Keya Paha Pioneer Stories Page 2002-2008 ©SM
Journal of Carrie Belle Spencer, Age twenty-one, when she toured Yellowstone National Park in July and August, 1892. She was in the company of her older brother Alvah and his wife Adaline.
(Wording and punctuation of the original are maintained.)
Biographical note: Carrie Belle Spencer was a teacher in Keya Paha County for several years. She married Stillman O. Lewis (a son of Ralph and Emma Lewis, early Keya Paha County homesteaders) on November 10, 1897. Stillman and Carrie homesteaded near Ralph and Emma's homestead near the Keya Paha River north of Burton.
In the company with Addie I left Hot Springs at 4:40 P.M. on the B. & M. R.R. The day was almost perfect as far as the weather was concerned and the ride to the station was lovely. The scenery from Hot S. to Minnekahta where we changed cars was lovely almost beyond description, consisting of the beautiful hills covered with the stately pines. After leaving Minnekahta the beautiful rolling praries took the place of the hills and very often we would see a herd of fat cattle grazing to their satisfaction upon the tender grass; as we approach this station great ledges of rock towered above the cars in great masses. Edgemont, a very small place, not more than 100 inhabitants, but the R.R. hotel at which we are stopping is very pleasant and the surrounding yard is lovely.July 13, 1892
Left Edgemont on the 7:10 train arriving at Gilette at 12:45. It was very warm and the last 50 mi. was not very pleasant on account of the heat & dust. New Castle was the only town of any importance that we passed. That being quite lively owing to the coal mines near by.July 14
Sewed for Addie part of the day and took two walks with Allie. In the evening we went through the Round House and visited the R.R. pump. It was very warm all day.July 15
Took a horse back ride in the evening with Allie; visited the coal mines 1 1/2 mi. west of town also the Rock pile. Then rode south about 2 mi. to Donkey Creek. Came home, had supper and about 9 o'clock went to the school house to a dance, came home at 12. Had a very pleasant time.July 18
Went with Addie to Mrs. Getsel's in the A.M. Read, napped and talked in the P.M. until 6 then went to the school house to practice a while. Came home and made ice cream - had supper, eat ice cream and retired.Thursday July 21, 1892
After several days of rather impatient & tiresome waiting our little party (consisting of six) left the deserted village of Gilette enroute for the Y.N.P. [Yellowstone National Park] in high spirits for the anticipated enjoyment.
When about five miles from the town we were delighted at the scene that presented itself from 100 mi. distant in the range of the Rocky's known as the Big Horn Mts. Our trail followed along the Wild Horse Creek whose banks were covered with cotton wood trees and whose shade loooked very tempting to the weary traveler. We camped about three hours at noon at a place known as Scotts' ranch. From this place on our road was often marked by the deserted R.R. Camps which consisted of several "dug outs" and the skeletons of log barns. About five o'clock I mounted "Dock" and galloped away to see what was ahead. After riding about five miles, I came in company with "Jack" with whom I rode & chatted until we came to a beautiful green spot by the side of the creek where the large cotton woods spread their branches for shade, inviting us to stay. This we did until the wagons came up and as they were of the same mind thinking that would be a nice camping place, we were soon on the ground, the horses were soon turned loose and after a refreshing supper and a stroll down the stream we retired to our tent - for the night, well pleased with our 1st day's journey.
50 mi. from Gillette to Suggs. Went 20 Thursday. 30 mi. Friday.Friday, July 22
Arose and dressed just in time for a 5o'clock breakfast. This being some what earlier than my usual breakfast time my appetite was rather limited and with a cup of cocoa & some bread & "spreadum" I was satisfied to wait for more until dinner time thinking it would not be later than 11 o'clock. After the preliminary packing was done and "Dock" again saddled I started down the canyon to explore until the others were ready.
Jack & I then rode on for about 10 miles; by that time the sun was very warm & I preferred riding under shelter of its burning rays, so bidding him good bye, I took shelter under a shade tree to await the arrival of the teams.
We (just at this point I was startled from my comfortable seat in a tree by Allie called to the men and hurrying toward them saw the prairie on fire) then rode along the streams for several miles. After leaving this the country was very round, irregular hills of all shapes & sizes to be seen on either side. We stopped at one place to see eight yoke of oxen pull a heavy load of R.R. track up a hill.
After this we passed several freighting outfits which was quite a curiosity to me.
About 1 o'clock we reached the long looked-for spring, by which we were to camp. But alas! What a disappointment when instead of finding a cool spring gushing from some rock we saw nothing but what we could call a mud puddle on the side hill with no shelter whatever. So great was our thirst though that we drank quite heartily. This seemed to be one of the "hottest" days on record, aside from the burning sun a very hot wind was blowing.
At four o'clock we were again on the road wending our way toward the town of Suggs.
About three miles from this place the track layers were busy laying the rails B&M R.R. Suggs is rightly named "Tent town" as 3/4 of the houses are tents & the remainder logs. Camped about 1/2 mi. west of town by a beautiful spring on the banks of Powder River. About 0 o'clock we went to town & ate ice cream - came home & had a good nights rest. This town will long be remembered by its inhabitants from the raid that took place about June 20 by a band of negro soldiers, who rode into town at dead of night and shot into every tent & house they passed----
25 mi. from Suggs to Clear Creek. Went 15 mi. Saturday.Saturday, July 23
Left Suggs at 4 P.M. The country was very rough & several hard hills to climb. R.R. camps were very numerous after crossing Powder River. After travelling about 10 mi. we forded Clear which is a beautiful stream. Camped on the prairie about 1/2 mi. from Clear Creek.Sunday July 24
The morning was cloudy and very cool. The mts. were in sight and looked very pretty. Drove all the A.M. Passed the 30 mi. pasture. Camped at 11 o'clock at the new town on the bank of a stream by the same name. It was pretty warm by this time and soon after camping we were in the stream having a good bath and swim. 35 mi. from Clear Creek to Sheridan.
Left here at 3 o'clock and traveled until 7, where we camped in a beautiful little valley surrounded by hills of various shapes and sizes, on the Wagner's Prong of Dutch Creek. The coyotes were rather numerous around camp that night.
Went about 25 mi. today.Monday, July 25
Warm & dusty. Camped at noon in a shallow canyon. Started again at 2 o'clock and reached the city of Sheridan at 5 P.M. Passed some very pretty irrigated farms before reaching the city. It is a very good western town with a population of 2000. Camped for the night about 1/2 mi. from town on the bank of Goose Creek. 20 mi. from Sheridan to Dayton. Took supper & breakfast at the Central Hotel.
Went about 25 mi. that day.Tuesday, July 26
Left Sheridan at 10 A.M. Traveled along a pleasant road with the mts. in view for about 12 mi. where we camped by an irrigating ditch for dinner. Crossed Soldier & Wolf Creek and some very nice farms before reaching Dayton which is located on Tongue River. At this point we were only 2 1/2 mi. from the mts. Stopped here a few minutes to chat with friends; then went on for about five miles where we again pitched our tent for the night.
It was a very pleasant day as a cool breeze was blowing from the mts.
Traveled 25 mi.Wednesday, July 27
Was awakened this morning by the patter of rain drops upon the tent. Ate breakfast in the tent. It did not rain much but was very cloudy & misty when first starting. Rode Dock until 10 o'clock. The country thus far today has been very nice and quite thickly settled until we reached the "Crow Reservation" which was about 2 mi. from the Pass P.O. Crossed Spring Creek, and camped for dinner on the bank of Pass Creek where the boys are fishing.
Entered the Crow Indian Reservation as they crossed the state line into Montana about three o'clock. The roads were very good and the surrounding country was very picturesque with the Indian "tepees" scattered among the trees and herds of their ponies grazing on the green grass.
Camped the the first crossing of the Little Big Horn. The Indians were rather numerous here.
Traveled about 35 miles today.Thursday, July 28
We again started on our journey at 8 o'clock. The roads were good and as it was cool we made good time and were soon camped again for dinner on the bank of the same river which we had followed most of the morning and which we forded eight times. While waiting for dinner I took a bath in this famous stream. While eating dinner we had a visit from the Medicine Man. We visited an Indian grave and the inmates of a tepee, which were 5 squaws, 5 bucks & three papooses.
Starting again at two o'clock we traveled until 5 when we again camped on the L.B. Horn, which was 1 mi. from the Custer Battle Ground and 2 mi. from the Crow Agency. After changing horses we drove up to the Battle Ground where we spent about two hours. Came back and had supper. This is the first night that the mosquitoes have been troublesome, and they are very thick.
Traveled about 20 mi. today. The Battle Ground consists of 160 acres enclosed by a fence set apart by the Gov't. as a National Burying Ground.
12 Mi. from Agency to Fort Custer.Friday, July 29
Left our camp at 7 o'clock and were soon at the Agency. Allie & I horse back.
The Indians were flocking there by the hundreds, it being Ration day.
Visited the home & school for the Indian children and were very kindly shown each department. Then went to the rations store where each squaw came in turn to receive her portion of flour, bacon, coffee, sugar & rice. This was sure a great sight--to one who had never seen it before. We also went to the beef issue and then started again & arrived at Fort Custer at 12 o'clock where we now camped waiting to cross the Big Horn River.
Crossed at four o'clock on pontoon bridge and traveled over a lovely prairie road until 7 o'clock where we again camped for the night. It was quite warm in the P.M. but was a beautiful moon light evening. Traveled 25 mi. today.Saturday, July 30
Started this morning at 6 o'clock. The road was good and the prairie with now & then a small canyon filled with trees and a nice spring creek flowing through made a very interesting days journey.
After crossing Pryor Creek at four o'clock we camped for the night to fish and have a rest.
This is a beautiful camping ground, the grass is green and the large cotton wood trees furnish ample shade. We are 12 mi. from Billings and in sight of 5 tepees. Traveled 15 mi. today. Very pleasant. 50 mi. from Fort Custer to Billings.Sunday, July 31
Left camp at 8 o'clock the sun was very warm and after traveling about 2 mi. we had a very steep hill to climb. We all walked excepting the drivers.
Had a very bad storm last night, "The wind blew, the lightning flashed, & the thunder roared, but no rain." Arrived at the city of Billings at 11 o'clock and at 1 o'clock a delicious dinner was awaiting us and to which we did ample justice.
Spent the P.M. in writing letters until 6 o'clock when we took a ride through the city. After lunch we went to the Cong. Church where we listened to a very interesting description of Oberlin College.
Traveled 12 mi. today.Monday, Aug. 1
Arose at 6 o'clock, ate breakfast at 6:30 after which we went to the city & did some shopping. Came back to camp, finished writing and had a nap before dinner; after this it was pick up and load again. Alva stayed here but will meet us at Stillwater tomorrow.
This is another scorching day. When we left the city at 3 o'clock the thermometer stood at 103, the wind was one of the hottest I ever saw (felt). We passed some very nice irrigated farms; the road was good and it was only 7 o'clock when we found ourselves on a beautiful green prairie by the side of an irrigating ditch; it was here that we decided to make our home for the night.
Addie & I soon wended our way to a farm house near by and found some very pleasant occupants. After supper it was not long until we retired for this was one of the places that the mosquitoes love to dwell. John was unusually frisky tonight and made it rather lively for a while.
Traveled 18 mi. today.Tuesday, Aug. 2
Cool & cloudy until 10 o'clock. Left camp at 7:30. Passed a lovely fruit farm and invested in goose(berries) & raspeberries. We are now camped for dinner and I am sitting on the rocky hill side beneath the shade of a friendly pine. I hear the welcome call of "Dinner is now ready in the dining car, the rear car".
We have traveled along the R.R. and the Yellowstone River all day. The scenery has been immense. Arrived at Stillwater at 4:10, camped about 1 mi. from town & Addie and I went to the train which arrived at 5:30 to meet Allie.
The mosquitoes are most too numerous for comfort tonight. John has built a big sage brush fire and I helped S- with the dishes. Sprinkled some this P.M. Met four "cowpunchers". Lovely moon light evening.
Went 26 mi. today. 155 mi. from Billings to Livingston.Wednesday, Aug. 3
Warm and windy. Left camp at 8. Traveled in sight of the snow capped mts. all day.
Camped on the prairie at noon not far from Beaver Creek. Our home tonight is near the bank of Sweet Grass creek. Spent the evening sitting around the camp fire, singing, talking, etc. Had quite a wind storm about 6 o'clock, was cloudy and very pleasant most of the afternoon.
Traveled about 35 mi. today.Thursday, Aug. 4
Warm and sunshiny in the A.M. Passed through some very pretty country as far as the scenery goes. Was in sight and as near as 15 mi. from the Crazy Mts. most of the day. Arrived at the town of Big Timber at 11 A.M. Stopped here long enough to do some shopping. It was about 500 inhabitants and we gave it a name which seemed for more appropriate, that of Rock town for the streets were filled with rock or small boulders as was the road for several miles on either side of the town.
Camped about four miles from town by a school house for dinner As we were again ready to start the wind commenced to blow. It was much cooler and rained some. This was an agreeable change from the hot sunshine and warm winds. Passed Hunters' Hot Springs which looked to be a very pretty place.
Stopped for the night just at sundown on the banks of the Yellowstone R. Traveled 25 mi. 55 miles from Livingston to Cinnabar.Friday, Aug. 5
Left camp at 7 A.M. Alva & I made 10 mi. horseback. Followed along R.R. & Yellowstone R. very close all day. Stopped at a neat little school house to interview the teacher awhile and found that she was from Boone Co. etc. The scenery is still lovely ledges of rocks towering hundreds of feet above our heads while along the road side were wild rose bushes from 6 to 10 feet high.
Arrived at Livingston at 1 o'clock, camped about half a mile from town. After dinner went to town in the buggy and did some shopping.
This seems to be the town of the west. Population 3500. Visited the taxidermist store which was the finest of the kind that I ever saw. Cool & cloudy in the P.M. as usual.
When leaving the town we at once entered the Yellowstone canyon, and for several miles the scenery was lovely on either side. Camped at an opening in the canyon, on a small hill just overlooking the River and a more beautiful moon light picture I never saw. The moon arose just above the snow capped mts. The reflection of the moon in the water and on the rocks of different shades and the shadows of the pines presented a lovely scene, and one not soon to be forgotten.Saturday, Aug. 6
Left camp at 7 o'clock. The sun was warm but a good breeze from the mts. made it pleasant riding. Crossed some lovely mountain streams and very nice irrigated farms.
Stopped at noon at a small mining town named Fidley and did not leave until 4 o'clock. Sherman went trout fishing while Addie prepared dinner and was quite successful as we had our first feast on mountain trout for supper.
This was a beautiful evening, warm & moonlight. Retired rather early not feeling well. Camped again on the banks of the Yellowstone.Sunday, Aug 7
Arose at 5 o'clock feeling much better than when retiring. The sun was just in sight at the point of the surrounding hills which looked very pretty.
The scenery was as pretty as any we have passed; such beautiful rocks, trees, and the winding road around the hill side about 200 ft. above the R.R. and river made it very interesting. The men fished for trout at noon, but were not successful.
Just as we left camp it commenced to rain and this was our first rain storm; as we was well prepared for it, I enjoyed it immensely. It ceased raining just as we reached Cinnabar, which is the terminus of the N.P.R.R.
We stopped long enough to visit the specimen stores then went on 4 mi. farther when we reached the town of Gardiner and laid in supplies enough to last through our journey in the Park. Camped 1 mi. from here on the Gardiner River in a beautiful place called Shady Nook. The river is grand, having such a [water]fall and so many boulders to obstruct its course which make a continuous rushing & roaring.
I have ridden all day with my winter clothing on and have been none too warm.
Passed a toll gate, which cost $3.50 for the round trip. Has rained some this evening. Altitude at Springs 6200 feetMonday, Aug. 8
Cold and cloudy this morning. Arrived at the Mammoth Hot Springs at 9 A.M. Found two letters waiting for me, one from W.E., the other from C.E. Went into camp near the Mammoth Hot Springs for the remainder of the I day. I spent the next two hours in writing letters.
After dinner, mounted on old Dock we started for the Springs going by the Park where we saw 4 elk, 2 foxes antelope & deer.
The Springs are lovely, magnificent, even more beautiful than one can imagine or than words can tell. The boiling sulpher water over flowing the basins and making such a beautiful formation of the most delicate shades and tints. This covers 170 acres. After seeing all this we wended our way along the narrow path to Bath Lake, visiting Orange Geyser on the way. The water in the lake comes from the boiling sulphur springs and is a lovely place for bathing purposes.
We then wandered around through the trees, and visited many places of interest such as the White Elephant Geyser, Pulsating Geyser, Stalactic Caves, Snow Cave, and the Devil's Kitchen.
Reached camp just in time to escape a small shower. We then went to the Coated Speciman store, passing Liberty Cap and the two black bear. Got back just in time for supper. Wrote until dark, then built a camp fire to finish my letter to Mark.Tuesday, Aug. 9
Cool & sunshiny this morning, just a perfect day. Arose at 6:30 and wrote until breakfast was ready.
Left camp and started for the Golden Gate which was a distance of four miles and the elevation at that place 7300 ft. This was a most beautiful place. The Cascade Falls in the Yellowstone just at the close of the Golden Gate was a sight not soon to be forgotten as we rested on the rock by its side. The mountain springs we passed and the vast amount of timber which covered the hill sides was indeed wonderful. The dead timber was about as plentiful as the green. I saw the electric peak about 8 mi. distant.
Camped at noon in one of the most beautiful places I ever saw, the trees, grass and water seemed almost perfect. Allie & I rode horse back the remainder of the day or until we reached our camping place near Norris. This is 18 mi. from the Golden Gate. Passed Obsidian Cliff, Beaver Lake, Roaring Mt., Apollinaris Spring & many boiling springs.Wednesday, Aug. 10
Cool and pleasant; most to cool for comfort. After preparing for breakfast I took a mile walk to get warm. Water was frozen in the pail about 1/2 inch.
After breakfast we all got in the buggy and went to visit the Norris Geyser Basin which is indeed a wonderful freak of nature. There is from 50 to 75 geysers or boiling springs. Some of the most noted are the Muddy, Minute, Growler which reminds one of about 1/2 doz. large engines with the steam escaping at the same time. Monarch which has two oblong craters in the solid rock. Emerald which is a beautiful pool of green water but is so clear that one can see at least 100 ft. yet this is not the bottom. The temperature is 186 [degrees]. Vixen which is constantly throwing up crystal clear water to a height of 30 ft. or more. The boiling mud pots were also quite wonderful to see.
Returned to camp and started for the Grand Canyon & Falls at 10 A.M. The drive was lovely through the dense pines & over the smooth winding roads. The only thing to mar our pleasure was the dust, the awful dust.
We passed the beautiful Cascade Virginia Falls in the Gibbon River and the vast columns of rocks on either side were grand. I was not sorry to leave our camping place of last night on account of the disagreeable sulphurous odor that was constantly filling the air from the boiling springs. I am sitting on the hill side 'neath some lovely pines, but the wind from the snow clad Mts. is most too cool for comfort here, so will go down to camp. I have a very good view of the Grand Hotel from here.
Sitting by the camp fire just before supper. While waiting for dinner we went to the Upper Falls and it was by far the most beautiful thing I ever saw. The rain bow in the spring was lovely. As I sat on the rock near by I felt as if I could never leave such a beautiful spot.
After dinner we started for the Lower Falls which are 1/4 mi. below the Upper. It was a beautiful winding path along the hill side and when reaching the spot one could but stand in awe and wonder as the beautiful emerald streams 200 ft. wide and narrowing down the 70 ft. was falling over a precipice of 360 ft. Then the Grand Canyon just below was a sight for too grand for my descriptive powers.
After leaning over a grand rock for 1/2 hr. watching the turbulant waters so far below, we again took a beautiful mountain trail and this proved to be the highest hill that I ever had the pleasure of climbing. This brought us to a huge rock projecting out into the canyon about 1/4 mi. below the Grand Falls and is known by the name of Point Look Out; here one has a most excellent view of the Falls & Canyon
Leaving here we took a lovely winding road leading to the Hotel; passing this we came by the Crystal Falls on our return home and we left our names on the bridge that spans Crystal Creek. When reaching camp I thought that I had seen more of the beauties of nature than ever before in one day or perhaps that I ever should see. How thankful I am for all of these.Thursday, Aug. 11
Had a nice shower this morning about 5 o'clock, so the A.M. has been cool & pleasant. I rode horse back until noon. We stopped by the side of the river bank to fish awhile & was quite successful. Camped at noon near Mud Geyser which is the greatest curiosity I have seen. We are on the banks of the Yellowstone in a lovely place for trout fishing; here it is that I caught my first trout. Had all we could eat for dinner & everyone pronounced them splendid. Passed through a beautiful valley this morning known as Hayden Valley & also the Mt. of Brimstone.
The drive this P.M. was one of the prettiest I ever saw. After coming in sight of the Lake we drove about two miles to a camping place in the pine forest, about 1/2 mi. from the Hotel This is some what different from any of our camping places and one that I enjoy for that reason.
After camping we went to the hotel to see the Cubs which was quite amusing to see them perform. We then went to the Lake down on the dock and into the pretty little steamer Zillah. Ate supper by camp fire.Friday, Aug. 12
Arose early expecting to the the steamer and cross the Lake, meeting the teams at the Thumb; but much to my disappointment when about ready for breakfast we found that three of the horses were gone. Mr. Cash soon found the trail and started after them, & has not yet returned.
About 25 min. before time for the steamer to leave the dock Allie said for Addie & I to go and he would come with teams. This I disliked to do very much, but as it was to be my first steam boat ride I did not hesitate at the proposal, and we were soon on the beautiful waters of the Yellowstone sailing smoothly along toward the Thumb. After a delightful ride of 1 1/2 hr. we landed at the dock on a beautiful beach and saw on a slope not far distant five tents in a row, this is what is known as the Lake Side Lunch station; as we were about ready for lunch and desirous of finding some place to leave our luggage we started in that direction When not more than half way up the slope a gentleman, with skull cap, white apron, towel etc. started toward us saying "Good morning ladies, good morning", & before we had time to reply he had our luggage in his hands saying "Right this way to the waiting room." & entering this tent, he took me by the arm & pointing out of the tent in an opposite direction he says "Ladies toilet just ahead. Ladies toilet make yourselves at home." etc. etc. The waiting room was a tent about 20 ft. sq., dirt floor & contained a few chairs, stove, cigar case & slat benches around the room.
The "toilet" was out doors & too cute for particulars, ta ta. After arranging our "twilight" and entering the waiting room this man "Larry" Mathews as he proved to be began asking questions & entertained us in a royal manner until we heard the rattle of approaching hacks, which were of course the expected tourists. "Larry" no longer had time for entertaining individuals as each new comer was greeted in the same manner.
It was not long until we heard the call "All register" & "Right this way to hash". Soon 40 ladies & gentlemen were seated on slab benches at long home made tables, and the bill of fare was soon commenced; it was not very extensive but every thing was enjoyed, being season with Larry's Irish wit. "Run in the hens." "Let 'er go pie." It was not long after lunch until the tourists were on the steamer & we were left in our glory with "Larry, wife and baby Lizzie.
Soon a coach passed by & we were asked to take a ride down to visit the Paint Pots. Shower Bath Fishing and Cook Pots before returning.
As we were seated in the waiting room writing about four o'clock Allie made his appearance and we all went to camp in a beautiful spot about 1/2 mi. from there. After supper we went to the lake & had a lovely row being on the water as the sun disappeared behind the snow clad mts.
After this we spent a short time with Mrs. Mathews, then wended our way to the shower bath and took full possession for 1/2 hr. This was immense.
After a rather troublesome (& exciting) time in finding our way through the Geyser Basin we returned to camp ready for our nights rest & feeling that we had spent one of the most enjoyable days of our trip to the Park.Saturday, Aug. 13
Another lovely morning and at 8:30 we were again on the road. Allie & I on horse back.
The road was lovely as it gradually arose upon the Great Divide the crossing that were on the Pacific Slope. The pine trees were just as dense as ever and the beautiful mountain streams were very numerous.
Crossing the Fire Hole River we took a trail at the left leading to the Lone Star Geyser which was 1 mi. from the main road. Soon after reaching this it commenced to play and I enjoyed watching it for 1/2 hr. Returning again to the road it was not long until we were at the Upper Geyser Basin. Arriving there just in time to see Old Faithful play. Soon found a camping place about 1/4 mi. from this famous geyser.
After dinner we started for a visit to the most noted geysers of this basin, which were indeed grand, wonderful, beautiful etc., etc. Returned from this journey just as sun set, and spent the remainder of the evening talking playing ka______. Had company riding horse back most of the morning. Rode about 20 mi. and was not sorry when we were again in camp.
Had a call from the Helma boys telling of the bear they had just passed.Sunday, Aug. 14
Left camp horseback at 8:30 and stopped at some beautiful geysers as we passed through the basin. Allie & I visited the Biscuit basin at one side. After riding about 3 mi. we came to Hell's Half Acre where we dismounted and spent some time looking at the wonderful boiling spring.Camped at noon by the Fire Hole River, and immediately started for the Fountain Geyser & Mammoth Paint Pot, which we supposed to be but 1/2 mi. from camp but we [were] soon aware that it was nearer two miles, but we were not to back out then and on we went, feeling that we were ready for dinner long before we were there. The wind blew, the sun was hot and how many times I wished that I had never started for the Fountain. The hotel there was very nice and in a beautiful place.
At four o'clock we were again on the road; this was the "dustiest" afternoon of the season. Passed 10 coaches, most of them being the "Raymonds". The Gibbon Falls in the river of the same name was the only thing of interest that we passed until a porcupine made its appearance in the road and commenced to climbing the hill. John commenced the climb at the same time nor did he return until he had succeeded in killing the animal and bringing it to the road for the remainder of the party to view.
Camped at dark on a peninsula of the Gibbon river.Monday, Aug 15
Another lovely morning and after eating breakfast and doing a small washing we started for a trip up Mt. Schurz to visit the Monument geysers. This was a climb of 1500 ft. through a beautiful winding path amongst the stately pines. However with the help of old Dock we were able to make the journey quite easily.
This was a very pretty & curious freak of nature & very properly named.
After returning and resting awhile we visited the Gibbon Paint Pots about 1/2 mi. from camp. There was boiling mud of almost every hugh & color.
Dinner being over we started again and after a four mile drive we were in the Norris Geyser Basin, passing this we were on the road that entered the Park.
At sun down we were at one of our old camping grounds and it was here that we spent the night.Tuesday, Aug. 16
Soon after breakfast we were on the road leading to Mammoth Hot Springs, Allie & I on Pet & Dock. Passed the tourists and a company of Soldiers on foot. We again passed the Golden Gate and it seemed even more beautiful & grand than from the other entrance. Reaching our camping place again by the Spring I immediately rode to the P.O. and was delighted to find six letters waiting for me.
Returning to camp I read my letters, ate dinner, and wrote letters until Allie came and said it was time to go to the hotel.
We first went to the specimen store when I squandered a few dollars. Visited McCartney's Cave after leaving the hotel. Went back to camp, ate supper, washed the dishes, then went to the famous Bath Lake where we spent an hour or two & returned feeling well paid for our climb.Wednesday, Aug. 17
After a fare well visit to the Speciman Store & P.O. we took our departure from the great wonderland and were soon at the station of Gardiner, passing here we soon met the six horse coaches with the tourists from Cinnabar. Stopped a few minutes at this place to get some specimens from the "Flying Dutchman". It was soon noon and we camped at our old stand on the banks of the Yellowstone.
Our afternoon drive was very pleasant until about 5 o'clcok when a cold north wind began to blow and it seemed more like a dreary Oct. evening as we went into camp than the hot days of Aug.
Shivered eating supper in the tent with our winter clothes on.Thursday, Aug. 18
Cold and windy, left camp about 8 o'clock and arrived at Fidley at 10:30 where we started for the gold placer mines about 4 miles in the Mts. This place is known as Emigrant Gulch, and contains many log cabins which are homes for the miners. he gave me the gold dust that remained. After this he took us into his "shack [and] showed us his last weeks work in the shape of 1 oz. gold dust, also some very rich silver ore.
After a view of his bedroom, kitchen, pantry etc. and a few remarks as to the convenience of his house we bade him goodby and in half an hour were again on the camping ground. Dinner at 2 o'clock and drove until 7 when we camped on the banks of the Yellowstone 6 mi. from Livingston.Friday, Aug. 19
After the beautiful drive of six miles through the canyon we arrived at Livingston where we spent an hour or two. It was here that John & Sherman left us to find work for the winter. Now we are our own "cook & bottle washer". Had a nice camping place for dinner, also a good dinner consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables but minus the water melon upon which we had our hearts fixed.
It was cold and cloudy most of the afternoon and for two hours before camping the wind from the snow clad Mts. blew furiously, and we were all rather chilly by camping time and glad to get inside the tent.
It was not long after supper until we retired for the night.Saturday Aug. 20
This was the first morning that I felt it necesary to arise before breakfast time so at 5:30 I was ready to help with the breakfast. It was cool & cloudy and the clouds hovering over and below the snow clad Mts. on the north and west was a very pretty picture.
The wind was most too strong and chilly for comfort when riding this A.M. but it was quite pleasant in the P.M.
Arriving at Big Timber at 11:00 o'clock and camped about 1 mi. from town at noon on the Yellowstone; and at night on a small creek about four miles from Sweet Grass creek. Had a break down just as we crossed this creek which detained us some time.Sunday, Aug. 21
A perfect day...as far as weather goes...and I rode horse back until camping time which was 12:30. After leaving camp I soon saw a grave on the hillside enclosed by a rail fence. Riding to the spot I found these words written on one of the rails: "This garden spot of social woe's; Bad social cultivation shows". The time passed very quickly as I rode along thorugh the beautiful hills & valleys; busy with my thoughts of the past & uncertain future.
Had a beautiful camping place at noon in the shade of some fragrant pines. "Pie for dinner", "Lickim good, Sal". The afternoon drive of 10 mi. was very pleasant; camped at 6:30 on the river about 2 mi. from Stillwater.
Met a gentleman this evening from Hot Springs.Monday, Aug. 22
Left at 7 o'clock and drove to Stillwater where we waited an hour for some blacksmith work to be done. Took in the town & had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Hamilton Esq. This is where we purchased a loaf of bread a the price of .25
The road from there to our camping place at noon was very rough and hilly. Stopped at noon at the head of a large irrigating ditch which extends as far as Billings, and carrys as much water as a small river. Starting again about 2 o'clock we drove about 5 mi. when we stopped at the fruit farm and helped pick some goose berries & black berries; we were told to eat all that we liked and did so. This was quite a picnic.
Camped in the same old spot a few rods from the "old gents". Addie did some washing while I got supper & washed the dishes. The surround country seemed as pretty as ever but not so grand and wonderful. It was quite warm at noon but not uncomfortable when riding except when the buffalo gnats made us a visit.(Mother's birthday) Tuesday, Aug. 23
Another lovely morning but most too warm for comfort during the day. Roads very dusty. Arrived at Billings at 1 o'clock and pitched our tent on the prairie south west of town. Had a good dinner and all ate heartily. After the work was done I dressed in my mother hubbard and settled down for solid comfort the remainder of the day. After lunch we took a promenade around town, listened to the "boy band" and went to the court room where we listened to an able address given by Gen. G.H. Sheridan, in favor of Republicanism on the Tariff question. This was a very quiet "Rally" but the bon-fire was immense.
We then went to the comic Indian show on the corner & came home ready to retire at 11 P.M.Wednesday, Aug. 24
Left Billings at 10 o'clock, waited about an hour for Allie to complete his business. Crossed the ferry and were soon "hitting the high places".
The sun was scorching hot all the fore noon & we were all glad to stop at 12 in the shade of a large pine on the hill side. After dinner we ate pears & took a good rest before starting. Crossed Pryor Creek about four o'clock and from there to our camping place the ride was delightful; the sun had disappeared behind the clouds and a gentle breeze was filling the air with perfume (?) from the sage brush. Soon after leaving the creek we came upon a band of 2000 sheep. The owner was very pleasant and after a short chat with him we drove on to camp which was on the prairie just at the head of they canyon we traveled in the P.M.
Arriving here we saw a flock of young grouse and the result was that we had fried chicken for breakfast & dinner.
This was a lovely warm evening although rather cloudy and during the night we was awakened by the dirt blowing in our faces, and the tent moving as if it would soon fall to the ground, & we expected some rain but were disappointed in that and the wind was soon calm so we finished our nights rest in peace.
Allie will probably remember his seat at the supper table for several years, it being in a bed of thumb cactus.Thursday, Aug. 25
Left camp on old "Dock" and rode as far as it was possible for after a grey wolf made its appearance, Mr. Dock refused to go any farther ahead of the other horses.
Cloudy and windy most of the day. Camped at noon by the road side on the bare prairie, among the sage brush, 50 mi. from no where, so it seemed; but we were in reality only 20 mi. from Ft. Custer.
Had a pleasant after noon drive and arrived at our camping place on the banks of the Big Horn about 1 mi. from the Ft. at 6 o'clock. The buffalo berries were very plentiful here, we gathered and cooked some which were thought to be excellent.Friday, Aug. 26
Was awakened this morning by the bugle call at the Ft. Before starting we laid in a supply of buffalo berries. After crossing the pontoon toll bridge we were soon in the Fort and on the road to the Agency. The Fort presents a very gloomy desolate appearance to those passing by and we would think the building had stood for years.
Arriving at the Agency our attention was attracted to hundreds of Indians going to the school house; after inquiry as to the center of attraction there, we were told that the commissioners were about to hold counsil with the Indians in regard to the proposed amendment to the treaty of 1890. Allie and I fell in line and were soon at the school house where we found the room filled with Indians, and a few white people I was given a chair on the platform & thought if possible (being packed in so tight with Bucks & most of them smoking cigarettes--the day was also very warm) to stay a few hours as the proceedings promised to be very interesting. By 12 o'clock I felt that I had heard enough considering the surroundings & we went to the buggy & were soon on the road. After a drive of two miles we arrived at our old camping ground near Custer Battle Ground and here we stopped for dinner. Addie prepared dinner while I went to the river & did some washing.
Just before starting again we were entertained for some time by 6 Indians on horse back. While camped here Indians were passing continually on horses or in wagons on their way to the Agency.
We camped near the Little Big Horn by the road side in a very pretty place but I had seen too many Indians and were too near "teepees" to rest very contentedly.Saturday, Aug. 27
Was awakened this morning by the chatter of Indian conversation and the tread of horses upon the road; of course they halted at our tent. Addie was getting breakfast. Allie was at the river. She became rather nervous and called to me to come out and see my friends; this I did as soon as possible being afraid they would come into the tent. Much to our happiness and satisfaction they left before breakfast was ready; as we were about through with this meal a squaw made her appearance at the tent door and asked for food for herself & two papooses, one being about three years old, the other a girl of 20. We gave them all they wanted and after a short conversation they hitched up their team, told us of the quality of her wagon (haha), said good by and drove on.
I rode Dock for a distance of 10 mi. when I again came upon the squaws as they were camped for dinner. Received a very pressing invitation to stop with them for dinner but after seeing the food they were about to eat decided to move on. About five miles from here we camped for dinner & when about ready to eat who should appear but our squaws. They drove in by us, unhitched the team & turned them loose; by this time we saw a squaw with two small children coming toward us from a teepee near by. These were our spectators while eating after which we feed them.
Cloudy and windy in the fore noon & as we were about to leave camp the black threatenng clouds arose in the west & it soon began to rain, continuing all night about as hard as it could pour, but we were very cozy & comfortable in our tent & Allie said "It was just the boss kind of night to sleep". Our camping place was on Pass Creek near where we camped at noon going up.Sunday, Aug. 28
As I awoke this morning the patter of the pouring rain was still upon the tent roof & as I raised the tent and looked out I thought at once of Longfellow's "Rainy Day". Breakfast at 8:30 and Allie says, much to my disappointment, that we would stay in camp all day. If this was to be so, thought I would make the best of it, & after the work was done I studied the Sunday school lesson, read awhile to the crowd (?) when about 1 o'clock, Mr. C. said it was clearing up, better get dinner ready, & if it rains no more we will drive awhile this P.M. So at 3 o'clock we were on the road, but found it very difficult to travel as the black gumbo rolled upon the wheels until it was almost impossible to go at all. At sun down we found ourselves eight miles from where we started on the banks of Pass Creek; here we made ourselves very comfortable for the night.Monday, Aug. 29
Cool & pleasant all the A.M. Passed through Dayton about noon and camped 3 mi. this side. The roads were quite rough all day. Camped at night on the beautiful rolling prairie near Soldier Creek. I prepared supper and made some cocoanut candy while Addie made a cake. Beautiful moon light night but it was too damp for a stroll.Tuesday, Aug. 30
Arose bright & early, helped with the breakfast. Washed dishes & helped pack up generally. We were soon on the road and reached Sheridan about 9:30 This little town is thriving, every one around is moving to Sheridan and things are "booming" generally.
I drove from here until we camped for dinner. Very pleasant all day; passed R.R. camps about every 1/2 mi. all the P.M.
Camped at night on the East fork of Wagner Creek near a R.R. camp & and party of campers from Billings. This was a beautiful place, being surrounded one either side by the rocky & timbered hills. "Prairie Dog Town, The "birds" (?) home -- ha-ha ho ho.Wednesday, Aug. 31
After a skirmish or two with the horses we finally got started. I chose to go on horse back for several reasons and so started ahead on "Old Dock", and rode thus for ten miles or more, busy with my own thoughts and musing on the prospects for the year that was before me. We arrived at Clear Creek about noon & went to the creek where Mrs. Cash was living. We ate dinner, made a few calls and about 2 o'clock Addie, Alva & I were on our way to Arcadia (Suggs), at which place we arrived about 11 o'clock & found Mr. & Mrs. Jenkins in bed, but we were welcome nevertheless & soon settled for the night. It was very warm today but we made good time & are happy with the thought that we will soon be home. We forded Powder R. without much trouble just before entering the town.Sept. 1
We were up in due time this morning, packing our things to get ready to take the 8:30 train. After breakfast I went to the office & got a letter from C.E. Alva got a letter from father telling of a new girl at Willis'. Mr. J. took us to the depot which was 1 mi. from the store. It was not long until we were wending our way to Gillette as fast as was possile for a mixed train to run. On arriving at G. I had no time to loose as my trunk was to pack, the house & store to open etc. but as the train stopped 30 min. for dinner, I made connections all right with out my dinner and as I was not hungry a sandwich was all I cared for. This was a long and rather lonesome ride for me as I left Allie & Addie at Gilette. It was a very sultry afternoon and as most of the scenery consisted of a barren soil covered with sage brush and cactus was not sorry when the conductor called "Edgemont". Here I was to spend the night at the R.R. hotel. After a bountiful supper was served I went to my room & soon retired, but Alas! not to sleep. The change was too great, for six weeks mother earth has been our bed and the white canvas tent the covering for our heads, so after passing a restless night I arose at 5:30 & was soon ready for breakfast. After which I walked down to the depot & waited the arrival of the train which would soon take me to Hot Springs.
A very interesting couple occupied the seats in front of me & kept me from getting lonely. How glad I was to see all the friends at Hot S. again!