Barometer, 22.50; thermometer, 44°; elevation, 7,714 3/5 feet.
This point affords a fine view of the lake. A strong wind from the west had been blowing all day, and the waves rolled in to the height of four feet. The beach here is of volcanic gravel mixed with calcareous shales, among which we found many beautiful specimens of colored rock crystals and petrefactions. The climate and vegetable growths of the Great Basin are strikingly different from those of the surrounding country. The summer, though short, is quite warm, notwithstanding the elevation of the district. Rains are frequent in the spring months, and the atmosphere is comparatively moist. All the grasses grow rank, and are not of the seeded varieties common to the country, being green and luxuriant, when the lower valleys are parched by the sun. Ferns, huckleberries, thimbleberries, and other products of a damp climate abound, all being of diminutive growth. It is a miniature Oregon in vegetable productions, the pines being about the height of those on the East Virginia shore, and other growths lessened in proportion. Mosquitoes and gnats are said to be numerous in the early summer, but we saw none at all. The snows of winter are very heavy, but the cold is not sever for such an altitude. Doubtless the internal heat and immense amount of hot vapor evolved, exert a powerful agency in moderating the rigor of the climate. The basin would not be a desirable place for winter residence. The only two men I have been able to find who ever wintered there, both came out affected with goitres in the spring. It is a disease very common among the Mountain crows, many of the old squaws having enormous growth of the tumors, filling the whole space from the chin to the breast.
Sixteenth day -- September 6. -- We broke camp at 10:30, bearing eastward over the ridges for an hour, then turning south into an open valley, through which runs quite a stream of yellow sulphur-water, heading in the mountain range close by. On the slope of this range, covering an area of three square miles, is the formation known as Brimstone Basin. The whole lower range of the slope for that space is covered with masses of either blue clay or yellow calcareous deposit, perforated by millions of minute orifices, through which sulphur vapor escapes, subliming in masses around the vents. These brimstone basins are numerous, and many of them miles in extent. They are generally found on the lower slopes of mountains, or at the foot of bluffs, but frequently occur in level districts. The latter class are always wet, and generally impassable, the crust of the earth being very thin, with a whitish mass of soft mud beneath -- the most dangerous marsh imaginable. Several of our horses were scalded by breaking through in passing over such places.
From this valley our route was greatly obstructed
by fallen timber, obliging us to follow the lake shore whenever practicable,
and this was often miry, being a bed of soft clay, covered with coarse
lava pebbles, growing larger in size as we advanced. In the afternoon we
to next page
|Page 1||Page 2||Page 3||Page 4||Page 5||Page 6||Page 7||Page 8||Page 9||Page 10|
|Page 11||Page 12||Page 13||Page 14||Page 15||Page 16||Page 17||Page 18||Page 19||Page 20|
|Page 21||Page 22||Page 23||Page 24||Page 25||Page 26||Page 27||Page 28||Page 29||Page 30|
|Page 31||Page 32||Page 33||Page 34||Page 35||Page 36||Page 37||Page 38||Page 39||Page 40|