Antoine of Oregon - James Otis

The Falls of the Snake River

Next day, after a march of fourteen miles, we came to the American Falls of the Snake River, and supper was long delayed because all the women and girls were lost in wonder and surprise at the beautiful scene. I told them that the Snake River flows over three immense cataracts, the American, the Shoshone, and Salmon Falls, one quite as awe-inspiring as the other.

We slept that night with the roaring of the cataract drowning all other noises, and next morning we were as wet as if we had been exposed to a smart shower. The wind had changed about midnight, and the spray from the falls was blown into the tents as well as under the wagon covers, until we were so uncomfortable that sleep left us at an early hour.

[Illustration] from Antoine of Oregon by James Otis

Because of thus being awakened before break of day, we set off on the march sooner than usual, with the result that before sun set we had arrived at Raft River, twenty-six long miles from the American falls. The trail was difficult even for pack horses, and there were many places where it seemed an absolute impossibility to drag the heavy wagons with the teams doubled until we had at times as many as twelve yoke of cattle to one cart.

We were encamped in a valley, the bottom lands of which were covered with heavy, rich grass that must have been a real surprise to the animals after the scanty fare they had had from the time of leaving Fort Bridger. I believed that we might spend a full day here, in order to give the animals good rest before undertaking the mountainous trail, and was on the point of telling John Mitchell what I had in mind when Susan called my attention to six or eight wreaths of smoke coming from as many different points on the mountains around us.