Coaching in Yellowstone - The Bassett Brothers

1881-1898

Copyright 2020 by Robert V. Goss. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by an information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

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In The Beginning . . .   

In the first decade of Yellowstone National Park’s young existence, there were few methods of commercial transportation services available. Roads were crude at best, and lodging facilities were few and rustic. Travel was on horseback and by pack train. In 1879 mail service was established from Virginia City, Montana to the Lower Geyser Basin of Yellowstone Park. George W. Marshall was the first mail carrier and on September 13, 1880, a mail station was established in conjunction with his primitive hotel near the junction of the Firehole River and Nez Perce Creek (approximate location of today’s Nez Perce Picnic area).  It was known as the Firehole Post Office and George’s wife Sarah was postmistress for the first two years. 

Sometime that fall or winter of 1880, brothers William Henry and Ernest Bassett began working as mail carriers on the Virginia City to Firehole route. Both brothers experienced severe travails that winter while trying to traverse the route during the heavy snows and extreme winter temperatures. In late January of 1881 William attempted to travel the route from Firehole to Henry’s Lake through deep and drifting snows and became frostbitten on his hands and toes after falling through the ice on Henry’s Lake. He narrowly escaped death when the stock tender at the mail station spotted him on the lake and rescued William. An article in the Bucks County Gazette of Bristol, Pennsylvania described his adventures thusly:

   “On the 22nd of January a stock tender on the shore of Henry’s Lake, near Fire Hole, Mon., saw an arm reaching out of a huge snow drift on the other shore of the lake and waving a handkerchief.  The stock man went to the rescue and found W.H. Bassett, a young mail carrier, fast in the snow and utterly exhausted.  Bassett had started from Fire Hole three days before.  The snow was in no place less than three feet deep, and often there were drifts ten feet high.  He was obliged to abandon his horse on the first day.  Then for two days and nights he fought his way through the snow.  Part of the time it was storming and always intensely cold.  He lost his way.  He hadn’t a mouthful of food.  He says “I ate snow so long that I was unable to eat food when rescued, because my throat was too raw to permit swallowing.  I knew my feet were frozen, but I was afraid to take off my boots, lest I couldn’t get them on again.  I shall only lose two toes and a few fingers.”

 

Articles about the episode appeared in other newspapers across the country, including the Boston Globe and the New York Times. These articles were apparently the result of a letter William sent to his father in Salt Lake about his adventures.

William Henry Bassett (W.H. Bassett) and Charles Julius Bassett (C.J. Bassett) seem to have been the prime movers of the operation.  There were six Bassett brothers - William Henry, Charles Julius, Charles Henry Bassett II, Fred C. Bassett, Frank A. Bassett, and Ernest Bassett. The Bassett family was headed by father Charles Henry Bassett of New York. By 1845 Mr. Bassett was living in the Mormon community in Navoo, Illinois, where he married Permilia Mindwell Dayton.  Driven out of Navoo by angry anti-Mormon mobs, they settled in Iowa before moving to Salt Lake City in 1852. The following year Charles Henry Bassett married Mary Elizabeth Knight.  Ernest and William Henry were sons of that marriage, while Charles Henry II, Charles Julius, Frank, and Fred were sons of Permilia.  It has been reported that Charles Henry Bassett sired 22-34 children from five wives.

 

By the late 1870s most of the Bassett Brothers had moved to southeastern Idaho, where the Utah & Northern Railroad was slowly making its way north through Idaho to Butte, Montana from Brigham City, Utah.  The railroad reached Beaver Canon, Idaho (changed from Beaver Canon to Beaver Canyon in 1884) on September 1, 1879. The town had been established around 1872 along the main stage and freight road from Utah to the mining communities of Montana.

Portraits of the six Basset Brothers, Bassett Bros. Stage Line

Photo from: Our Generations Ancestors

Family Association

Bassett Bros stage line, Yellowstone west entrance, Beaveer Canyon

In 1881 the brothers, with William and Chas. Julius (C.J.) in charge, began providing outfitting and transportation services to Yellowstone National Park that included furnishing wagons, horses, tents, tools, food, supplies, and guides. They picked up their passengers from the Utah & Northern Railroad (U&NRR) line at Beaver Canyon, Idaho, near the current town of Spencer, a few miles south of the Montana border. It was about 110 miles from Beaver Canyon to the Lower Geyser Basin, requiring three nights camping to get there, but they advertised the route as being 150 miles shorter than the Virginia City route. An 1881 newspaper ad touting the Bassett Brother’s service proclaimed that Yellowstone was the "The Eden of America!" and that "Light Spring Wagons, Good Teams, Experienced Drivers” were utilized with “Good Hunting and Fishing anywhere along the road." The round-trip cost was $25 to Marshall's Hotel on the Firehole River.  Another newspaper touted that, “Travelers can take the comfortable cars of the Utah & Northern in Ogden for Beaver Canyon, where connection can be made with Bassett Bros. through line to the Yellowstone. This line is composed of covered light spring wagons with the best of teams, and passes over one of the best roads in the country.

Ad for Bassett Bros., from July 30, 1882, Salt Lake Daily Tribune. This is one of earliest Bassett ads for Yellowstone.  Click to enlarge.

The Bassett Bros. operation apparently was a success and in August of 1882 the Ogden Standard Examiner exclaimed that, “The vast increase of travel between Beaver and the National Park has necessitated increased facilities, and Bassett Bros. have just put on the stage line four splendid new coaches for the accommodation of the traveling public.”

Beaver Canyon, partly described as containing, "scores of blighted hopes." From Crofutt's Overland Guide, by George A. Crofutt, 1890.  Click to enlarge.

Beaver Canyon Idaho
Beaver Canyon Idaho

View of Beaver Canyon in 1885

Beaver Canyon:

On June 3rd, 1882 the Ogden Standard newspaper briefly described life in Beaver Canyon:

“Up to the past spring we could boast of but one saloon, that of Messrs. Bassett Bros, and the boys that are chopping logs used to put in an occasional spree at this saloon, much to the annoyance of the more peacefully inclined citizens; but the Justice of the Peace, Mr. Julius Bassett [CJ], used to get after them and impose a fine with good effects.  Another saloon has been erected by Mr. Raymond & Sabin, but not proving a success the building has been sold to Mr. L. Harris who permitted a few dances to be held in it which we think has not been financially profitable, and the owner is now fitting it up as a hotel and restaurant.  The Bassett Bros. are now making extensive preparations to carry passengers from this point to the National Park, this summer, and we have no doubt but their line will be extensively patronized by pleasure-seekers who wish to take the shortest route and best road to see the sights of the Yellowstone.” 

Mary Bradshaw Richards and her husband Jesse Richards traveled from their home in New York City to Yellowstone Park in 1882, and took advantage of the services of the Bassetts. Travel in the park was still primitive at that time and only the Marshall Hotel on the Firehole River and the crude McCartney Hotel at Mammoth Hot Springs were available. The couple traveled by train to Beaver Canon aboard the U&NRR. They arrived in the community of Beaver Canon that they described as consisting of "a dozen log houses, two saloons and a big water tank." The hotel was not much more than a small log house.  The couple contracted with the Bassett Brothers to take them into the park. The following excerpt offers a glimpse of the Bassett operation:

    "Our outfit (two persons) consisted of a wall tent, blankets, buffalo skins, axe, hatchet, nails, ropes, hammer and wheel grease; flour, sugar, lard, ham, eggs packed in oats, canned meats, fruits and jellies; a long-tailed frying pan, bake kettle, coffee pot, tin plates, cups and spoons, knives and forks; a capital driver, an accomplished cook, two large balky horses and lastly the all important spring wagons, canvas-covered, large, strong, rather stiff in the joints, but possessing a fitness for its purpose which we soon learned to appreciate.  This outfit cost us eighteen dollars per day."

    "The distance from Beaver Canyon to Lower Geyser basin is about one hundred and ten miles.  We are to camp three nights on the route . . . Inside our new home [tent] is our furniture, viz.: a bed of blankets folded on a rubber sheet, our hamper for a table, a wagon seat for a sofa, a candle set in a bottle for an electric light, a tin wash basin, soap and towels on a pile of grass for a toilet room - only these and nothing more . . . A campfire, now having finished its blazing, is at work baking bread and boiling coffee and broiling pine-hen and ham.  How hungry we are!"

[From Camping Out in the Yellowstone - 1882, by Mary Bradshaw Richards, Univ. of Utah Press, 1994]

Bassett Brothers stagecoach, Yellowstone stagecoach

Undated photo of a Bassett coach crossing stream in route.

Many of the wagons/coaches used by the Bassett Brothers seem to have been Studebaker Excursion Wagons, designed for the tourist trade. Although the following ad calls them Concord wagons, they were not Concords. Concord coaches were made by the Abbot-Downing Co. in Concord, New Hampshire, and had specially designed through braces underneath to soften the ride.

 

Serviceable Wagons.

The Studebakers have manufactured for the Bassett Bros., Beaver Canyon, Idaho, two elegant Concord wagons. The vehicles, which are four-seated and made to order for special service, were set up yesterday and started for Beaver Canyon, where they will be first on the road into Yellowstone national park.

[Salt Lake Herald-Republican, June 9, 1883-06-09]

Life on the Beaver Canyon Route . . . What they didn't tell you about in the brochures!

"Here our mosquito-netting came into use. The pestiferous things rose in clouds from every ford or marshy place we crossed. They made life almost a burden. We fought them with our hands and bathed our necks and wrists in menthol to keep them away, but to no purpose. They were after us and were going to stay with us. In the dining-room at the dinner-station on the Camas Meadows the window panes were black with them and we were compelled to eat with our veils on, but that did not prevent them from getting into our mouths. For two long hours we were at their mercy--hard, unrelenting, unmerciful mercy. They bit us until our necks, faces and hands had the appearance of being stung by a swarm of bees. Outside of the cabin they were even worse, and appeared in clouds whenever the grass was stirred. We had to keep moving, for the instant we stopped they would light upon our clothes so thick that we could not tell the color of the cloth. After one blow upon the shoulder of our Yankee friend, thirty-four dead mosquitoes were found sticking to his coat. We were all thankful when the driver told us to take our places in the stage for our departure."

Beaver Canyon Route excerpt from Parkinson's Wonderland; or, Twelve Weeks In and Out of the United States.

Bassett Brothers, Yellowstone National Park Stage Line

Top: Yellowstone National Park Stage Line letterhead, 1885.  [YNP Archives]

Right:  Yellowstone park Stage Line pass, 1892, signed by CJ Bassett.  [author]

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In 1884, the Ogden Standard reported that business for the Bassett Brothers had doubled and that overnight accommodations had been established along the route for travelers. By 1885 the company was using the name Yellowstone National Park Stage Line. 

In a letter to a prospective client, the Bassetts quoted a rate of $25 per person to take a nine-day trip via the Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone Lake, past Sulfur Mountain to the Grand Canyon, over Mary’s Lake, north to Mammoth Hot Springs, and return through the West entrance.  Clients saved five dollars if the two-day Mammoth leg was skipped.  Around 1886 it appears as though they got out of the camping business and concentrated their efforts on stage transportation to the various hotels, in and out of the park.

The route from Beaver Canyon, although lengthy, passed through beautiful country. The road from Beaver followed Miners Creek up Porcupine Pass and ran down West Camas Creek to the broad, wide Camas Valley.  Indian Springs, near the small town of Kilgore, was the first overnight stop. The next day travelers journeyed on across the valley, skirting the southern reaches of the Centennial Mountains. The second night was spent at either George Rea’s ranch or the Arangee cabins and Bellevue Hotel of the Arangee Land Co., both located in Shotgun Valley, along the current north shore of Island Park Reservoir.  On the third day the stage ventured to the south of Henry’s Lake, over Targhee Pass, stopping for lunch at Dwelle’s (in some accounts this was an overnight stop, and later became known as the Grayling Inn). The route finally passed through the west entrance of the park to the Firehole Hotel in the Lower Geyser Basin. The Firehole Hotel was abandoned in 1891 when the Fountain Hotel opened for business.

Monida, Beaver Canyon, West Yellowstone

Modern map showing stage routes from the Utah & Northern Rail line through the west entrance of Yellowstone, and on to the Firehole in the Lower Geyser Basin. The Red shows the route from Beaver Canyon, and the Green the route from Monida, on the border of Idaho & Montana. In 1885, a new road was cut across from the West Entrance, cross-country to Lower Geyser Basin, saving considerable miles to travel. Click to expand.

Improvements to the route from Beaver Canyon to the Firehole Hotel, was described in an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, November 14, 1885:

The route to the Yellowstone National Park is to be very much shortened and improved by the time the season opens. The Government is making a direct road from upper Firehole Basin to the west boundary line of the Park at the foot of the mountain. This shortens the distance thirty miles and will give a much easier road in grades. Bassett Brothers are making a new road between Camas Meadow and Riverside Station, on Henry's Fork of Snake River, so as to shorten the distance between Beaver Canon and Riverside ten miles, thus scaling down the distances between Upper Firehole and Beaver Canon forty miles, and bringing it down to seventy miles. Most of the work has been done and the rest will be finished in the early spring. Bassett Brothers are getting a large number of four-horse excursion wagons, made especially for them by
Studebaker, to run between Beaver Canon.”

Arangee Ranch, Bassett Bros., Arangee Land Co.

Arangee Ranch

 [From Parkinson's, Wonderland; or,

Twelve Weeks In and Out of the United States.]

The route from Beaver Canyon, although lengthy, passed through beautiful country. The road from Beaver followed Miners Creek up Porcupine Pass and ran down West Camas Creek to the broad, wide Camas Valley.  Indian Springs, near the small town of Kilgore, was the first overnight stop. The next day travelers journeyed on across the valley, skirting the southern reaches of the Centennial Mountains. The second night was spent at either George Rea’s ranch or the Arangee cabins and Bellevue Hotel of the Arangee Land Co., both located in Shotgun Valley, along the current north shore of Island Park Reservoir.  On the third day the stage ventured to the south of Henry’s Lake, over Targhee Pass, stopping for lunch at Dwelle’s (in some accounts this was an overnight stop, and later became known as the Grayling Inn). The route finally passed through the west entrance of the park to the Firehole Hotel in the Lower Geyser Basin. The Firehole Hotel was abandoned in 1891 when the Fountain Hotel opened for business.

Excerpt from, Parkinson's "Wonderland; or, Twelve Weeks In and Out of the United States."

 A variety of stopping points were used along the Beaver Canyon route.   A couple of other travel accounts mention Manley's Cabin. It was located somewhere along the Madison River, about half a days' travel between the crossing of Henry's Fork of the Snake River and the Firehole in Yellowstone.  Little is known about Manley at this point, but in Edwards Roberts book "Shoshone and Other Western Wonders" published in 1888, he gives an account of Beaver Canyon route and relates the following about Manley's Ranch: 
   
"Toward sunset we reached Manley's Cabin.  It stands on the left bank of the river and is built of rough-hewn logs, the spaces between which are plastered. On one side the house is flanked by an open corral, where Manley keeps his cattle. On the other extend the open fields across which we had driven, and all around which grow the forests. Tired with our long drive, the simple house seemed a palace of comforts. In the evening we sat around the fire, and Manley told us of his life. It was very uneventful, he said, and in winter was most dreary. The storms were frequent and severe, and he was absolutely cut off from the outside world.  In summer the visitors were numerous. Many made the cabin their head-quarters while on hunting trips about the country, and others stopped, as we had, for a night. For a living, Manley supplies the Park hotels with meat, eggs, and milk. In the future he hopes a railroad will reach his land and render it worth a tidy fortune. At present, he told us, life was a struggle, and the income was discouragingly small."

Bassett Bros Stage, Snake River, Yellowstone

Bassett Bros. coach crossing the Snake River enroute to Yellowstone.  [From Parkinson's, Wonderland; or,

Twelve Weeks In and Out of the United States.]

Manley's Cabin, Madison Valley, Bassett Bros Stage

Manley's Cabin, located along the banks of the Snake River in Madison Valley. It has been described as,  "Built of logs, rudely plastered together, it is far from an ideal hotel, but seems a very palace of comfort after a long day’s stage-ride."

[Photo from Shoshone and Other Western Wonders, by Edwards Roberts. Quote from Harper's Weekly, Vol.32, 1888.]

Dwelle's, Harry F. Dwelle, Grayling Inn

Dwelle's or Grayling Inn

Harry F. Dwelle moved from Ohio and settled in an area on the south fork of the Madison River about 5 miles from the West entrance in the early 1880’s.  In 1884 he established Dwelle’s Stage Stop to service the Bassett Bros. stages that were running to the park from Beaver, Idaho.  In 1898 Dwelle’s Inn (also known as Dwelle’s Madison Fork Ranch and the Grayling Inn) became an  overnight stop for the Monida & Yellowstone Stage Co. that transported tourists to the park from Monida.  Monida & Yellowstone ceased using Dwelle’s Inn after the 1907 season when the UPRR reached the West entrance of the park.  By that time Dwelle was also running a general store and saloon.  Acting park superintendent S.B.M. Young complained in 1907 that Dwelle’s “…place has  been a resort of park poachers…the principle merchandise he deals in is intoxicants.”

Parkinson, in his "Wonderland; or, Twelve Weeks In and Out of the United States," describes his visit at Dwelle's:

     "It was about three o'clock when the stage pulled up at a very pretentious two story log house, and the driver informed us that this was where we would stop over night. No one coming to the door, we walked in and took possession. The reception room was large and airy; in fact, it took up one half of the house and reached from the first floor to the roof. In one end of it were quite a number of bear skins, and hanging on the walls were skins of the otter, mink and various other animals. The bed-rooms were six in number and opened out upon the reception-room. Three were on the first floor and three above them, arranged like cells in a prison. Those on the second tier were reached by a flight of steps and along a balcony. The rooms were all newly furnished and neatly kept. "

     "The proprietor, Mr. Dwelle, was a bachelor, and was the only person around the place. When he saw us coming he started off to catch a mess of trout for supper. Our Yankee friend and myself, after procuring some fishing-lines, followed him. In crossing a brook the writer made a misstep and fell into the water, which necessitated his returning to the house to dry his clothes. While sitting in front of the stove he was startled by a crash, and looking out of the window saw the back porch in ruins. The ladies, who had retired to their sleeping apartments for a rest, appeared almost immediately in the wildest state of excitement, anxiously inquiring if a cyclone had struck the house. Their fears being quieted they returned to finish their naps. Upon going into the yard we ascertained that a number of horses in prancing around had run against a rope stretched from one of the out-buildings to one of the supports of the porch, and, pulling the latter from its place, the whole structure came down with a crash. It was not long before our Yankee friend was seen returning. He had met with a similar mishap as the writer, only that he had fallen in much deeper water, and did not have a dry thread on him. He went to a hunter's camp, and having built a large fire, dried his clothing.  Supper being announced, we all responded to the call, and partook of one of the best meals we had eaten since leaving Portland. After doing full justice to it we returned to the reception-room, when several trappers came in and a very pleasant evening was spent listening to their stories."

In 1886 the Union Pacific RR advertised special Yellowstone trips at a cost of $30 from Ogden to the Firehole and return.  An extra $12.50 paid the Bassett Brothers to take the visitor on a complete tour around the park, with overnight stays at the various hotels and tent hotels. The trip could be made in 9 days, but the visitor had up to 30 days to complete the tour if desired.  It was a busy year for the Bassetts, as they also worked on establishing a new road from Camas Meadows to the Riverside station just inside the park. The road was a more direct route and shortened the journey to about 70 miles.

    The Bassett operation continued, apparently successfully through the next decade and by the mid-1890s was known as the Union Pacific Stage Line. Reportedly up to 25 coaches were used in the operation. In 1897 the town of Beaver Canyon was moved a few miles south to what became known as Spencer, named after Hyrum H. Spencer, a businessman in Beaver.  The harsh weather and winters at Beaver Canyon made life untenable and the residents and businessmen felt Spencer would be a more optimal location. The area was somewhat lower in elevation with less snow and was wide enough to allow more land for expansion of the railroad facilities and other businesses.  Many of the buildings were moved south on flat cars, including the depot after the railroad eliminated Beaver Canyon as a stop.  The Beaver post office closed in 1898.

Monida, Summit Hotel

Early view of the town of Monida. The 2-story, white Summit Hotel (center) burned in 1905. The depot would have been behind the rail cars shown on the right.

Monida, Monida Montana

The town of Monida in 2008, author's photo.

According to newspaper articles and other sources, the Bassett operation seems to have remained at Beaver Canyon, despite some sources that claim he moved north to Monida and began using the road through the Centennial Valley.  That route skirted the northern shoulder of the rugged Centennial Mountains, continued on past Lakeview and Red Rocks Lakes, climbed over Red Rock Pass, and wound around the north side of Henry’s Lake where it met up with the other route before ascending Targhee Pass.

 

The Bassett Bros. never received a formal lease for their operation in Yellowstone, but operated on yearly permits.  They were the primary transportation company to operate through the west entrance from 1881 until 1898 when the Interior Dept. awarded the privilege to the Monida & Yellowstone Stage Company, essentially putting the Basset's out of the Yellowstone transportation business. 

According to a letter CJ Bassett wrote to the authorities in Yellowstone in June of 1898, he desired “to conduct a Transportation business, from Beaver Canyon, to and through the Yellowstone Park.” An answer to his inquiry has yet to be located, but it appears the Bassett transportation operation to Yellowstone National Park ended that year, despite their intentions to continue the business. Figures from the annual YNP Superintendent’s Reports indicate that Bassett carried only 59 passengers in 1896 and 22 in 1897.

The superintendent noted in his report for 1898 that “The Monida and Yellowstone Stage Company have seemingly absorbed the business previously conducted by Mr. C.J. Bassett, from Beaver Canyon into the park via the western entrance, as I have no reports of any passengers by his line during the past season, nor has he applied for license to conduct this class of business.” Previous to 1898 the majority of Yellowstone visitors came into the park either with the Yellowstone Park Transportation Co. coaches or in private conveyances.  The Wylie Camping Co. and other personally conducted camping parties accounted for most of the rest of the business.

C.J. Bassett was a conspicuous figure in Idaho politics for some 20 years and died in his home at Boise on November 26, 1918, at about 67 years of age.  W.H. Bassett, former postmaster in Lago, Idaho, died in a car accident December 29, 1929 at age 71.  He was buried in his hometown cemetery in Lago, Idaho.

For more information on the Bassett family and the stage operation, visit these wonderful Bassett family history websites!


Bassett Bros Stage Line

Bassett Family Genealogies

Bassett Bros. Stage Line -2

Monida & Yellowstone Stage Co.

 

William W. Humphrey and Frank Jay Haynes formed the Monida & Yellowstone Stage Line (M-Y) in early 1898.  Humphrey boasted of fifteen years stagecoach experience, the last five years of which were served with Yellowstone Park Transportation Co, while Haynes, an astute businessman, had operated photo shops at all the major locations in the park, beginning in 1884. Together, with additional financial backing, they obtained a 10-year lease from the government to operate the stage business from Monida to and through the park. Their guests stayed at the park hotels operated by Yellowstone Park Association. The company also obtained a 10-year contract from the Union Pacific RR to handle all of their Yellowstone Park business.

Click on M-Y decal to go to my Monida & Yellowstone Stage page.

Monida & Yellowstone Stage, FJ Haynes, Yellowstone Stage

A Ride Through Wonderland

By Georgina M. Synge

 

       Sampson Low, Marston & Company , 1892

 

Enjoy excerpts from this fascinating account by Georgina Synge, who wrote of her journey to Wonderland in early September of 1889. She traveled from Salt Lake City to Beaver Canyon, utilized the transportation services of the Bassett Brothers, and journeyed on to the Firehole Hotel in the Lower Geyser Basin of  Yellowstone Park. 

 

   “We got all our outfit together at last, Messrs. Bassett Bros., who run the stages through the Park Reservation, supplying us at about seventeen dollars per day. This included the hire and forage of the horses, a guide, a lad to drive the wagons, a tent, and cooking utensils, etc.  A. was for taking no mattress - "roll yourself up in a rug, and there you are," was his idea.  But as I ventured to differ as to the delights of this method, we ended by procuring huge bags filled with fresh hay, which were most comfortable.  We also took about eight blankets and a mackintosh cover.  A small leather portmanteau contained our changes of raiment and toilet necessities, also such useful things as tools, fishing gear, and a few simple ointments and medicines.  We each wore a leather belt with pockets, containing collapsible drinking cups, compasses, knives and string, etc., which we found a great comfort. As for our food, we took a good load of tinned beef and tongue, sardines, flour, biscuits, bacon, coffee, cracked wheat, tinned milk and fruit, and a  bottle of Worcester sauce (without which no American table is complete); also two bottles of whiskey and a box of Mormon beer, "in case," as A. remarked,  "the water might be injurious."

 

    . . . We set forth early in the morning, as we had about thirty miles to ride before reaching a good camping ground . . . How delicious that first meal was, free from all the humdrum conventionalities of life, surrounded by wild stretches of country, with not a human habitation or sign of human life visible. Our bread was baked in a small cast-iron Dutch-oven, something like a gipsy's  kettle, the edges of the cover being turned up to hold the hot embers; I  never tasted bread more excellent.  In this oven, too, we could cook our meat or fish. The men [Bassett's drivers] always ate with us, quite at home and at their ease, as we sat together on the wagon seats round our little camp table.  For when you come Far West every man is as good as another, and everybody you meet is a "gentleman," whether it is the boy who blacks your boots, or the rich man who owns millions.  I must say we found them well-mannered and agreeable (with the exception of Beesley, whom we afterwards changed), and most eager that we should see everything we could.

 

    . . . We reached our first camping ground, in the Camas Meadows - brown grass-covered levels surrounded by mountains - by about five o'clock in the afternoon . . . What fun it was pitching our tent for the first time, and gathering wood for a huge camp fire, and picketing the horses, and exploring our surroundings . . . We started soon after breakfast on the second day, leaving the men to pack up and follow with the wagon . . . Every now and then we crossed a little creek, a tributary of the Great Snake River, the magnificent falls of which we had seen a few days before at Shoshone . . . We passed a log cabin near the latter [Shot Gun Creek] where lives a trapper of renown [probably George Rea].  Elk antlers were suspended over the doorway and ornamented the  four corners of the roof, while skins of bear and other beasts were stretched on every available piece of wall.

 

    It was late in the evening when we caught a glimpse of the Snake River itself [Henry's Fork of the Snake] . . . We splashed through its shallow bed which here was easily forded, and drew up on the other side, near some log cabins built for the accommodation of passing travelers [Arangee Ranch] . . . [the next day] We had crossed the levels by about twelve o'clock and reached Manley's Cabin, as it is called. This is quite a large abode, with an open corral around it for the cattle, and is built of rough-hewn logs, the interstices being filled in with plaster.  After many efforts, we at last attracted the attention of a very dignified-looking old lady in a black silk dress, who, we found afterwards, was the mother of the owner, lately settled there.

 

. . . On leaving Manley's Cabin we crossed the Madison [River] and were once more among the forests . . . Some half-way across the valley we came to the military camp, which is established at the western entrance to the Park Riverside Soldier Station].  Here we were accosted by two soldiers in uniform, who asked us if we had any guns to declare, as, if we had, they must be sealed up, to prevent our using them while passing through . . . [continuing on to Firehole] we descended the other side, the forest received us again and closed in on us; a forest so dark and impenetrable, few rays of sunlight could ever find their way within. We were about four hours riding through this, and it was evening when we at last emerged upon the Fire Hole basin. Here stands quite a little settlement, consisting of the "Hotel," [Firehole Hotel, formerly Marshall's Hotel], the stage agent's house, and a few primitive abodes belonging to men employed there during the summer months. We were too tired to do anything but eat a hearty supper, though the peculiar sulphurous smell in the air, showing how near we were to "Wonderland" at last, made us long for morning to come.”

“Toward sunset we reached Manley’s Cabin. It stands on the left bank of the river and is built of rough-hewn logs, the spaces between which are plastered. On one side the house is flanked by an open corral, where Manley keeps his cattle. On the other extend the open fields across which we had driven, and all around which grow the forests. Tired with our long drive, the simple house seemed a palace of comforts. In the evening we sat around the fire, and Manley told us of his life. It was very uneventful, he said, and in winter was most dreary.The storms were frequent and severe, and he was absolutely cut off from the outside world. In summer the visitors were numerous. Many made the cabin their head-quarters while on hunting trips about the country, and others stopped, as we had, for a night. For a living, Manley supplies the Park hotels with meat, eggs, and milk. In the future he hopes a railroad will reach his land and render it worth a tidy fortune. At present, he told us, life was a struggle, and the income was discouragingly small.”