Friday, June 20, 2008

Cheyenne to Rapid City

I picked up my grandson, Joshua, in Cheyenne, WY, for a week long road trip. Our first day was the trip back up to Rapid City. My plans were to stay in the Black Hills for the week, visiting the sites. But on the way there we found some places to stop too.
We are standing in the wagon wheel ruts where hundreds, even thousands of wagons headed west. This path was known as 'The Oregon Trail, 'The Mormon Trail', and 'The Pony Express Trail'. The North Platte River is just north of us, but back in the 1800s it was much wilder than it is now since there were no dams along its paths. The settlers chose to take the high route over the rocks instead of the lower, river path.
This was a blooming cactus along the path.
Our next stop was Register Cliffs. These were just a few miles from the ruts. Nearby was one of the popular camping spots for the settlers and just like people today, they also liked to leave behind there notice to the world that 'they were here'. Along these sandy cliffs are many inscribed names dating back to the 1820s. We never found any that old, but did find many in the 1850s. And even some as recent at 2003.



We then wound our way about 10 miles down the road to Ft. Larimie. Closed since the 1890s, this was an important fort for those travelers heading west. The soldiers here maintained peace with the Indians and Travelers and made for a stopping place along the way. Above is the Post Headquarters and Officers Quarters. They did have a picture of it before its restoration. It was about to fall down, but the park service has done a superb job of reconstruction. Inside it has been furnished as it would have been back in the 1800s. I believe this fort was built in 1849.

These tents were on the outskirts of the post. Here the camp women and soldiers maintained their vigil. This was the temporary housing district. Many women were hired, most immigrants, to come out west and do laundry and cooking for the soldiers. Many were single when they signed on with the army, but many married the soldiers they cared for.

Just a broader view of some other buildings. This was quite a large post compared to many I have visited in my travels.

And this last photo is looking behind what I had just driven through. We hit a patch of rain and hail. Luckily the hail was small, but they were plentiful. The ground was absolutely covered with them. It was so dark I could hardly see at times. But we drove through it all in just a few miles. Looking back, this was the scene.

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