We originally planned to stay two nights in Colorado but we decided to bail and get to South Dakota a day earlier if possible.
On the way north through Wyoming we stopped to see some artifacts from the migration west in the late 1800s. Just outside the town of Guernsey, Wyoming the Oregon Trail once passed, and as the wagons drove across the sandstone ground their wheels cut ruts into the rock that are still quite visible today.
It is simply unimaginable the hardships faced by the early settlers. As Sarah Michael and I walked along the trail I told her how easy our lives are compared to the olden-days cowboys who came across with their wagons. I know she couldn’t fully comprehend what I was telling her, but it was cute when I told her that they didn’t have all that we have today, including TVs. She replied that she thought maybe they had old fashioned radios.
A couple miles from the park established around the wagon ruts is Register Cliff. Into the rock face settlers carved their names and the year of their travel. Some very old inscriptions can still be found, but the wall is mostly filled in by modern visitors’ carving and scratching.
Just a little while earlier SM and I were walking between the Oregon Trail ruts discussing how rude it was of previous park visitors to engrave their names or initials into the rock between the ruts. Vandalism like that diminishes the experience for those who come later. Now here we are visiting a monument to exactly the same kind of vandalism, but it is historical and therefore acceptable.
Next we stopped to visit the historic Fort Laramie. Jessie was excited to tour these grounds, she said she had learned a lot about this very place in school. If I did, I don’t remember anything about it.
The park service has done a wonderful job restoring some of the buildings and you can walk in some of the buildings and look into some of the rooms that are done up like they would have been 150 years ago. Glass prevents you from entering the rooms, but you can look in. It is really cool.
Other structures are in ruins, but the way they stand juxtaposed against the restored buildings reminds you that this place is quite old while still giving a sense of what it might have been like long ago.