that he had no means of providing himself with food. During the snow-storm
he got along by building a shelter of pine boughs over a warm spring.
For forty days he lived on roots, and two minnows, which he caught in his
hat. He tried to eat grasshoppers, but he found their jumping propensities
were not confined to a living state; for he had no sooner swallowed one
than it cleared his throat with a bound. It was weeks after his rescue
before he fully recovered his strength. His escape from a terrible
death was almost marvelous.
Our last camp on the lake was near the extremity
of the south-west arm. Close by us was a collection of warm springs--the
largest, most numerous, varied, and peculiar which we had then discovered.
Several were from fifty to eighty feet in length, by from twenty to fifty
in width. The water was generally clear, and of great depth.
All were hot, but of different temperatures. Around the larger ones
the ground was marshy, and largely composed of a reddish earth, which looked
like wet brick-dust. A number of hot streams flowed from these springs
into the lake. the lake-shore was covered with a subsilica, broken
into small pieces, and washed smooth by the action of the waves.
Many of these pieces were pure and white as alabaster. Many of the
smaller springs were mud-springs, boiling and spluttering incessantly.
These were generally a few feet below the surface, and encased in clay
banks. They emitted a strong sulphurous smell, which rendered a close
examination rather disagreeable. Several springs were in solid rock,
within a few feet of the lake-shore. Some of them extended far out
underneath the lake; with which, however, they had no connection.
The lake water was quite cold, and that of these springs exceedingly hot.
They were remarkably clear, and the eye could penetrate a hundred feet
into their depths, which to the human vision appeared bottomless.
A gentleman was fishing from one of the narrow isthmuses, or shelves of
rock, which divided one of these hot springs from the lake, when, in swinging
a trout ashore, it accidentally got off the hook and fell into the spring.
For a moment it darted about with wonderful rapidity, as if seeking an
outlet. Then it came to the top, dead, and literally boiled.
It died within a minute of the time it fell into the spring.
On the 17th of September, the party left Lake Yellowstone
for home, by way of the Madison River. Our immediate objective point
was a small lake, in which the Fire Hole River, the main branch of the
Madison, has its source. This was supposed to be about twelve miles
west of us. In crossing the divide we found that the snow-storm had
been general; bout two feet of snow still remaining. We failed to
find the lake, but finally camped in the snow, on a small stream running
to the south, probably into the lake. The mountains were everywhere
thickly timbered. Nearly all the trees had great lumps, like hornets'-nests,
upon their trunks. They were generally large, but scraggy and irregular,
and wholly unlike the tall, straight pines of the Sierras. It is
said that a long time before I could conceive the utility of a forest so
vast in a locality so remote and inaccessible. It was suggested to
me by a comrade that the trees protected the snow, preventing it from all
melting at once during the first warm days of spring, and thereby producing
a freshet destructive of every thing in its wake. I can think of
no other reason for their creation.
The following day we traveled north-west, and soon
reached the Fire Hole River. After passing by a fine cascade--which
we stopped but a short time to examine--we forded the river, and camped
about noon in the midst of the most Go
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