Saturday morning, November 17, 1849, at 8:00 a.m. the Rich company was on its way, continuing southeast down the Pahranagat Wash, through Arrow Canyon, “traveling mostly in its bed. After traveling about 10 miles” they came to a more unusual portion of the canyon than they’d seen the day before. The canyon narrowed to “about ten yards wide.” On “either side” of the canyon was “a solid mass” of “perpendicular” rocks from “500 to 1,000 feet high.”
The dam across Arrow Canyon, below, was built by the CCC in the 1930s.The following picture was taken from the top of the dam.
Mormon Peak from the mouth of Arrow Canyon.
Below, the Warm Springs form the Muddy River. It runs 30 miles southeast through the Moapa Valley and empties into the Virgin River. There is a “Warm Springs Monument” dedicated to George Q. Cannon, Charles C. Rich, Henry W. Bigler and James H. Rollins just outside the gate of the property owned by the LDS Church. It was erected as an Eagle Project by Chad Thornton in February 1997.
Below, California Crossing, where the Old Spanish Trail crossed the Muddy River. The Muddy is now surrounded by tamarisk trees that make it nearly impossible to get near it. The trees in the background of the picture mark the Muddy which is just beyond and below them.
Later, the men of both companies exchanged information about the events which had taken place since they had last seen each other. Rich, from the reports of the six men that had joined them at Beaver Dam Wash, brought “sad and heartrending news from the great emigrant company, which had broken into factions and become perfectly demoralized and confused. Some had taken packs on their backs and started on foot, their cattle dying, their wagons abandoned.” Rich noted that his company had “very hard times in the mountains, had lost some of their animals and expended nearly all of the provisions.” Rich “tried to have Captain Smith return with him,” but Captain Smith “was determined to find a road through to California or die in the attempt.” However, the parting may have been a blessing, as it had been reported that some of Captain Smith’s men were “threatening” them “with their rifles if” they “did not divide” their provisions “with them.” Captain Hunt reported that at the time the “train of 100 wagons had” left him to follow the Rich and Smith companies, he felt his life was threatened. The threatening element had departed with the break-off wagon train, but Hunt had been left “with enough men to go through in safety.” In retrospect, both companies had been “separated from the train” under similar circumstances and delivered from difficult situations. They “felt to return thanks to” their “Heavenly Father.” The feeling was that the main wagon train would “perish” if they did not go “back out,” for they were “sure they” could not take the route the Rich company had followed. “As for Captain Smith,” they felt he was “a goner if” he did not “beat” it “down south on to the Spanish Trail.” George Cannon reminisced: “It was with a feeling of great relief that we reached the Spanish Trail. We were tired of traveling on a ‘cut-off,’ and to say that a certain road was a ‘cut-off’ to anyone of the company during the remainder of that journey was sufficient to prejudice him against it. To this day I have a dislike for ‘cut-offs.’”
Henry Bigler obtained “some crackers” and “thought it the best eating” he had ever had, noting “I naturally like to eat hard bread anyhow.” That evening, James Brown approached Bigler about going with him and Brother Pratt “to the islands, saying that Brother Pratt wanted” him to go “and that he had heard Brother Pratt ask Brother Rich how he would like to swap-off one of his men for Brother Blackwell.” Brother Rich said he “had no objections” if “it was agreeable between the parties.” Bigler told Brown he did not want to go.
On Monday, November 19, 1849, both the Rich and Hunt companies “remained in camp to recruit” their animals and “replenish” their “provisions.” Charles Rich and Jefferson Hunt had “authority from the Church to transact” business on behalf of the Church.” They used “their authority” to obtain a “yoke of oxen” from some men in the Hunt company that at first “were quite unwilling to give them up,” but later, “consented to do so.” Rich and Hunt “sold the” oxen “to Dallas,” a member of the nearby wagon train, “for provisions to fit out Rich’s company to cross the deserts into California.” Rich indicated “that both” the water and the grass were “so full of saleratus [alkali] that it was injurious” to their animals. “Some Indians came to” them and “appeared quite friendly.” They , “said they belonged to the Pahvants and were at war with the Paiutes which are the owners of this country…Many of them could talk Spanish, and when they found that several men in” their “company could speak” Spanish, “they avoided conversation” with them “as much as possible.” They “concluded they were mission Indians” that “had run away from California and were now on their way there to steal horses.” They “burned charcoal and made nails to shoe” their cattle. They had “to throw the animals down and hold them while Apostle Charles C. Rich shod them.” James Brown recalled that “Brother Rich did his work well, for the shoes never came loose till they wore off.” During the “evening, a Dutchman” came into camp “who had left Smith’s” company. “He was robbed by the Indians of nearly all of his provisions.”
The next day, they would leave the Muddy River to cross the desert to Las Vegas springs.