Today we followed in the footsteps of the Westward migration along the Oregon Trail. This area hosts several signposts. First is
If you have looked at a NE quarter you have seen Chimney Rock.
It looks like a rocket ready to shoot for the moon.
Chimney Rock is a National Historic Site. The Site consists of a Visitors' Center with gift shop, restrooms, and museum. Outside is a small patio with this view. The site is fragile so there are no hiking trails. This is as close as you get.
The rock has been changing looks for a long time.
(Duane's a Jim Bridger fan)
Compare the pinnacle in these two pix.
The deterioration is accelerated by humans.
Inside the museum we learned that the Oregon trail was started by fur traders (Mountain Men) who were followed by pioneers, gold rushers, the pony express riders, and the railroad. Indian attacks were very rare. Indians wanted to trade and often helped. The people themselves were their worst enemies suffering and dying from carelessness, ignorance (for example drowning while not knowing how to cross rivers), and disease--especially cholera.
Continuing our journey on the Trail through the town of Gering,
we arrived at
Scotts bluff was named after Hiram Scott, an employee of the Rocky Mountain Fur Co., who died near here. There is no one bluff, rather a rocky ridge of bluff miles long. They too were a signpost along the Oregon Trail.
Inside the Visitors' Center/museum/gift shop we learned that the Mormons were so much maligned that they traveled on the Mormon Trail on the north side of the Platte River while everyone else followed the Oregon Trail on the south side of the river.
There are lots of hikes at this monument, all asphalted. This walkway runs along the Trail with a road along the left, both headed for Mitchell Pass.
A Prairie Schooner with six oxen. Heavier wagons--military or people who intended to set up stores required twice as many oxen.
We walked where they walked.
Eagle Rock and
Saddle Rock were well known.
There is a hiking path from the Visitors' Center to the top of Saddle Rock and you can drive to the top of Eagle Rock and the rest of the ridge and hike down if you wish. The road snakes around this part of the bluff. You can see two of the four tunnels below.
We rode to the top then walked around for some great views. Below is the city of Scottsbluff on the left and Gering on the right.
Drop away view with Mitchell far in the distance.
Part of the Platte River with a "toy" train in the forefront. We were up not quite 4500 ' above sea level and about 400' above the valley.
View of Chimney Rock
Riding the bike through Mitchell Pass with the original Trail on our right.
Info about Mitchell, our home until Wednesday.
The weather was perfect for outside touring and another is on tap for tomorrow.
We plan on making the most of it.
Louise and Duane