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A Trek Out West - Part 2

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

Continued from A Trek Out West - Part 1.

Article in the Cheyenne Weekly Leader August 1, 1878

[Dr. Ferber] July 27, 11:30 A.M We started from here, but did not travel further than about eight miles when we camped near a little creek. After dinner, we took our guns, but without any success, except that I killed a couple of young sagehens. Elevation, 7,200 feet.

[Otto Franc] Saturday July 27 - Started out; have considerable trouble with our pack horses they not being used to the work make only 10 miles on that account and camp at the mouth of a nicely wooded canyon in which is a very cold spring; after having cooked and eaten dinner we go out to see what we can shoot; Dr. gets 2. sage hens and misses an antelope, so does Jack. I see nothing to shoot at.

[Dr. Ferber] 28th.—Left camp at 7:30; came at noon upon a plateau where the aneroid showed 8,200 feet. We made about eighteen miles, and got in camp at 3 o'clock, near Muddy Creek. We had a lovely place in a little poplar grove at the head of a spring. Near the camp the fish were scarce, and I caught only twelve little trout. Elevation, 8,100 feet.

[Otto Franc] Sunday July 28 - We make a long march; cross the great Divide at a point called Pine Grove [altitude 8,200] pass a great many snowfields while the sun is blistering on our hands and faces; descend into the plains and camp in a little piece of timber on the bank of Muddy Creek; although the altitude is almost 8,000 feet the mosquitoes are devouring us; In the afternoon I miss an antelope so does Tip. Tonight we are eating the last of our meat, but we expect to get trout tomorrow. The night grows extremely cold.

[Dr. Ferber] 29th, —Without moving camp we took our horses and rode some miles to another brook, where the fishing was so good that I filled my basket in a few hours. Frank and Jack tried to shoot antelope ; fired several shots but did not kill any. The trout in this water are long and slim, large head, body silvery, with bluish-black spots; belly is nearly red; very little game in them. There is another fish here which takes the fly like a trout, The form and color is like a salt water minnow; ventral and anal fins red, dorsal fin and tail yellowish, scales small and silvery; has a good flavor, but is full of bones; a kind of chub. "During the eclipse I caught my largest trout that day, and when the darkness was over we turned home to our camp, where we heard bad news. Jack was cooking dinner, and during the eclipse, which both of them were watching, the tent and some of our blankets and quilts caught fire, which, after some efforts, they extinguished. This accident was a good experience for us—not to make the fire too close to the tent again.

[Otto Franc] Monday July 29 - Ice in our water pot. The cold must have killed all the mosquitoes, not a single one is to be seen; Dr. & Tip rode a few miles from camp and brought home some beautiful trout, Jack & I try to kill some antelope but do not succeed. All our shooting is at long range. Finally, we caught some trout and went back to camp; while cooking the fish the Eclipse sets in and we have a very good view of it, Jack calls it a damned humbug and put up job, because our tent and blankets caught fire while we were looking at the sun, we lost a blanket, burned holes in the tent and some blankets and besides burned our hands in trying to extinguish it; During today's ride we crossed a valley 1/2 mile wide, 1 1/2 miles long in which were hundreds of sage hens, they would let us approach to about 5 feet before they would fly, we did not kill any as it seemed like murder. The trout would not bite at artificial flies, only at grasshoppers. The latter are so very scarce and shy that it takes sometimes 1/2 hour to catch one and we come to the conclusion that it is greater sport to catch grasshoppers than trout. Ice again during the night & at 10 a.m. 90 degrees a similar contrast in the temperature is of daily occurrence. The sun burns the skin more than in New York, but the heat does not prostrate at all, we ride runabout & do camp work without perspiring much

[Dr. Ferber] 30th.—Left camp at 10 o'clock. After we had been riding about eight miles we saw at a distance two men on horseback, who took us first for Indians, but when they found out the mistake came up to us. Coming from Colorado, they were going north. Six miles more we stopped, being a little tired of the hot sun; thermometer showed 85 deg., and the night before we had ice. We found here a splendid clear and cold brook, and expected good fishing, but no fish was caught, not even a minnow or chub. 1 think the water contained too much lime and alkali. In the evening five of our horses ran away about two miles, and it took all the skill of the guides to bring them back again. Elevation, 7,200 feet. [Otto Franc] Tuesday July 30 - We travel about 15 miles. Pass through some beautiful country and camp on a little stream in which we fish for trout without success; in the evening 5 of our horses stampede. Tip catches them after a 2-mile race and has his left hand badly lacerated by a picket line of one of the horses. [This story will continue, following the summer trek of Texas Jack, Otto Franc, and Dr. Ferber in Part 3.]

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