The Corps would have to hike 18 miles to get around the five waterfalls. They left their heaviest boat and equipment hidden near the base of the falls. The other canoes and supplies were carried, dragged, and pushed. The Corps created makeshift wagons. When the wind was strong, they attached the boat sails to help move the equipment.
The ground was rocky, uneven, and hard. Prickly pear cactuses were everywhere. The Corps wore through their moccasins every two days. The intense heat of the summer sun was interrupted by violent storms, with thunder, rain, and hailstones the size of eggs. Swarms of gnats and mosquitoes pestered them. Rattlesnakes and grizzly bears were a constant threat.