Mile 1900: Smith Creek Station

“Before 8 A.M. we were under way, bound for Smith’s Creek. Our path stretched over the remainder of Reese’s River Valley, an expanse of white sage and large rabbit-bush which affords fuel even when green. After a long and peculiarly rough divide [Smith Creek Summit], we sighted the place of our destination. It lay beyond a broad plain or valley [Smith Creek Valley], like a huge white “splotch” in the centre, set in dirty brown vegetation, backed by bare and rugged hills, which are snow-topped only on the north; presently we reached the ‘splotch,’ which changed its aspect from that of a muddy pool to a yellow floor of earth so hard that the wheels scarcely made a dent, except where a later inundation had caused the mud to cake, flake, and curl—smooth as ice without being slippery. Beyond that point, guided by streams meandering through willow thickets, we entered a kanyon—all are now wearying of the name—and presently sighted the station deep in a hollow. It had a good stone corral and the usual haystack, which fires on the hilltops seemed to menace.”