1890 TRIP TO HOT SPRINGS
Monday, 8th September 1890
We intend staying 3 or perhaps 4 weeks here, and so this morning we were all busy getting our home fixed up. We have one large tent 14 by 16 feet. In this we have two beds, a trunk, a dry goods box for a dressing table and writing desk, a small looking glass, a pin cushion and a small whisk broom hung on the tent above the table. For seats we have kegs and boxes. For a wardrobe, a clothes line stretched across the tent. In front of this tent sits our provision wagon, at the back of which is the cupboard the width of the wagon, and 4 shelves high. The door of the cupboard has got a hinge leg on back of it. We let this down and use it for a table. Then from top of the cupboard we have a wagon sheet stretched across. We call this our verandah, and it makes a good shade over the table when we cook and eat. We have a small sheet iron stove, an oven pot, 2 common cooking pots and a coffee pot. At present there are three fires burning, one in the stove, one in the trench for the oven pot, and a fire on the level ground.
Mr. Barnes and David have a small tent 10 by 12 where they sleep and have their clothes. This afternoon Miss Cooper and I took our first bath. We enjoyed it after our dusty journey and felt much better and refreshed after it. But we didn't stay very long in the water, as people say it is dangerous to stay in the water very long. For a few times at first, the water weakens one so they get helpless.
Tuesday, 9th September 1890
We have arranged to cook day about. Yesterday Miss Cooper cooked, it is my turn today, then Maggie's tomorrow, and Sarah's next day. Each one will have 3 days vacation. Miss Cooper and I took our bath before noon. We had a long read and rest in the afternoon, had an early supper, and then we all took a walk to see the Main Spring.
It is a great wonder. Its shape is about round, and to measure it straight across the men thought it would be 25 feet or over. It is right at the foot of a red perpendicular peak about 300 feet high. The temperature of the Spring registers 139. It looks like a huge caldron of water boiling, foaming and steaming. The water flowing from it, David says, is about the same quantity as runs in the six-mile-water in summer. It is almost surrounded by high bluffs, one-half perpendicular, the other half slanting and large rocks scattered over it, which afford us seats, and shade from the sun. Just about one fifth is open. It looks like it was left for a passage into it. The bath house is about 350 yards from the spring and still the water running this far in a ditch is too hot to bathe in. The water from the spring flows over a large flat, about 350 yards square, and over a small bank about 6 feet high. This is where any article of glass or crockery ware can be crystalized. Then over a small flat and then over a bank 40 feet high and into the Big Horn river.
Besides the main spring there are about 30 others, some coming up out of the river some on the edge of the river, and some out of rocks, mountains and bluffs. Among these is a sulphur spring. It looks like those wonderful springs were closed in by themselves, with no passage into them for mountains.
Mr. Barnes having hauled 2 big wagonloads of wood today, Miss Cooper thought we might indulge in a good campfire this evening. It has a wonderful charm, and we have enjoyed it every eve. since we started on our journey.
Wednesday, 10th September 1890
Miss Cooper and I washed clothes. Got through about 11 o'clock in the afternoon. Took a walk to the spring, then down to the river to see the fish hooks. Caught two fish and baited the hooks again. Brought the fish to camp, coming by the way of our specimens at the crystal bank. Each one of us have something in to crystalize. I have a large pickle bottle and a 2 lb. jampot I brought from home. Miss Cooper a buffalo horn and 2 mustard jars. Mr. Barnes a pair of horse shoes. Maggie, Sarah and Martha tin plates, tomato cans &c. Mr. Barnes brought in a small branch of a tree crystalized half an inch thick all over and white.
Thursday, 11th September
Took our bath before dinner. In the afternoon, Miss Cooper and I took our knitting to a cozy nook among rocks. In the evening it was too cold to sit by the campfire, and so heated the stove in the tent, had a sing and warmed ourselves.
Friday, 12th September 1890
Wakened with the coyotes howling around the camp. It was a bright sunshiny warm morning.
Saturday, 13th September 1890
My day of cooking. Mr. Barnes went a fishing but instead of bringing us fish, he brought in a porcupine. It is a species of the hedgehog. It don't roll itself up and is much larger than a hedgehog.
Sunday, 14th September 1890
First I wrote a letter, took a bath, ate dinner, and then rested. We sent for some butter and a man came this afternoon and brought all he could spare. He was leading a pack horse and riding another. He was at our camp today and ate dinner with us. While he was here 5 men passed on horse back. In the evening had a good fire and sang a few hymns.
Monday, 15th September 1890
Washing day. Was through and had a bath before dinner. In the afternoon Miss Cooper and I took our work and went up among some rocks back of the camp. Got us a good seat among the branches of an old cedar tree. While there I made a night gown of checked gingham gathered in at the neck and hung aloose all around with plain loose sleeves, gathered in at the wrist. When finished I tried it on, it being several inches too long and so fully gathered at the neck, Miss Cooper said I looked like a ruffled grouse. We laughed till we were tired. Then Miss Cooper tried it on and it just occurred to our minds she looked like a big Irish woman, whereupon she made a speech in the Irish brogue. She was Bridget and I was her Moike. We called the gown a Counemara clock and sure and Moike thought his darlnt looked very swate into.
Tuesday, 16th September 1890
This day sat at the big spring all afternoon. Read part of the time and knit part of the time. The fat man ate supper with us this evening.
Wednesday, 17th September 1890
This being my cooking day I was busy. Still I had time to take my bath and do a little sewing before dinner. Sat at the spring in the afternoon.
Thursday, 18th September 1890
Baked bread in the forenoon. In the evening we had a good fire and 2 visitors from the other camp. One of these men is of Irish descent. His name is Jack Donohue. At first we called him the bad man. He had such a strange queer look. But as we got acquainted we like him better and now we call him Jack and wonder why we formed so bad an opinion of him at first. He is an old timer in this vicinity and spent the winter before last here. It was he who told us all about this country and people, also about the Indians and their habits. Then he showed David how to manage the water for the baths, and told us how and where to crystalize things. He is so blunt and ready spoken and has such a distressed look in his face it is very amusing to us. And like the Irish naturally droll and witty. He gave us a small history of the man whom I have designated as the Fat Man. It seems his business is principally hunting horses. The first morning after he came one of his horses pitched him off and he was quite lame a day or two. He usually carries a few lbs. of flour, a frying pan, and a piece of bacon on his horse's pack. If he happens to get a favorable place to stop he generally gives his horses a good rest.
Friday, 19th September 1890
Mr. Barnes brought my jam pot to camp last evening. It just took it 5 days to crystalize. Everyone is admiring it and think it very pretty. I have it setting on the wagon seat to dry and harden, and it sparkles all over in the sun this morning. It looks like pure white snow. A clear cold frosty morning.
Saturday, 20th September 1890
I wrote a letter to Jane today.
Sunday, 21st September 1890
In the afternoon, I wrote a letter to Father. I am taking 2 baths in the day now, bathing, eating &c. Some days one has no time to attend to the fish hooks. A dark haired man came in today on horse back.
Monday, 22nd September 1890
Jack and another man left the springs this morning. They were going to help to gather cattle to drive to Utah, where they will have better feed. Had a visit from the dark haired man this evening. We heard through him from Willyum. It seems Wm. is in good circumstances, has got 2 ranches and over 300 head of cattle. Would all like to know how the old man with the blue veil is getting along. I hope for William's sake that if they get through the desert safely and into the Big Horn Basin, a land flowing with milk and honey, that they may feel better.
Tuesday, 23rd September 1890
A man called Hansen brought us 20 lbs of cabbage at 5 cents per lb. Another party came to the springs today to stay 2 or 3 weeks, 2 men with a wagon and 4 horse team. The horses jumped so when crossing the hot water that one of the wheelers got entangled in the traces of the leaders and fell down, but not till they got through the hot water. The horses got up and no harm was done. The 2 men are camped on the bank of the river, some 100 perches from our camp. Had a visit from them this evening. They stayed till late.
Wednesday, 24th September 1890
This morning while everyone was gone but Sissy, Miss Cooper and I, we witnessed quite an amusing scene between a man and a woman whom I shall call Mr. and Mrs. Fred. Mr. Fred came running to the bath house with all the speed he could put in force, and Mrs. Fred after him with a long fishing pole over her shoulder. She chased him around the bath house, then through the hot water several times. Finally he caught her and took the stick from her and Mr. and Mrs. Fred went lovingly together into camp.
Mr. Hughes and Mr. Rice made us a long visit. Mr. Hughes is an old acquaintance. He used to live in the Horse Shoe road ranch. He says when he came up here 4 years ago, the grass was very good all over this country. There has been no rain to speak of in all this dried out country for the last two years, and this is the cause why everything is burnt out.
Thursday, 25th September 1890
Mr. Hughes came early with 2 horses, one for David and one for Mr. Barnes, to ride out and see the country. But owing to Mr. Barnes' rheumatism bothering him, he declined going. But in the afternoon he went to the nearest ranch and got some potatoes, beets and salted beef.
n David's travels today, someone gave him beef and potatoes. Mr. Hughes came home with David and in the evening a man came from the other camp. We treated them to a big fire, and they treated us to big stories about bears, Indians, &c.
Friday, 26th September 1890
I wakened this morning dreaming that a hen and chickens had eaten all the meat during the night. It wasn't long till I was dressed and had it on to boil for an early dinner. I am going to have what we call a Yankee boiled dinner, only I haven't enough variety here. But I have cabbage, potatoes and onions. It will boil with the meat. I have beets; will boil them in a separate vessel. When Mr. Barnes went for water this morning the 2 men that are camped at the river gave him a quarter of a deer, and we had fresh venison for breakfast. Roundup camped for dinner at the river.
It is quite customary up here to wear a revolver and belt of ammunition. Today Mr. Rice came to our camp and with him two other men. The 2 passed on and Mr. Rice stopped. He had just got his horse tied to one of the wagons, which was only about 4 or 5 perches from the large tent where we sit and entertain strangers. And he had just got to the door of the tent when a pistol shot right into the wagon where the horse was tied. Mr. Rice, having had some trouble a short time ago with one of the men who came with him and rode past, thought it was him shooting. He just turned pale and was starting off for his pistol, which he had hung along with his belt on the horn of his saddle, when he saw the other two men riding on unconcerned. I needn't say we were all very much excited but in looking into the matter, they found Mr. Rice's revolver lying in the wagon and saw it had gone off and so concluded the horse had rubbed against a log of wood that was sticking out of the wagon, and somehow this had caused the accident. Surely we were all very glad no serious harm had been done.
Saturday, 27th September 1890
Mr. and Mrs. Lathrop came in here today to stay at the springs for a couple of weeks. In the afternoon Miss Cooper and I went down to the crystal bank. How I would like to be able to paint, or even describe the beauty of the scene as we stood barefooted in the hot water, on the small bank at sunset. The sunset was a picture in itself. The small bank where the water flows over is brown, drab, salmon, pink and green colors, all beautifully shaded some very delicate pale pink colors. All around here is mountainous and broken and are of a red color, some a deep red, others paler. Then the river running so smooth and so clear you can see to the bottom of it. It is very low just now and at each side there are several yards pebbly and sandy. A short distance from here it narrows and passes through something like a gorge.
We took a drink of the hot water out of a crystallized goblet that was at the crystal bank. Got our shoes and stockings on, hurried to camp, and found the others were half through with supper. We have 2 doz. loaves baked and packed in a box, ready for our journey home. We intend starting on Monday 29th Sept.
Sunday, 28th September 1890
The first night we were here, we were surprised to find the coyotes so numerous they were howling all around. We also heard the noise of a grey wolf. Its cries were fierce and alarming. I have only seen but one. It was on the Horse Shoe ranch last fall. It killed a yearling steer. We saw it twice afterwards, but it didn't stay long enough in sight to give time to get the gun. We have been wakened about every other night with the howling of the coyotes, sometimes quite near the tent, although as a rule they keep quiet when they come near the camp. But we can see their tracks all around in the morning. David has got up several nights and shot at them. It was so dark he couldn't see them but it scared them away.
Today we baked 2 ovens full of meat for the journey. Made a big pot of broth for dinner. Took 2 good farewell baths. Mr. Rice came in the afternoon with the horses. They are so much improved we hardly know them. Mr. Rice told us about the first school they had in this region. The first teacher was a woman. She only taught 6 weeks till she got married. Then the board of that district said we must have a male teacher. But when the young men of the neighborhood heard of it, they called a meeting and decided they should have a female teacher. And they got one too. Three female teachers have taught in that school since, and they have all been female teachers. Mrs. Lathrop paid us a visit in the evening, then we sang a few hymns before retiring.
Miss Cooper and I had our bedding out airing today and so we just spread our bed outside.
Last Updated April 2005
Copyright 2001-2005 -- All Rights Reserved