Thursday, 18 August 2016

Farson to the Green River

Sunday June 5th  
A long twenty-four mile tramp along the side of Highway 28 to Farson...
..though the monotony was considerably relieved when I was joined by Andy and Melissa and a group of friends who trailered their horses out to meet me...
and the horses were cheered up by the company as well.   I had repeatedly been told about the great ice-cream shop in Farson, so it was with a sense of anticipation that I arrived at the small crossroads town.....
..and I was not disappointed when we all went inside for a scoop or two. I went for the Moose Tracks with chocolate chips!
An evening ATV ride round their small ranch at the aptly named little settlement of Eden just down the road..
I had a very welcome and enjoyable day off as did Lady and Mo, and Andy and Melissa went to great lengths to give me a good time, ending up with a meal at a fabulous new Japanese restaurant Sapporo in Rock Springs.  The gang looking a bit fuzzy after a jolly night out...

Melissa in the middle with me, Andy at the back with the dashing black cowboy hat, friends Raylene and Ann and spouses as bookends.
Tuesday June 7th and it was back to Farson to rejoin the Pony Express Trail for the twenty-five mile leg to the Green River crossing..
Emigrants travelling through South Pass and following Pacific Creek (past the site of Pacific Springs Pony Express station) would have found themselves crossing the Big Sandy river at this point, so it was a natural site for a stage and Pony Express station.  Big Sandy station, which was managed by a Mormon couple, was just upriver of the present bridge to the right of the photo.
 This section of the trail has much of historic interest, particularly in terms of Mormon history.  This monument is to commemorate a meeting near this point on June 29th 1847 between Brigham Young's pioneer group and experienced mountain man Jim Bridger.
 In the words of the plaque, both companies "conferred at length  regarding the route and the possibility of establishing and sustaining a large population in the valley of the Great Salt Lake.  Bridger tried to discourage the undertaking. In this conference he is reported to have said that he would give one thousand dollars for the first bushel of corn grown in the Salt Lake valley."  Not sure if they ever got the thousand dollars.

We were now on open range, and endless signs warned travellers to be aware of the myriad of animals that roamed the ranges apparently intent on flinging themselves under vehicle wheels if not horse hooves.  If it was not sluggish cows.....
 it was speeding antelopes..
not to mention sage grouse, who in spite of their name are seemingly not wise enough to obey the Green Cross Code...

Another monument, this time to an incident in the Mormon or Utah war of 1857-1858 in which twenty-three US army supply wagons led by Capt. Simpson were burned by Major Lot and 43 Utah militia under orders from Brigham Young.
The war, in which no-one was killed or wounded in conflict, was largely muscle flexing on both sides caused by conflicting concerns of the US government and Utah under Brigham Young, and was eventually resolved by peaceful negotiation.
Stopping for a break by the Big Sandy near the probable site of Big Timber Pony Express station...
The willows mentioned by Burton have long gone.  The river really was full of sand, and I kept the horses away from the water in case of quicksand.
Following the Oregon Trail/Pony Express Trail along the valley of the Big Sandy...
It was somewhere along here that Burton recorded that they met and talked to a Pony Express rider.
Re-joining highway 28 I had a nasty few moments when a thunderstorm with some serious forked lightning suddenly brewed up right alongside me while we were the only prominent features on the plain. Added to this the gate by the cattle grid off the open range was locked, and I panicked slightly until I realised I could open the fence alongside.   We descend with relief down to the valley floor by the Green River while the storm thankfully disappears into the background....
There were still ominous clouds lurking around waiting to pounce when we reached the river, so I made the decision to camp under the bridge where hopefully I would be protected from any stray lightning bolts should the clouds have a temper tantrum.
The Pony Express station was most probably on this side of the river. Both Burton and Mark Twain commented on the good food here.  Besides coffee, Mark Twain had hot biscuits and fresh antelope steaks for breakfast, a far cry from my squashed granola bar.
However local NPEA ride captain Howard Schulz turned up with some horse feed which was gratefully received.

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