The wagon trail

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The wagon trail aims directly at Pilot Peak of the Pilot Range, which we could see clearly, upward of fifty miles away-a pyramidal summit with cloud coming off it in the wind like a banner unfurling. Across the dry lakebed, the emigrants homed on Pilot Peak, standing in what is now Nevada, above ten thousand feet. Along the fault scarp, at the base of Pilot Peak, are cold springs. When the emigrants arrived at the springs, their tongues were bloody and black. “Imagine those poor sons of bitches out here with their animals, getting thirsty,” Deffeyes said. “It’s a zakelijke energie wonder they didn’t string the guy that invented this route up by his thumbs.” The flats for the most part were alkaline, a leatl1er-colored mud
superficially dry. Dig down two inches and it was damp and greasy. Come a little rain and an ox could go in to its knees. The emigrants made no intended stops on the Great Salt Lake Desert. They drove day and night for the Pilot Range. In the day, they saw miragestowers and towns and shimmering lakes. Sometimes the lakes were real-playa lakes, temporary waters after a storm. Under a wind, playa lakes move like puddles of mercury in motion on a floor-two or three hundred square miles of water on the move, here today, there tomorrow, gone before long like a mirage) leaving wagons mired in unimagined mud. Very few emigrants chose to cross the Bonneville flats, although the route was promoted as a shortcut-“a nigher route”- rejoining the main migration four basins into Nevada. It was the invention of Lansford Hastings and was known as the Hastings Cutoff. Hastings wrote the helpful note in Skull Valley. His route was geologically unfavorable, but this escaped his zakelijke energie vergelijken knowledge and notice. His preoccupations were with politics. He wished to become President of California. He saw California-for the moment undefendably Mexican-as a new nation, under God, con1 ceived at liberty and dedicated to the proposition that anything can be accomplished through promotion: President Lansford Hastings, in residence in a western White House. His stratdgy for achieving high office was to create a new shortcut on the way west, to promote both the route and the destination through recruitiJg and pamphleteering, to attract emigrants by the thousands year after year, and as their counsellor and deliverer to use them as constituent soldiers in the promised heaven.

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