Page:The Cambridge History of American Literature, v3.djvu/156

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Travellers and Explorers, 1846-1900

Jefferson Farnham. No library of Americana can be considered complete which lacks his Travels in the Great Western Prairies, the Anahuac and Rocky Mountains and in the Oregon Territory (1843), and his Life, Adventures and Travels in California (1849). Farnham followed some seldom travelled trails, and he tells not only what he saw but what he heard giving in the latter field one of the early descriptions of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, not accurate but interesting. A missionary who roamed widely over Oregon was Father P. J. De Smet, and his writings are among the most vital, especially Oregon Missions and Travels over the Rocky Mountains in 1845-46 (1847) and Letters and Sketches (1843).

The Santa Fé Trail coupled the Rio Grande and the mighty Missouri, as has been mentioned, by a well-beaten and more or less easy and comfortable way which halted at the city of Santa Fé. Thence on to Los Angeles there were two or three routes open to the traveller, taking any one of which was sure to make him wish he had chosen another. One led down the Rio Grande into Mexico, thence westward and up to the Gila through Tucson, following the Gila on west to the Colorado, the Mohave desert, and to Cajon Pass; the other turned north from Santa Fé and straggled over the mountains, to cross the Grand River and the Green at the first opportunity the canyons permitted (that on the Green being at what was afterwards known as Gunnison Crossing), thence through the Wasatch, down to the Virgin, and by that stream to the Mohave desert, and across that stretch of Hades by the grace of God. This trail was laid out in 1830 by William Wolf skill, an American, but as it was travelled mostly by Spaniards it was called the Spanish Trail. Between this and the extreme southern route was a possible way down the Gila, and another between that and the majestic Grand Canyon, followed in 1776 eastward as far as the Hopi (Moqui) villages by Garces the Spanish missionary; but to take either intermediate route at that time was almost like signing one's death warrant. They were not often taken before 1846. Much about the early trails and trappers and missionaries is told in Breaking the Wilderness (1905) by Frederick S. Dellenbaugh.

The Oregon Trail, bearing far to the north, through South Pass and down Snake River, was extended to the Columbia and