Crossing the Sweetwater River

The Sweetwater River, with its pleasing waters, welcomed the parched emigrants to central Wyoming. The waters were made all the sweeter by the previous days crossing from the Platte across the dusty, alkali plains. But what initially seemed most inviting about the river – its gentle, steady flows – soon turned into a lingering headache for the emigrants. The emigrants, unlike the Sweetwater River, were not content to meander gently over the landscape. To follow each bend might consume a day or more. Time being too precious for such nonsense, the emigrants crossed the Sweetwater once… And then again…and again…and again, until they had ultimately crossed it nine times. By then, most emigrants were happy to leave the Sweetwater behind even though that signaled the beginning of a long dry stretch over South Pass and on to the Green River.



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