Abbildungen der Seite

that bay lying on our westward hand, whose deepest indentation is the furthest southerly point of the lake's extent, lies a lune-ehaped mass called Stansbury Island, although its insular character is part of the year entirely obliterated by the emergence of a sand-Sat which connects it with the main-land not merely at one point, like the isthmus between Church Island and the lake shore, but along its entire breadth. It is the second of the islands in size, having a length of twelve miles, a circumference of thirty, and a peak near its centre, about three thousand feet above the level of the lake. As Antelope is the continuation of the Oquirrh, so Stanbury's Island seems to be the reappearance of a range running parallel to the Oquirrh, and separated from it by the Tuilla Valley about as far as that is separated from the Wahsatch. This valley is a basin corresponding to that in which Salt Lake City lies, though it differs from the latter in cradling no stream like the Jordan. As the Oquirrh dips at Black Bock to rise again in Antelope and Fremont Islands, so does this westward and parallel chain sink at a point exactly due west of the dip of the Oquirrh to reappear in Stansbury and Carrington Islands. Stansbury Island shows that it is the outlier and continuation of a distinct range from those of the Oquirrh system, by the difference in its geological formations^ Its capping stratum is a black and gray limestone, like that of the Oquirrh, containing multitudes of fossils belonging to the carboniferous period, both coralline and crinoidal; but immediately oeneath this the jumbled strata of conglomerate and metamorphic rocks found on Antelope and Fremont are replaced by deposits of a fine white sandstone, having in places an uninterrupted thickness of two hundred feet, even along the edges where they crop out. On the eastern shore springs of water are abundant, and vegetation is luxuriant. Above the springs, the fine silicious rock rises in magnificent cliffs, whose shining white wall and castellated cornice, contrasted with the rich verdure around the clear, fresh streamlets at their base, in sunlight and full-moonlight present a picture of inconceivable beauty. Still higher the island rises toward the central dome in noble masses of barren rock, piled step on step in that singular imitation of basalt which we sometimes find in limestone, amounting almost to a deception concerning its lithological character; huge foursquare pillars and cleanly beveled battlements, vast towers and frowning fortresses, with salient and reentrant angles succeeding each other, as if by the plan of some Titanic military engineer; great culs-de-sac and deep recesses cut into the precipitous face of the coast wall; all these making the grandest effects of chiaroscuro as the light plays with their vast bulks and hollows, until the weather-rounded summit is reached at a height as great as the monarch of the Catskills, and a view breaks on the adventurous <dimber, comparing for rugged sublimity with any but the grandest of the two Sierras. The rich vegetation and abundant water on the lower levels of Stansbury Island make it the finest cattle range in the neighborhood of Salt Lake; and it would doubtless receive the preference of the Saints over Antelope as a pasturage for the sacred herds, were it not at so great a distance from the city. Time out of mind it has been frequented by the Indians; its easy means of transit from the main-land make it a favorite retreat and browsing-place for antelope and other wild animals; while the settlers of the Tuilla Valley herd their cattle there habitually.

Carrington Island, named after Captain Stansbury's assistant in the survey, is a mass shaped somewhat like a thick and clumsy fish-hook, with its heel placed southerly and about four miles from the northern promontory of Stansbury Island, about eight miles long from heel to point, six miles from heel to top of shank, and five miles in width, measuring from outside to outside across the deep bay on the north which separates the two members. It is separated from the eastern shore of the lake about as far as it is from Stansbury, by a shoal of hard, tufaceous rock which never becomes entirely uncovered; indeed, reefs of tufa and sand-flats under water surround it on almost every side, covering an area larger than the island itself. It is without springs, but abounds in plants, many of them interesting both from their novelty and for their intrinsic beauty. The sego, before referred to, is very plenty; and Stansbury, who saw it on the 17th of June, when it was in full blossom, describes it as bearing lovely, lily-like flowers, which enlivened all the gentle slopes of the island. Its inner sepals are a delicate white, soft and creamy like the calla's, with a golden-yellow claw. "A large number of other plants were collected here, among which Cleome Lutea, Sidcdria Neo-Mexicana, Malvastrum Cocdneum, Stephanomeria minor, a new species of MaJacothrix, and Graia Spinosa were the most prominent." Limestone of numerous varieties belonging to the carboniferous seems the predominant formation on this island, suggesting the theory that the summit of the range has here dipped to the lake level; as the island, though possessing an acuminated form like

the rest, does not rise to any great height above the water.

Hat Island is a bare rock, rising from the lake five miles north of Carrington, and so called from its fancied resemblance to an old beaver. About thirty miles to the north-northwest of this is Gunnison's Island, named after one of the officers in Stansbury's expedition. It really consists of two islands, the smaller of the two, a mere outlying knob of rock, rising about a hundred yards to the northward of the larger, and once, as Stansbury thinks, forming a part of it. The main island consists of an irregular ridge of compact limestone, like the cap of the range, and the great mass of Carrington Island. Its indented coast is peopled with countless hosts of cormorants, herons, gulls, and pelicans. Its northward face rises almost perpendicularly from the water's edge to the height of six hundred feet; a wall of limestone showing strata of both the black and gray varieties. Stansbury reports that the space between this precipice and the outlying islet is occupied by a beautiful and romantic little bay, with deep-blue waters so crystalclear that the bar connecting the islands is distinctly visible beneath the water. Ten miles further to the north-northwest, and about two miles from the west shore of the lake, lies a small mass of emergent conglomerate, about seventy feet high at its loftiest point, and continued under water in a shoal about knee-deep, for a mile or more northerly. From the shape of its ridge, it has received the name of Dolphin Island. Beside these, there are in the lake several small banks and rocks just large enough to moor a boat to, but insignificant and bare of vegetation. So far as I know, the only ones which have received any name, are Egg and Mud Island.

Having discharged my conscience of all duties due the geography and hydrography of the lake, I return to my party, who have by this time finished their cave-hunting excursions, unpacked from the vehicles the hampers of eatables, and set the discoverer Smith at work preparing for' our dinner. Though the proprietors of Black Rock Ranch'are still Fourth-of-Julying it at" the city," the cows are at home, carrying on their important part of the business with a weekday steady-mindedness as prosaic as if nobody ever had a holiday or flung a torpedo the whole year round. Smith, the discoverer, has acquired something of their business regularity by association; and the dairy of Black Rock Ranch groans through all its clean-scrubbed shelves and bright-scoured pans, with the rich yellow produce of his herd. There are plenty of active partners in the ranch, too, to be found among the denizens of its poultry-yard; so that we are going to have the royalest of lunches, on fresh country cream, butter, and eggs, beside a big kettleful of that savory prepared coffee, whose solid basis, to the extent of two tin boxes full, we had brought with us from our own travelling stores, and whose invaluable assistance in getting up hasty camp breakfasts we have had occasion so often to acknowledge in crossing the Plains and the mountains, and bivouacking on the hunting grounds of our Western country. Besides these luxuries were a quantity of cold broiled chicken, some loaves of sweet home-made bread constructed from Utah wheat, a boiled ham, half a dozen boxes of sardines, a jar of Crosse & Blackwell's chow-chow, another of Shaker apple-butter, and still another of hermetically sealed tomatoes, — some of these articles drawn from our own commissariat, and

« ZurückWeiter »