Nels A. Nelson autobiography, circa 1926, p. 5-6
Nelson, Nels August, 1857-1935
In due time boys and wagons from Utah arrived and everything was loaded for the trip. There was a stove and tent in each wagon. Then the luggage and two families were piled in and we were off for Zion.
At first there was an abundance of grass. I liked to watch the donkeys in the train. Day after day we traveled and the only living thing of any size was an occasional stage coach and the stations built along the way. One day I got out of the wagon and ran ahead until noon. After that I had to walk most of the way. One day two young women sat down to rest. All at once they screamed and jumped up. Then a man killed a large rattler where they had been. I have seen families take a corpse out of the wagon, dig a shallow grave and then huriedly catch up to the train which did not stop. Then we got a glimpse of the mountains in the distance. We also saw large herds of buffalo. While camping one noon a herd was coming directly towards us. Some men rode out and turned them. To avoid a stampede of our oxen we started out and the teamsters were able to keep them under control.
The first Indians I saw was at a stage station. There must have been several hundred of them and we could see their wigwams in the distance. We were now getting into great sagebrush flats and every body was warned against starting fires. One day at noon we yoked up in a hurry because someone had let their fire get the best of them.
Now we began to meet companies of soldiers. They generally led horses with empty saddles. Next we saw where a fire had burned some wagons in the company in which grandmother crossed in 1862. The whole country round was black and the grass had not started. When we crossed rivers if they were not to deep, the men and women waded. Two government wagons were caught in the quick sand near where we foreded. As we got into the hills there was a lot of elk, dear and antelopes. One man on a gray horse did the hunting for the group. Several times the oxen tried to stampede. On parts of the trail men had to hold the wagons up to keep them from tipping over. The most interesting of all to me was at Echo Canyon where we were told how the Mormon scouts had marched round the cliff and made Johnston's army believe there were a whole lot of them when in fact there were very few. We found chokecherries along the road but they were too green. The last hill seemed the longest and steepest and we did not reach the top until late in the evening. Next morning everyone was happy. Cherries were riper and so good to eat they failed to choke. Happy beyond expression we hastened to get a view of Canaan and Joseph's land, where the Elders of Israel reside, and Prophet's and Apostles to guide the Latter-day Saints.
Having seen some of the big cities of the world you may imagine our dissappointment when we looked down from Emmigration Canyon upon Great Salt Lake City by the Great Salt Lake.