We left Kearney at 9 30 AM, following the road which runs forty miles up the valley of the Platte. It is a broad prairie, plentifully supplied with water in wells two to four feet deep; the fluid is cool and clear. but it is said not to be wholesome. Where the soil is clayey, pools abound; the sandy portions are of course dry. Along the southern bank near Kearney are few elevations; on the opposite or northern side appear high and wooded bluffs. The road was rough with pitch holes, and for the first time I remarked a peculiar gap in the ground like an East Indian sun-crack, -- in these latitudes you see none of the deep fissures which scar the face of mother earth in tropical lands, -- the effect of rain streams and snow water acting upon the clay. Each succeeding winter lengthens the head and deepens the sole of this deeply gashed water cut, till it destroys the road. A curious mirage appeared, doubling to four the strata of river and vegetation on the banks. The sight and song of birds once more charmed us, after a desert where animal life is as rare as upon the plains of Brazil.
Burton, Richard. 1861. The City Of The Saints. London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts.