Yellowstone and the Great West: Journals, Letters, and Images from the 1871 Hayden Expedition

By Marlene Deahl Merrill | Go to book overview

4
To Virginia City and Fort Ellis
Montana Territory

SATURDAY, JULY 1

Allen

Got an early start, and although I was not feeling very well, as a consequence perhaps of drinking too much cold water after my exertion yesterday and loss of sleep, yet I commenced my horseback ride in good spirits and enjoyed the kaleidoscopic changes of scenery on our route exceedingly. The latter part of the way I rode in the ambulance and came into camp after 23 miles of travel with a blinding headache. These nervous headaches will be the disappointment of my hopes, I fear, and compel me to turn back. They seem to me to result in part from constipation -- my daily trouble -- and in part from unavoidable exposure to extra heat by day, or cold by night, or currents of air at all times. The fact is I am too old and infirm for such a mode of life, and it was folly in me to undertake it. I trust, for the sake of the anxious and waiting ones at home, that I may live through it.

For myself, if it were the Lord's will, permanent release would be sweet to me. "Thy will be done."

We have left the stage road for a shorter route to Virginia City -- 40 to 50 miles.1 [Camped near a divide, or summit, between two valleys. The rocks nearby are massive gneiss standing out boldly from the hills. On our route today we passed immense hills of basalt on our right. There was also much white [oölitic] limestone in the hills flanking the valleys and in most cases capped with conglomerates. Gathered and pressed flowers and found a species of Lymnea shell in the brook near our camp.]2

____________________
Panorama 4. Nevada City, Alder Gulch, Virginia City, and descent into the Madison Valley, July 4-6

-95-

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