Lingren, John, John Lingren Tells His Story, 4-5.
Trail excerpt transcribed from "Pioneer History Collection" available at Pioneer Memorial Museum [Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum], Salt Lake City, Utah. Some restrictions apply.
We stayed here among the hills and hazel brush for little over two weeks when Camptain Sanders with his Mountain Boys gathered us up and started us across the plains. Here on this journey our trials and patience commenced and through hardships which were mostly born with joy of in Utah. Regain our reward. We struck out now for good, traveled some 25 miles a day, once in a while we had to ford a stream, the men would wade across while the women would wait for their wagons and ride across and here we would camp for the night. Chuck cherries and currents were plentiful. Rations were served out consisting of bacon and flour and some soda to make the bread light. I was selected as assistant commissary to deal out the same twice a week. I also tried my hand at bull whacking where the road was good. As soon as we arrived in Laramie plains we beheld buffalo in several directions but too far off to shoot at. Antelopes were plentiful and many were killed. Buffalo chips (the excrete of Buffalo) often was used as fuel and made our fires along the Platte. It burns like turf when dry. We often on our journey found human skulls and bones, the bones of animals were scattered along the road on both sides.
Signs of the vast immigration that had traveled the road before us was seen right and left. Pararie fires had blackened the country for miles so that feed for cattle was scant, otherwise the grass was belly deep over the whole country. Approaching Laramie the country became more broken, here and there small herds of buffalo were grazing upon the hills and in the valleys. It was a new experience.
From the hills near the road the prospect was often very extensive and beautiful. There was wild weird romance about the country like some dream, some imaginary scene materialized. During the evenings the sound of music in different parts of the camp seems strangely harmonious with the almost deathlike solitude of these uninhabited regions. At this time game was plentiful, buffalo, deer, antelope, geese and ducks. Rattlesnakes were numerous. They inhabited the prarie dog villages. We crossed rattlesnake Creek, Crab Creek and passed Chimney Rock.
Our motto was forward, onward and we did advance briskly. We soon arrived at Sweet Water River, crossed a salaratus lake and several bushels were gathered by the teamsters and taken along to Utah. We camped at Devils Gate for the night. I will here endeavor to give a description of the beautiful country, as I had a brother who died and was buried there September 13, 1864, whose bones were dug up and carried off by the wolves. Let this be as it may, he died a faithful member of the Latter Day Saint Church and was obeying the commandment to gather to Zion. His most wish was to see the City of Salt Lake that he might be buried there when he died. He also prayed that he might live long enough to have a talk with me, I having emmigrated the year before and lived in Fort Ephr[i]am Sanpete County, Utah. He died at the age of 17 years, 7 months, 10 days. He was tall and slim in stature, of light complexion. He was baptized when he was 14 years old.
Devils Gate Rock is two perpendicular walls found by measurement to be four hundred feet above the river, which runs thru a chasm one thousand feet in length, and one hundred thirty feet in breadth. In this chasm the water tumbles and foams with the noise of a cataract over massive fragments of rock which have fallen from above. This valley of the Sweet Water is from five to ten miles in breadth. Bounded on the north and south by mountain ridges, isolated hills and rugged summits of massive granit varying from twelve hundred to two thousand feet in height. The Wind River chain of mountains in the distance north of the road exhibit their towering peaks whitened by perpetual snow which glittering in the sunbeams resembles white fleecy clouds. Independence Rock is about one mile above on the left.
In continuing our travels, we came to the south pass two 100 and 75 miles from Fort Laramie. The elevation of the altitude above the sea is 7,088 feet. This is a dividing point of land which separated the waters flowing into the Pacific, from those flowing into the Atlantic. Resuming our journey we get to Muddy Fork, a little over 100 miles from Salt Lake City. Now we have a continuous mountain chain to cross till within Salt Lake Valley. In advancing thru we came to the open valley twenty miles below us. To the northwest the waters of great Salt Lake Glimmered in the bright noonday sunbeams. A little this side of the base of the mountain we see the City of Great Salt Lake. It resembles in the distance below something like a village where every house was surrounded by a ten acre lot. Arriving in the church pasture on September 5, 1863.