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Wadsworth in Washoe County, Nevada — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

The First Drink of Cold Water

 
 
The First Drink of Cold Water Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, March 21, 2016
1. The First Drink of Cold Water Marker
Inscription.  The Truckee River you can see on the other side of the Interstate highway provided the first drink of life-saving water California-bound emigrants had after crossing the Forty-Mile Desert. Emigrants and animals staggered to the Truckee, half dead and crazed with thirst, about three miles east of here near the point where I-80 crosses the river. The clear, cold water, flowing from the Sierra Nevada to the east, was a welcome change from the alkali-tainted water the travelers had been forced to drink for several hundred miles.

This portion of the California Trail along the Truckee River represents a transitional area for the emigrants - the end of relentless dust and heat, but the beginning of the last great challenge - crossing the Sierra Nevada. Going up the Truckee River canyon was not an easy task. The wagons would have to cross the river more than 30 times along a rough route with steep banks and fast water before the travelers reached the meadows near present-day Reno. Those who had opted for the Carson River route at beginning of the Forty-Mile Desert had an easier time for wagons, with only a few crossings of the Carson

The First Drink of Cold Water Marker - wide view image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, March 21, 2016
2. The First Drink of Cold Water Marker - wide view
River and gentler terrain. As years went by, the Carson River route became the favored route for an emigrant's final push to California.

(Sidebar text:)

"I was over come and tired out, I would travel a little and I would lay down on the sand and rest and the sun shining on me, There is no timber thare I though I would never get through and I laide down to kick the bucket; but I thought of home and it give me a little more grit and I would get up, and stager along. I was so thirsty my tonge and lips cracked and bled but I was able to get to the water and after drinking a little - I dare not drink much - I felt better." - Andrew Orvis, 1849
 
Erected by Department of the Interior.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the California Trail marker series.
 
Location. 39° 36.189′ N, 119° 20.183′ W. Marker is in Wadsworth, Nevada, in Washoe County. Marker is on Interstate 80, on the right. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Wadsworth NV 89442, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway (within shouting distance of this marker); Wadsworth (approx. 3.6 miles away); Rush to the River (approx. 5.3 miles away); America's First Transcontinental Highway

California Trail Map (from adjacent map marker) image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, March 21, 2016
3. California Trail Map (from adjacent map marker)
(approx. 5.9 miles away).
 
More about this marker. The marker is about 50 feet east of the restrooms at the Wadsworth Rest Stop Area (Westbound).
 
Also see . . .  Follow The California Trail Corridor Across Nevada (travelnevada.com). (Submitted on December 23, 2019.)
 
Categories. Roads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers
 

More. Search the internet for The First Drink of Cold Water.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 23, 2019. This page originally submitted on December 23, 2019, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 46 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 23, 2019, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.
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