In reviewing my diary, preparatory to its publication, I have occasionally eliminated an expression that seemed to be too personal,—a sprinkling of pepper from the caster of my impatience,—and I have also here and there added an explanatory annotation or illustration. With this exception I here present the original notes just as they were penned under the inspiration of the overwhelming wonders which everywhere revealed themselves to our astonished vision; and as I again review and read the entries made in the field and around the campfire, in the journal that for nearly thirty years has been lost to my sight, I feel all the thrilling sensations of my first impressions, and with them is mingled the deep regret that our beloved Washburn did not live to see the triumphant accomplishment of what was dear to his heart, the setting apart at the headwaters of the Yellowstone, of a National “public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”
Nathaniel Pitt Langford.
St. Paul, Minn., August 9, 1905.
[Illustration: The Author]
Wednesday, August 17, 1870.—In accordance with the arrangements made last night, the different members of our party met at the agreed rendezvous—the office of General Washburn—at 9 o’clock a.m., to complete our arrangements for the journey and get under way. Our party consisted of Gen. Henry D. Washburn, Cornelius Hedges, Samuel T. Hauser, Warren C. Gillette, Benjamin Stickney, Truman C. Everts, Walter Trumbull, Jacob Smith and Nathaniel P. Langford. General Washburn has been chosen the leader of our party. For assistants we have Mr.—— Reynolds and Elwyn Bean, western slope packers, and two African boys as cooks. Each man has a saddle horse fully rigged with California saddle, cantinas, holsters, etc., and has furnished a pack horse for transportation of provisions, ammunition and blankets. There are but few of our party who are adepts in the art of packing, for verily it is an art acquired by long practice, and we look with admiration upon our packers as they “throw the rope” with such precision, and with great skill and rapidity tighten the cinch and gird the load securely upon the back of the broncho. Our ponies have not all been tried of late with the pack saddle, but most of them quietly submit to the loading. But now comes one that does not yield itself to the manipulations of the packer. He stands quiet till the pack saddle is adjusted, but the moment he feels the tightening of the cinch he asserts his independence of all restraint and commences bucking. This animal in question belongs to Gillette, who says that if he does not stand the pack he will use him for a saddle horse. If so, God save Gillette!
[Illustration: Packing A recalcitrant Mule.]