Vintage photos of the man-made features of the Cajon Pass. Assorted photographers, subjects, eras including Route 66, National Old Trails Road, Railroad, etc. . .
Jefferson Hunt’s Mojave San Joaquin Company, a wagon train made up of anxious gold seekers and settlers frustrated by a late start across the desert in late 1849 join with Captain Hunt to be guided across the Mojave Desert along the new southern route. Tensions rise with a wrong venture into the Escalante Desert and at a point east of Enterprise, and north of Mountain Meadows, Utah, anarchy ensues and the train breaks up into two factions; those who will become lost and those who will go on as planned. Of the 107 wagons in this once large party, only seven wagons remain.
Furnace Creek, Death Valley National Park
On December 22, 1849, the ‘Mojave Sand-walking Company,’ as it became known, arrived in San Bernardino, California. At the same time the remaining ‘Lost ’49ers,’ about one-quarter of those who broke away originally, were entering the desolate Death Valley and would be celebrating Christmas Day near what we know as Furnace Creek.
There were two equally onerous obstacles along the Salt Lake Wagon Road that early-on pioneers had to overcome; on the east end of the trail, there was Virgin Hill at Mormon Mesa and the Virgin River. To the west, the challenge was the Cajon Pass.
Virgin Hill was a 360-foot change in elevation in only .6 miles (1 foot rise every 9 feet). Teams would have to be doubled up to pull loads over the rocky vertical sections of the steep trail.