Celebration of Life

Moving beyond my pain and celebrating life.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Overland Trail

A week ago, I was asking Gary about the Overland Trail which parallels much of I-80 and the the railroad tracks. Since Gary was born and raised in Wyoming and Rock Springs he knows many of the back roads and landmarks. We took a dirt road just south of Point of Rocks. I love Wyoming and history and find it thrilling when I can walk in the footprints of the past.

The Overland Trail was a pioneer trail beginning at several different points. Parts of it were based on traditional Native American trails, and it connected to the Great Trail which led back to the East Coast.

Beginning in Omaha, Nebraska, the Overland Trail followed the Great Platte River Road and the Sweetwater River in the Nebraska Territory across the plains to the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains. There it crossed the Continental Divide, eventually splitting near Fort Hall. Between 1840 and 1860 more than a quarter of a million immigrants used a variety of transportation, including stagecoaches and covered wagons, to make the trek.

The journey across Overland Trails took pioneers 2,000 miles and around seven months. Most groups traveled at a pace of fifteen miles a day. Few traveled the Overland Trails alone . Most of the settlers traveled with their families. Large groups of pioneers joined together to form "trains." Groups were usually led by "pilots" who were fur trappers or mountain men that would guide them on the trails. The journey over the trails usually began in the spring to avoid traveling in the winter. Many people died on the journey due to disease or accidents. Attacks by Native Americans were rare. Many made the journey to California and Oregon because they saw these new lands as a place of endless opportunity. Once the Transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, the wagon train era ended because settlers could now journey to the west coast safely in a fraction of the time.

Overland Trail marker and stage stop just south of Point of Rocks.

Remnants of the stagecoach stop just south of Point of Rocks, constructed from sandstone rock as seen in the background. These stops were placed about 12 miles apart along the trail. Inside this structure there is rubble from the fireplace and chimney.

Overland Trail marker out in the middle of nowhere.

Looking back at where we started on our trek following the Overland Trail.

We ended up about 40 miles south of the Interstate on Highway 480. It was a marvelous day!

Wildlife is abundant on the high desert.

We are heading for the mountains for a long weekend before Gary goes back to work and I continue my search for another job. Have a great week everyone!


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