Monday, July 19, 2010

Pyramid Lake I

We followed again a broad Indian trail along the shore of the lake to the southward. For a short pace we had room enough in the bottom; but after traveling a short distance, the water swept the foot of precipitous mountains, the peaks of which are about three thousand feet above the lake. The trail wound along the base of these precipices, against which the water dashed below, by a way nearly impracticable for the howitzer.

Having advanced only about twelve miles, we encamped in a bottom formed by a ravine, covered with good grass, which was fresh and green. We did not get the howitzer into camp, but were obliged to leave it on the rocks until morning. We saw several flocks of sheep, but did not succeed in killing any.

The next morning the snow was rapidly melting under a warm sun. Part of the morning was occupied in bringing up the gun; and, making only nine miles, we encamped on the shore, opposite a very remarkable rock in the lake, which had attracted our attention for many miles. It rose, according to our estimate, six hundred feet above the water; and, from the point we viewed it, presented a pretty exact outline of the great pyramid of Cheops.

The elevation of this lake above the sea is four thousand eight hundred and ninety feet, being nearly seven hundred feet higher than the Great Salt Lake, from which it lies nearly west, and distant about eight degrees of longitude. The position and elevation of this lake make it an object of geographical interest. It is the nearest lake to the western rim, as the Great Salt Lake is to the eastern rim, of the Great Basin which lies between the base of the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada.

-John Charles Frémont & Jessie Benton Frémont
January 13, 1844

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