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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near West Wendover in Elko County, Nevada — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Tough Traveling in the Desert

 
 
Tough Traveling in the Desert Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, July 5, 2013
1. Tough Traveling in the Desert Marker
Inscription. The Bidwell-Bartleson wagon train was the first emigrant party to see Pilot Peak in 1841. Four years later, Captain John c. Fremont also saw this distinctive landmark, but from the Cedar Range in Utah - some 75 miles away. He wanted to establish a trail from the Great Salt Lake to the existing California Trail along the Humboldt River. Fremont sent Kit Carson, a member of his expedition, ahead towards his peak to scout for a safe passage across the salt flats. Carson's smoke signals from the mountain assured Fremont of a safe route and that the area contained food for the livestock and water for all. To recognize the importance of this mountain in crossing the desert, Fremont named it "Pilot Peak".

In 1846 the Reed-Donner Party crossed this valley, following the Hastings Cutoff to the main California Trail. Crossing the salt flats just east of here was extremely difficult. Stock animals perished, wagons broke down, and the emigrants barely reached the life-saving springs at the base of Pilot Peak. This "short cut" slowed their progress and helped to set the stage for the disaster that lay 400 miles ahead of them in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

As travelers today along Interstate 80, you're following the same route as these early explorers and emigrants. On a good day, they worked hard to cover 10 to 15 miles through
Where Did the Lake Go?,<br>Can Anything Survive Here?, and<br>Tough Traveling in the Desert Markers image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, July 5, 2013
2. Where Did the Lake Go?,
Can Anything Survive Here?, and
Tough Traveling in the Desert Markers
this harsh landscape. In the comfort of your air conditioned vehicle, you can cover in 10 minutes the distance it took these earlier travelers all day to cover!
 
Location. 40° 50.71′ N, 114° 12.49′ W. Marker is near West Wendover, Nevada, in Elko County. Marker can be reached from Pilot Road 0.2 miles north of Interstate 80, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Pilot Road is accessed from Exit 398 of I-80. Marker is in this post office area: West Wendover NV 89883, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Can Anything Survive Here? (here, next to this marker); Where Did the Lake Go? (here, next to this marker); Pilot Peak (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Hastings Cutoff (approx. 10.1 miles away); Wendover Will Reclaims Skyline Once Again (approx. 10.1 miles away); 509th Composite Group – First Atomic Bombardment (approx. 10.9 miles away); Control Tower (approx. 12.1 miles away in Utah); Bomb Squadron Hangar (approx. 12.1 miles away in Utah). Click for a list of all markers in West Wendover.
 
Categories. ExplorationRoads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers
 
Pilot Peak image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, July 5, 2013
3. Pilot Peak
As viewed from marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 267 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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