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

By Marlene Deahl Merrill | Go to book overview

6
To Tower Falls, Lower Falls, Yellowstone Cañon, and Yellowstone Lake

MONDAY, JULY 24

I was on guard this morning herding the horses from half past 1 to 4 A.M. when I came in and woke Steve and Dan, turned in and got about an hour's sleep. After breakfast I helped the Doctor pack some specimens which Henry Greve and I carried over to the ranche on horseback. When we got back to camp they were just about moving out.

The first part of our course lay down hill and across two rapid creeks at one of which one of the packs became loose and I helped fix it again. We soon began to ascend and followed a small creek [ Lava Creek] up the gorge on the side of a mountain the rocks of which were sandstones capped with a huge layer of basalt, fragments of which were strewn over the side of the mountain and along our trail.1 After a ride of about 4 miles we came to a place where the capping extends across the gorge forming an abrupt perpendicular wall broken only at one side opposite that on which we were. Here the water rushes down forming a beautiful fall [ Undine Falls] half hidden by the forest of pines. Ascending upon this platform of basalt and looking back the scene was grand.

Great Mountains in all directions, most of them rounded in form, others, rising in sharp peaks, formed the background, while in the foreground, far beneath us, lay the valley through which we had just passed. The central feature of the scene was the Hot Spring we had just left. Turning around, the scene in front was entirely different. Instead of the grandeur we had just been looking at, we gazed upon low rolling hills covered with beautiful verdure with here and there scattered trees, principally pines [ Blacktail Deer Plateau].2 It reminded us of Pennsylvania fields. All that was wanting to complete the picture was houses, barns and fences.

____________________
Panorama 6. Mouth of Tower Creek, Baronett's Bridge, foot of Grand Canyon, and East Fork of the Yellowstone, July 24-28

-132-

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