“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.
Photographed 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
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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 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!
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ExplorationRoads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1841.
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. Pilot Road is accessed from Exit 398 of I-80. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: West Wendover NV 89883, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 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); Transcontinental Telephone Line (approx. 10.1 miles away); Ancient Lake Bonneville (approx. 10.1 miles away); Historic Wendover Field (approx. 10.1 miles away); Western Pacific Railroad
Where Did the Lake Go?,<br>Can Anything Survive Here?, and<br>Tough Traveling in the Desert Markers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, July 5, 2013
2. Where Did the Lake Go?,
Can Anything Survive Here?, and
Tough Traveling in the Desert Markers
(approx. 10.1 miles away); Lincoln Highway (approx. 10.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in West Wendover.
Pilot Peak image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, July 5, 2013
3. Pilot Peak
As viewed from marker
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 11, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 440 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 11, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.

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Apr. 23, 2024