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

William Clayton Journals

July 21, 1847

Location: Summit of last ridge - 11 miles left, Utah - ["Little Mountain"]. (The descent is very steep, all the way, till you arrive on the banks of Last ["Emigration"] Creek.) - 1020 1/4 miles from Winter Quarters.

Summary: The Pioneers travel through the steep and narrow mountain gap.

Journal entry: WEDNESDAY, 21ST. We started onward at half past six; the morning fine and pleasant. We crossed the creek once more and about a half a mile from where we camped, the road turns to the right leaving the creek and ascending the mountains gradually. Much time was necessarily spent cutting down stumps, heaving out rocks and leveling the road. It is an exceedingly rough place. There are several springs at the foot of the mountain and one a mile from the top which runs above the ground a little distance, then sinks under again. The last half mile of the ascent is very steep and the nearer the top the steeper it grows. There is considerable timber up this gap but mostly destroyed by fire. We saw a prairie pheasant while going tip and some wild gooseberries.

At eleven o'clock, the teams began to arrive on the dividing ridge and in less than an hour, all were safely up. From this ridge we can see an extensive valley to the west but on every other side high mountains, many of them white with snow. It seems as though a few hours travel might bring us out from the mountains on good road again. We halted on the ridge a little while and then prepared to descend, many locking both hind wheels, a precaution not at all unnecessary. We found the road down exceedingly steep and rendered dangerous by the many stumps of trees left standing in the road. The brethren cut tip many of them which delayed us much. About a mile down is a bridge formed of small trees laid one on another to fill up a deep ravine. It is steep on both sides and here Joseph Rooker turned his wagon over, however, without much damage. A mile and a half from the top is a spring and small stream of very good cold water where we halted to let teams drink. This would make a tolerably good camp ground in case of necessity.

After this, the road is not so steep but is very rough and winds between high hills or mountains through willows and brush wood and over soft places, crossing the creek a number of times. At four and a half miles from the top of the ridge, we arrived at a good spring of cold water, plenty of grass and a good place to camp. Our teams have now been in the harness about ten hours without eating and the feeling of many was to stay here, but some wanted to go on and we continued. Turning suddenly to the right a little below this spring we began to ascend another high ridge and while ascending some of the teams began to fail. There are a great many service berries on this ridge growing on what we supposed to be wild apple trees. The berries are good and rich when ripe. The descent from this ridge is not nearly so steep as the other one, yet many locked both hind wheels. After descending, we found another small creek and a very rough road again.

At 7:30, we formed our encampment near the creek, having traveled fourteen miles in thirteen hours. There is but little grass here and a poor chance for cattle. Orson Pratt's company are camped a half a mile ahead of us and our camp was formed by Colonel Markham. He says they have had many new cases of sickness but mostly getting better. The cannon is left back on the other side of the mountains. About a mile back from this place there is a small grove of sugar maple and considerable other timber along the creek. There are also beds of nice green bushes in several places.

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.