24
YELLOWSTONE EXPEDITION OF 1870
a heavy snow-storm set in, which continued at intervals throughout the next day.

Twenty-second day -- September 12. -- To-day parties wen out in couples on the search. Messrs. Smith and Trumbull followed the lake shore around the head of the promontory to within sight of our previous camp. They returned in the evening and reported having seen human footsteps in the sands of the beach. Mr. Smith was positive he saw several Indians on foot, who retreated into the woods on being approached. They were probably white men, as a man was met in the neighborhood a few days afterward who stated that he belonged to a small party in the vicinity. In the middle of this promontory is one lake of considerable size, and at a high elevation above that of the Yellowstone. Messrs. Washburn and Langford took a southerly direction toward the base of the Yellow Mountain, for a distance of eleven miles. They saw from the divide the lake from which Snake River issues, also a small lake at an elevation of 800 feet above it. Beyond this divide they became entangled in an immense swampy brimstone basin, miles in extent, abounding in sulphur springs, small geysers, and steam jets. The ground was covered with tufa, or calcareous deposits in a thin scale, overlying hot white mud. Mr. Langford's horse broke through several times, coming back plastered with the white substance and badly scalded. They were unable to penetrate to the lake on account of the instability of the footing.

Twenty-third day September 13. -- The snowy weather continued with intervals of hail and rain; large fires were kept up, and the search continued. I rode around the head of the lake to the steam jets visible from camp; this was the largest system we had yet seen, located at the extreme point of the most westerly arm of the lake, and on a gentle slope, reaching along the shore for a mile, and extending back into the woods for the same distance; this system embraced every variety of hot water and mud springs seen thus far on the route, with many other heretofore unseen. Four hundred yard from the lake shore is a basin of mud having a bright pink color; this is a system of itself, being 70 feet in diameter, and projecting thick mud through small craters of a conical shape around the edge of the basin, while the center is one seething mass. The deposit speedily hardens into a firm, laminated clay stone, of beautiful texture, though the brilliant pink color fades to a chalky white. Near and around this basin are a dozen springs, from 6 to 25 feet across, boiling muddy water of paint-like consistency, in colors varying from a pure white to a dark yellow; them come several flowing springs, from 10 to 50 feet in diameter, of clear, hot water, the basins and channels of which were lined with deposits of red, green, yellow, and black, giving them an appearance of gorgeous splendor; these deposits were too friable to preserve, crumbling at the touch. The bright colors were on the surface of the rock only, not extending to it interior. Below these were several large craters of bluish water impregnated with sulphate of copper; these boiled to the height of two feet in the center and flowed large streams of water; their rims were raised a few inches, in a delicate rocky margin of a fringe-like appearance, deposited from the water. Beyond these are two lakes of purple water, hot, but not boiling; these give deposits of great delicacy of coloring. Near by are two more bluestone springs, the largest we have yet seen; one, 30 by 40 feet and of temperature 173, flows a stream into the other one about 70 feet distant, and six feet lower; this latter spring is 40 by 75 feet, temperature 183; a stream of 100 inches of water flows from it. The craters of these springs are of calcareous stalagmite, and lined with  Go to next page



Go back to Yellowstone Historical Almanac
Go back to Yellowstone History Guide
Go back to The Magic of Yellowstone front 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