Mile 841-878: La Bonte to Box Elder Station

“[We] headed for the succession of creeks which the pioneers had crossed in the next three days’ journey.

The first was Wagonhound [near Mile 844]. Few knew the name, but none ever forgot the creek, and it could always be identified by description, for it was red. The soil and the rock were almost audibly red, from the burnt hue of Mexican pottery to the clear vivd tone of a madrone trunk. . . . One woman was impressed by the lurid color and the general look of drastic upheaval that she painfully crawled to the top of one of the ‘mountains of red stone’ and inscribed upon it, ‘Remember me in mercy O Lord.’ . . .

A stream just beyond Grindstone Butte, modernly called Bed Tick Creek, was apparently nameless to the emigrants; but it furnished water and a little much-needed grass. Next came La Prelle, the first large stream after Le Bonte Creek, boasting a natural bridge of rock.

After La Prelle came Little and then Big Box Elder. . . .

Through all the years it was a great moment for the throngs of emigrants as they struggled over the last elevation [near Box Elder Creek]. Behind them, low ridge after low ridge, in serried order, marched the Black Hills. Ahead, the Platte twisted through the lowland, gleaming silvery on the curves: a strange river, blurred gray and untrustworthy . . .”

[N.B. There were Pony Express stations at La Prelle and Box Elder. Both sites, however, are off the Pony Express Bikepacking route]