Almo Valley; light rain showers in early July and snow lingering on the mountains until late August. “July the 8th was sunday and we laid over and thair was a bout one hundred and seventy packed muels pased by ous and a bout fifty ox wagons this done in one day. I can see a plenty of snow on the mountains. We have no rain of any a Count for som time except two or three shours just a nouf to lay the dust “ Randall Fuller, 1849 “August 26. Sabbath ...We got a late start traveled directly across the valley before us, amidst the best scenery we have seen since we have been among these hills. South, a high range of mountains (Raft River Mountains) speckled with snow.” William Swain, 1849 “August 28. We were all white this morning on awakening, with frost, and my hair being very long, the ends were froze to the saddle and the ground, so that I had to pull it loose, but had to leave some, as a memento for the wolves to examine.” J. Goldsborough Bruff, 1849 The Almo Valley, view south from the Elba-Almo divide. 6 Twin Sisters in the Distance The Twin Sisters were truly a landmark on the California Trail. The formation is visible from the northeast on the California Trail by the wayside exhibit on the Elba Almo divide (above) and from the east on the Salt Lake Alternate (below). The most iconic and often pictured view of the Twin Sisters formation is found on page 30. 7 The Salt Lake Alternate The Salt Lake Alternate of the California Trail begins in Salt Lake City and comes north and east of the Raft River Mountains, turns west, crossing the Upper Raft River Valley, and enters the City of Rocks through Emigrant Canyon. The Salt Lake Alternate meets the main stem of the California Trail inside the Reserve in Junction Valley; the trail then heads west over Granite Pass. Emigrants on the California Trail could see the dust clouds from wagons on the Salt Lake Alternate and vice versa. They would meet at the junction of the trails in the southern part of the Reserve. “Aug. 11 Early start down the valley southward… At 7 miles halted for noon at a run of clear cool water on a stony bed. Had a good bath. Saw numerous trains moving along westward on a trail away to the south of us (Salt Lake Alternate). It must be a good road from Mormon City. It enters a gap in the mountains south of the one our trail enters. “ Bernard J. Reid, 1849 8 Replica Wagons The wagons on display outside the visitor center are replicas of the wagons emigrants used on the California Trail. These wagons have a short wheel base to allow for greater mobility in the mountainous terrain. Imagine packing everything your family would need for several months inside a wagon like this. A typical list included: clothingmoccasins recommended over leather boots, bedding-two blankets, a comforter, a pillow and a ground cloth, arms– a breach loading rifle, a pistol and ammunition, medicine- in the form of opium, quinine, and “cathartic” medicine, cooking Equipment– pots, pans and matches in a watertight container, and food such as flour, bacon, jerky, sugar, coffee, dried beans, rice, and dried fruits and vegetables, salt and pepper. “No useless trumpery should be taken” Joel Palmer, 1847 9 Wagon Trains Emigrants would often see an advertisement or hear about a group of people meeting up to travel west. These “wagon trains” would form up around a leader or leaders with experience on the overland trails. The journey would begin from a jumping off point in the Midwest, like Independence, Saint Louis, or Saint Joseph, Missouri or Council Bluffs, Iowa. Many wagon trains used a system to rotate the lead team like birds in flight or cyclists in races. The first team one day would be the last team in the train the following day. This means each team takes its turn breaking the trail and has relief from the dust. Wagon trains could be very well organized with rules; one such wagon train would leave people behind if they were not in line, ready to go, at 6 am. “Between 12 o’clock and one o’clock the train is halted in the road for the oxen to breathe. ...There is a delay of an hour, during which each person partakes of such refreshment as has been provided for him before leaving camp in the morning.” Edwin Bryant, 1846 10 Camp “The company I was in made it a rule that if they could find a suitable place to camp they would always lay over one day in every week to rest up and do their washing.” David Campbell, 1846 A good campsite had drinkable water and plenty of grass and wood for a fire. Add shelter, shade, and enough water for laundry and a bath and the emigrants would be very pleased. The women and girls would make an evening meal and prepare for the next morning breakfast while the men and boys would tend to the livestock, make repairs to wagons, and occasionally hunt. “There were several instruments among the emigrants, and these sounded clearly on the evening air when camp was made and merry talk and laughter resounded from almost every camp-fire”. Catherine Sager, 1844 11 Guide Books Perhaps before you began your journey to the City of Rocks you looked at a guide book. Many people start their journey by consulting guide books; emigrants on the California Trail were no different. Some guide books were written by veteran travelers such as mountain men, fur trappers, wagon train leaders and soldiers. Some guide books were written by people who never left St. Louis. Guidebooks would advise emigrants on what to pack and what to expect along the trail. One of the available guidebooks was “The Prairie Traveler” written by Captain Randolph B. Marcy and published by the US Army in 1859. “The success of a long expedition through an unpopulated country depends mainly on the care taken of the animals, and the manner in which they are driven, herded, and guarded. If they are broken down or lost, every thing must be sacrificed, and the party becomes perfectly helpless.” p44 Trails West Rail Markers Markers C-6 through C-12 are found near City of Rocks and are in the area covered in this booklet. See maps on pages 4, 21-22. Trails West Inc., is an organization that marks overland trails and published a series of guidebooks. Two books in the series are available at the visitor center in Almo. 12 The Entrance to the City of Rocks Emigrants entered the City of Rocks from the east. The journal entry below indicates there were two paths; one through the canyon and one over the mountain. The gravel road goes “over the mountain” and a hiking trail passes through the canyon. “Thursday July 19th. With charming spirits we renewed our journey this morning. … Three miles we turned again due west, the road passing between two rocky, craggy mountains. The road here for 200 yds. Was rocky in the extreme and tested fully the strength of our wagons. There was the remnants of many laying along this little piece of road, which had split upon these rocks.” Wakeman Byarly, 1849 “[July] 23 drove to Rock creek ten miles thence 7 miles to the head of Cedar Creek which rises in a basin in the mountains– which Basin for its great natural curiosities is called Pyramid Circle ...There are two ways of entrance from the east one through Cedar Creek Cannon the other over the mountain the road at the west end passes through a narrow defile between perpendicular rocks not wide enough for two teams to drive abreast.“ East S. Owen, 1852 13 Trail Ruts There are trail ruts marked with a white marker on Bureau of Land Management property just outside the east entrance of the Reserve. To visit these ruts turn onto the City of Rocks Road and head west 1.6 miles, the ruts are on the right hand side of the road and visible without crossing the barbed wire fence. There are many places along the overland trails where ruts are not visible. The reasons for the lack of ruts in this area are: 1. road development over the trail route as by the east entrance to the Reserve, 2. nooning or camp locations where the wagons spread out and there was not enough confined traffic to create ruts as in the Circle Creek Basin, 3. places where the ruts have been disturbed by plowing in the early 20th century as in the area between Register Rock and Pinnacle Pass. 14 First View of the Circle Creek Basin The first view of the Circle Creek Basin or Pyramid Circle is much the same today as it was for emigrants on the California Trail. “June 22 At noon we encamped near the so-called Monumental rocks. They are a cluster of rocks forming a sort of semi-circle. They rise to a great height and are of a light grey color and look like the ruins of some enormous structure. They are situated in an amphitheatre of mountains, with snow capped summits. The rocks themselves rise out of a little plain covered with velvet sod. A small stream issues from their base and glitters along down the valley. A sort of thin mist hangs in the air, giving a dreamy appearance to the whole scene . . . . All afternoon we travelled along the same valley among rocks of the most singular shapes, some rising to great heights like the spires of churches, others of a more tower like appearance. Encamped on a sage plain near a little creek with tolerable grass. “ William Woodham, 1854 15 The Tracy Homestead The stone building is not from the California Trail period but is nevertheless a source of questions from visitors. The stone ruins at the east edge of the Circle Creek Basin are part of the homestead era (1898-1936). The stone house was built in 1901 by William E. Tracy and purchased by John H. Hull and remodeled in 1909. The house stood empty for many years and burned in 1967. The homestead passed through several owners and is still in private hands. Please respect private property within the Reserve. 16 Camp Rock The emigrants left their signatures on some of the granite monoliths along the trail. “Monday August 9th. Traveled eight miles when we entered Pyramid Circle. This is one of the greatest curiosities on the road. ...These pyramids are of various colors. The sides have been washed by the rains in all manner of fantastic shapes, giving the place a most romantic and picturesque appearance. ...The circle is five miles long and three miles wide, level within the wall around and entirely surrounded by these pyramids or cliffs except an inlet at the east end of about fifty yards , and an outlet at the western end just wide enough to permit the wagons to pass through. The rocks are covered as far up as one can reach or climb, with names of emigrants. We left ours with a date in a conspicuous place for the boys behind. We saw the names of some of our acquaintances who passed here two years ago. “ Eliza Ann McAuley, 1852 See a list of names at: www.nps.gov\ciro\peopleandculture 17 Camp Rock—East Face This inscription is not from the California Trail Period but most likely from the early 20th century. The inscription reads: Attention Please We the mixed bloods of the Clear Creek Reservation wish to….. Chief Rain in the Face who lives at the City of Rocks Chief Rain in the Face (1835-1905) was from the Lakota nation. He fought in battles with the U.S. Cavalry between 1866-1876 and most notably against General Custer at Little Big Horn. His home territory was the northern plains, it is unlikely he ever visited City of Rocks. Rain in the Face’s reputation as a villain came from a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow titled “Revenge of Rain in the Face.” In the poem, Rain in the Face cuts the heart out of General Custer. The But the foemen fled in the night, seventh stanza of the And Rain-in-the-Face, in his flight, poem is reproduced here Uplifted high in air (right). Rain in the Face, As a ghastly trophy, bore in fact, did not cut out The brave heart, that beat no more, General Custer’s heart. Of the White Chief with yellow hair. 18 Camp Rock— Ida Fullinwider Ida Fullinwider was born in Washington Township in Anderson County, Kansas in January of 1865, about 70 miles southwest of Kansas City. Samuel and Amanda (her parents) were farmers and in 1880 “kept hotel.” Ida was 16 when she was here on July 12, 1881. It seems Ida did not remain in California for long. The marriage records show Ida married J.W. Carroll on October 1, 1885 in Colony Kansas, not far from where she was born. Ida is buried in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake City and the cause of death listed was “complications of paralysis.” Ida was 22 when she died. We do not know the cause of Ida’s paralysis. One man wrote “Wife Wanted” and drew his profile on Camp Rock in hopes of creating a family when he reached California. 19 Treasure Rock Standing next to Treasure Rock offers a view of the entire Circle Creek Basin. Emigrants camped on the south edge of the basin and allowed livestock to drink water from Circle Creek and graze on its banks. “We camped in a large bason soon after we got through the Pass, grass is tolerable good but not much water thear is a number of springs but the water sinks after running a few feet Jerome shot three grouse this afternoon this is the first fresh meat that we have had for a long time they are good eating. “ Joseph Hackney, 1849 “Aug. 19 At eve we encamped in Pyramid Circle, a delightful place indeed and one which requirs the pen of the poet or the pencil of a painter to portray its beauties. It is a perfectly level plain, surrounded by mountains which are covered with pine and cedar trees and studded throughout with numerous tall white and green stones from sixty to one hundred and fifty feet and from ten to twenty feet in diameter at the base. As we view it this eve, the full moon shining upon it, our camp fires blazing near and striving, with their lurid light, to vie with the silvery moon in brightness. Our tents and wagons grouped together and a merry party tripping the light fantastic toe upon the green, whose cheerful, happy voices echo from the hills around us, presents a scene altogether picturesque and novel.” Harriet Sherrill Ward, 1853 20 Locations of Waysides and Markers Almo Artists on the Trail Some emigrants sketched and painted scenes from the trail. James F. Wilkins, and J. Goldsborough Bruff are well known artists who sketched and painted the scenery along the trail. “We encamped at the City of Rocks, a noted place from the granite rocks rising abruptly out of the ground. They are in a romantic valley clustered together, which gives them the appearance of a city.” James Wilkins, 1849 Unfortunately, none of Wilkins sketches or paintings from the City of Rocks are known to survive; however, we do have sketches from J. Goldsborough Bruff. “August 29. When we entered a very extraordinary valley, called the "City of Castles." … A group, on left of the trail, resembled gigantic fungii, petrified, other clusters were worn in cells and caverns; and one, which contrasted with the size and h[e]ight of the adjacent rocks, seemed no larger than a big chest, was, to my astonishment, when close to it, quite large, hollow, with an arch'd entrance, and capable of containing a dozen persons. This, from its peculiar shape, I named the Sarcophagus Rock." J. Goldsborough Bruff, 1849 23 Register Rock— Daniel Tickner Signatures are found on all faces of Register Rock, but the most readable ones are on the west face. D. Tickner and A. Freeman are displayed prominently on Register Rock. Daniel Tickner traveled to California three times in 10 years. The signature is from his first trip in 1850. Read more about Daniel’s extraordinary travels at: www.nps.gov\ciro\peopleandculture. Daniel and Mary Wood Tickner resided in California for the rest of their lives. Daniel passed away on October 8, 1906 at the age of 94 and Mary was 85 when she died on April 30,1909. 24 Register Rock—Henry Keck Henry Keck and his brother Joseph Keck traveled to California from Iowa. Henry wrote his name on Register Rock and Joseph Keck kept a journal. On July 18th the team reached the desert of northern Nevada. Like many others, they lightened their load by dropping off every item that was not a complete necessity; Joseph remarked on the array of items cast off along the trail throughout the desert: “…the West half of the desert is strewn with all manner of plunder that has been thrown away to lighten up the loads; wagons that were abandoned to pack through[,] casks[,] tents[,] log chains, guns[,] even clothing.” Joseph A. Keck, 1851 Henry Keck’s Signature on Register Rock (Left). A photograph of Henry Keck (right). The final resting place of Henry Keck in Iowa. Henry died in July of 1918 at the age of 94 (far right). 25 Register Rock—C.S. Peck & Lady Charles S. Peck was born in 1834 in Buffalo, New York. Charles’ brothers, James and John, headed to California in 1849, and Charles followed in 1852. They settled in the vicinity of the Merced River in Merced County, joined in 1853 by Frank, another brother. Charles is reported to have built the first stone building in Snelling, California. He moved to Mariposa County, where he mined for six years before heading back to New York in 1859. Upon returning to New York, he married Adeline Cook, and they had a son named James who was born in January of 1860 in Buffalo, NY. A few months after James was born, the Pecks headed back to California, settling in Snelling once again. It was on this second trip, in 1860, that Peck signed his name. Perhaps “Lady” is a nickname for Adeline? The following year, Adeline gave birth to a daughter, Jessie and in 1865, another daughter, Lydia; followed five years later by Addie. Charles died in 1903 in Merced, California and Adeline lived in Oakland with her daughter Lydia until her death 1920. 26 27 Pinnacle Pass John Goldsborough Bruff sketched Pinnacle Pass in 1849 Pinnacle Pass Pinnacle Pass is a narrow gap in a ridge of rock at the southern end of the City of Rocks; see photo and sketch on the following page. Emigrants made note of Pinnacle Pass. “Thursday July 19. Four miles brought us to the coming in of the Mormon Road. Half mile before striking it we passed through a narrow pass of rock, just wide enough for the wagons, & which evidently has been made by some adventurers before us.” Wakeman Byarly, 1849 “July 27. As we approach the summit of one of the principal ridges our progress appeared to be opposed by a solid wall of granite but a narrow opening was soon discovered through which air was driven with such violence as almost to force us back. The passage was barely sufficient for a road.” William North Steuben, 1849 Please respect private property within the Reserve. If you wish to visit Pinnacle Pass, request a ranger led tour. 28 Ledyard Frink and Margaret Ann Alsip Frink In 1897 Mr. Frink published Margaret’s journal under the title “Journal of the adventures of a party of California Gold Seekers”. Ledyard Frink Margaret A. Frink Margaret’s journal provides a glimpse into the reason they traveled to California. Her journal reads … “where we continued to live very pleasantly till 1844, when we made up our minds to try our fortunes father west.” The couple settled in Indiana ..”But we were not yet satisfied. The exciting news coming back from California of the delightful climate and abundance of gold, caused us to resolve, about December, 1849, that we would commence preparing to travel cross the plains by the spring of 1850.” Although neither Frink left their name on a rock, Margaret’s words leave little doubt she passed through the City of Rocks. “Wednesday, July 17. ...During the forenoon we passed through a stone village composed of huge isolated rocks of various and singular shapes, some resembling cottages, others steeples and domes. It is called “City of Rocks”, but I think the name “Pyramid City” more suitable. It is a sublime, strange, and wonderful scene—one of nature’s most interesting works.” According to the 1860 census, the Frinks were living with their 11 year old adopted son, Robb P. Frink in Sacramento . Mr. Wilson, Robb’s uncle and guardian, agreed to allow Robb to travel from Indiana to California, as Robb was very attached to the Frinks. 29 Twin Sisters Journal entries often comment on these spires, naming them as a landmark on the California Trail. “June 22. There were so many rocks both here and where we camped last night that might answer the description and the name, we had no little difficulty for a time in determining which was Steeple Rock. The last two rocks, however, as we passed out of the valley, seemed pre-eminently entitled to the appellation. They rise in a cone like form from the bottom of the valley to a height of from 400-600 feet; they are round and quite regular in form tapering gradually to a point. Opposite these two rocks the Salt Lake Road comes in through another valley eight miles from where we first saw it.” Lorenzo Sawyer, 1850 30 Twin Sisters The Twin Sisters were named in 1848 by Addison Pratt, (right) a member of the Mormon Battalion. “Sept. 15. City of Rocks 15 miles. They reached a chain of mountains with two towering rocks on the left. Addison Pratt called them the Twin Sisters. This place was known as the City of Rocks. They continued seven miles, leaving the old Fort Hall road. When they reached the Hensley Cutoff, they found only a pack trail. There were no wagon tracks and they realized they were making a new wagon road through the sage brush and boulders. They camped at the headwaters of Cassia Creek (Raft River). Everyone was in good spirits. John Borrowman suffered greatly from an infected ankle and leg, which he had scratched on the bushes and a poisonous vine.” Homes-Thompson Company, 1848 “July 10 traveled 23 miles. Passed Steeple Rocks early in the morning and came to the junction of the Fort Hall and Salt Lake roads. Soon after passing Steeple Rocks came to Goose Creek. Traveled up the creek four miles and camped. Ice in camp this morning. Grass good.” Orange Gaylord, 1850 “April 23. Last eve went to City rocks. They are at the junction of the California and Salt Lake roads. They are white & about 300 ft high running up to a peak. They are composed of a substance resembling salts & are in a state of decomposition. A few more years & then will be leveled with the ground. They look at a distance like a ruined city.” Lucena Parsons, 1851 Lucena Parsons and her party wintered in Salt Lake City. 31 Salt Lake Alternate — Boise-Kelton Road The Salt Lake Alternate was blazed by the Mormon Battalion in the fall of 1948 on their return from California after the war with Mexico. The Battalion followed the California Trail east until they reached Emigrant Canyon where they headed across the Upper Raft River Valley and then turned south east of the Raft River Mountains. In the spring of 1849, news of gold in California caused a flood of gold seekers to rush to California along the established trails and the newly established Salt Lake road. The Salt Lake Alternate was re-established as part of the BoiseKelton stage coach route. A stage station was established within the Reserve boundaries and abandoned by 1883. The building no longer stands but this photograph taken by Savage and Ottinger from Salt Lake City circa 1861 shows what the station looked like. The property was homesteaded in 1911 by Joseph Moon. Mr. Moon is reported to have dismantled the stage station to build his home and associated outbuildings. Photo Courtesy of Sutton Family Please respect private property within the Reserve. If you wish to visit this site, request a ranger led tour. 32 Post Office The area described as the “post office” was at the junction of the California Trail and the Salt Lake Alternate. Imagine the hundred or more sticks with papers fluttering in the breeze. “July 23. I came to the junction of the roads, where there were many sticks set up, having slips of paper in them, with the names of passengers, and occasionally letters to emigrants still behind.” A. Delano, 1849 “[July] 24 Drove one mile down the mountain to the junction of the Great Salt Lake & California roads at the junction of the roads we passed a "post office". I dont know what else to call it- and it must have a name– a hundred or more little sticks sticking in the ground with the upper ends split & papers & letters stuck in & directed in the usual manner and every man his own post master walks up & examining the superscription & if it is his he takes it out– if not he leaves it and goes along about his Business … good road for ten miles then rough & mountainous for eight miles to goose creek grass good water b[r]ackish.” East S. Owen, 1852 33 Granite Pass Granite pass is not the highest pass on the California Trail but it is the steepest descent until the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The east slope, has a rise of 1,110 feet over 5.5 miles, a 4 percent slope but the west side is much more dramatic and treacherous. There are numerous journal entries about this difficult descent. “Aug. 12 Some very bad pitches to descend; had to let our wagons down by ropes. Dust very bad and grass all gone to California. Sutton and his wife drove two yoke of oxen. They quarreled, cut the wagon box in two and made two carts. Each took one yoke of oxen and had a divorce right there without judge or jury, or even a lawyer.” George J. Kellogg, 1849 “June 22 From the summits of these mountains we had a wide view of a most wild, rugged, broken and remarkable country…. We now descended a long and tedious mountain to Goose river. The descent is generally gradual but in many places steep and difficult. One place we were obliged to rope down; the descent occupied two and a half hours.” Lorenzo Sawyer, 1850 34 Granite Pass—Journal Entries “August 14, Passed the junction in the fore noon. Ironed. No water except a small puddle to wash hands in. From the time we struck the junction till we encamped we saw 7 dead cattle. Saw 8 or 9 more dead cattle. Awful roads, hilly 5 miles decent, the last hill being steep & dangerous. Emigrants need to let wagons down by ropes wound around alder trees at the top of the hill. A mountain stream runs below as cold as ice water. In