Miles Wide and Inches Deep

“The Platte resembled no river any of the emigrants had ever seen before, contradicting their idea of a ‘normal’ stream. It was miles wide and inches deep; thanks to Indian-set prairie fires and grazing buffalo, no timber grew on its banks; and it seemed to flow almost higher than the surrounding country . . . ‘The river is a perfect curiosity, it is so different from any of our streams that it is hard to realize that a river should be running so near the top of the ground without any timber, and no bank at all.”