John App’s May 30, 1850, Gold Rush Diary Entry

Thursday May 30, 1850

Route: Crossed over South Pass (Wyoming)

Approximate Miles Traveled:

GPS Latitude: 42° 22.738′ N; Longitude: 108° 55.288′ W

Elevation: 7,618 ft

Notes about this post: It is not possible to drive to John’s exact location, but these coordinates are on his trail. On the east side of South Pass (the Continental Divide) there is a small place called Atlantic City, and on the west side there is a place called Pacific Springs. It is no accident that these are named in this way. Water on the east side of the divide flows toward the Atlantic Ocean and water on the west side flows toward the Pacific Ocean. The emigrants always looked carefully at which direction the water was flowing in the streams when they neared this area as evidence of when they actually crossed the Continental Divide. Sometimes they paused and celebrated. The “pass’ is actually about 20 miles wide and not everyone crossed at exactly at the same spot. Today, wagon wheel ruts (or tracks) are still clearly visible as the trail winds west. They look similar to the unimproved road tracks that cars and trucks make when traveling overland, but these marks were actually made by the wagons. The ground is so dry and hard-packed that the tracks still remain clearly visible.

May the 30 th we Passed the summit or dividing Ridge of the Rocky Mountains  had a very heavy frost that night.

South Pass looking west
South Pass looking west

About storiesretoldblogger

I am an Elkhart, Indiana native and became interested in applying video to history when consumer video cameras were first introduced on the market in the late 1970’s. My production company, Stories Retold, specializes in preserving oral history, traditions, and values with video. Primarily interviewing individuals, I sometimes document families, and on occasion document an entire community. My niche is developing a personal relationship with clients which helps me to tell their story just the way they would like to have it told. Everyone has a story worth preserving, and I enjoy discovering interesting stories from people with whom I come into contact on a daily basis. In years to come, these videos will be priceless as they portray original stories complete with visual images and actual voices filled with all the primary material and emotion that was intended to be. I gain a strong sense of personal satisfaction with each completed project whether it involves an individual or an entire community.
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