After leaving Salt Lake, the Royces, with a few additions to their party, headed in to the desert and literally missed their turn. They ended up far into the wasteland, with little food and water. A situation, Royce remembered, “so new and unexpected, that it seemed for a while to confuse—almost to stupefy—most of the little party.” Their oxen were starving and they fed them the ticking from their mattresses… rationing what little water they had to make it last.
After much debate, the group turned back to search for a place where they could feed the livestock and get more water. They met a small wagon train on the way, and though those folks could spare no supplies, they did ensure Royce’s group made it back to the “Humboldt Sink” where water and grass were plentiful. It would be this chance meeting that Royce later credited with saving her family’s lives.
After finding the Sink and resting, the group headed back out into the desert. This time they found the right road, successfully crossed the desert and made it to the foot of the Sierra Mountain Range. By this stage of their journey, they were short of food and exhausted. Snow was already flying in the mountains, posing yet more danger.