Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Willam Clayton Journals

July 16, 1847

Location: Weber River Ford - 41 miles left, Utah - (4 rods wide, 2 feet deep. Good to ford. Plenty of grass and timber.) [Close by are the "Witches" rock formations, Echo Canyon, and at one time at the mouth of the canyon, "Pulpit Rock."] - 990 miles from Winter Quarters.

Summary: The Pioneers trek through the narrow Mountain Passes before they reach Weber Canyon.

Journal entry: FRIDAY, 16TH. This morning we have had two pleasant showers accompanied by pretty loud thunder. At 8:45, we proceeded onward, passing through a narrow ravine between very high mountains. After traveling one and a quarter miles passed a deep ravine, where most of the teams had to double to get through. One - half mile farther crossed the creek and found the crossing place very bad. Harvey Pierce broke his wagon reach and bolster. The wagon had to be unloaded, but with little delay was soon repaired, during which time a number of the brethren fixed a new place to cross the creek. After passing this place, following the course of the creek, the mountains seem to increase in height, and come so near together in some places as to leave merely room enough for a crooked road.

At half past twelve we halted to feed, having traveled six and three - quarters miles and are yet surrounded by high mountains. As we halted, 0. P. Rockwell came up from Elder Pratt's company. He reports that it is about twenty - five or thirty miles to the canyon. They have found the road leading over the mountains to avoid the canyon and expect to be on top today at noon.

The day is pleasant with a nice breeze. Grass plentiful and pretty high, but no timber yet, except small cedar on the sides of the mountains. Numerous springs of clear water all along the base of the mountains. During the halt two of the brethren went to the top of the mountain on the north of the camp. They looked like babes in size.

At 1:40, we proceeded onward and found the pass between the mountains growing narrower, until it seemed strange that a road could ever have been made through. We crossed a creek a number of times, and in several places found the crossing difficult. After proceeding a few miles, we saw patches of oak shrubbery though small in size. In the same place and for several miles there are many patches or groves of the wild currant, hop vines, alder and black birch. Willows are abundant and high. The currants are yet green and taste most like a gooseberry, thick rind and rather bitter. The hops are in blossom and seem likely to yield a good crop. The elder-berries, which are not very plentiful, are in bloom. In some places we had to pass close to the foot of high, perpendicular red mountains of rock supposed to be from six hundred to a thousand feet high.

At a quarter to seven we formed our encampment, having traveled this afternoon nine and a half miles. and during the day sixteen and a quarter. We are yet enclosed by high mountains on each side, and this is the first good camping place we have seen since noon, not for lack of grass or water, but on account of the narrow gap between the mountains. Grass is pretty plentiful most of the distance and seems to grow higher the farther we go west. At this place the grass is about six feet high, and on the creek eight or ten feet high. There is one kind of grass which bears a head almost like wheat and grows pretty high, some of it six feet.

There is a very singular echo in this ravine, the rattling of wagons resembles carpenters hammering at boards inside the highest rocks. The report of a rifle resembles a sharp crack of thunder and echoes from rock to rock for some time. The lowing of cattle and braying of mules seem to be answered beyond the mountains. Music, especially brass instruments, have a very pleasing effect and resemble a person standing inside the rock imitating every note. The echo, the high rocks on the north, high mountains on the south with the narrow ravine for a road, form a scenery at once romantic and more interesting than I have ever witnessed.

Soon after we camped, I walked up the highest mountain on the south. The ascent is so steep that there is scarce a place to be found to place the foot flat and firm, and the visitor is every moment, if he makes the least slip or stumbles, in danger of being precipitated down to the bottom. Once overbalanced, there is no possibility of stopping himself till he gets to the bottom, in which case he would doubtless be dashed to pieces. After resting about half a dozen times I arrived it the top and found the ascent equally steep all the way up. In many places I had to go on my hands and feet to keep from falling backwards. From this mountain I could see the fork of Weber River about a mile west of the camp; looking back I could see the road we had come for several miles, but in every other direction nothing but ranges of mountains still as much higher than the one I was on as it is above the creek. The scenery is truly wild and melancholy.

After surveying the face of the country a little while, I began to descend and found the task much more difficult than ascending, but by using great care and taking time, I got down without accident a little before dark. Solomon Chamberlain broke his forward axle tree about two miles back. A wagon was unloaded and sent back to fetch him tip. He is yet very sick.

Source: William Clayton's Journal

Published by the Clayton Family Association, and edited by Lawrence Clayton. To the best of our research, this contents of this book are no longer under copyright.