Like thousands of people in 1849, William Manly was in a hurry to reach the California gold fields and find his fortune. He offered his services as a mule driver, joining a group of emigrants and headed west on the overland trail.
Manly and several other drivers became impatient with the slow pace of wagon travel. He later wrote, "... We put a great many "ifs" together ... if we had a boat ... if there were no falls or bad places ... if we had plenty of provisions ... we might come out on some point or other on the Pacific Ocean ..."
When the travelers arrived at the Green River, they found a boat buried in the sand. Manly and 6 men left the party, repaired the boat, and started down the Green River in August, 1849. The Green River was easy at first, but they soon encountered rapids.
Just below Ashley Falls they wrecked their boat and built dugout canoes out of pine trees. After many adventures they eventually came out of the canyons in Utah and were persuaded to leave the river by famous Ute Chief Wakara.
Manly and his men made their way to Salt Lake City and joined other wagon trains for California.