First Run over the Sierra Nevada

“Critics of the central overland route predicted that weather conditions (especially winter conditions) along the route would cause delays for the C.O.C. & P.P. Express Co. Perhaps to avoid an unsettling beginning to their new enterprise, Russell, Majors, and Waddell decided to the start the Pony Express in the springtime. Despite the springtime start, the first rider from Sacramento to St. Joseph encountered four-foot-deep snow in crossing the Sierra Nevada, and it looked as though adverse weather conditions would defeat the C.O.C. & P.P. Express Co. from the outset. Fortunately for the rider, a narrow mule-path created by pack-trains on their way from California to the Washoe mines opened the way for him. The rider was delayed by only a few hours, indicating to many that the Pony Express could conquer the critics of the central overland route.”