Cheyenne, WY to Casper, WY
My first stop was the Fort Laramie National Historic Site. The grass really smelled sweet there. Of course, I hit the visitor center and watched a great NPS video.
Fort Laramie was established at the confluence of the Laramie and North Platte Rivers. It was a rest and provisioning stop for tens of thousands of emigrants enroute to Oregon, California, and the Salt Lake Valley. It also was significant in the fur trade and in negotiations and conflicts with Native Americans. It started as a private trading post, then was acquired by the US Army in 1849.
This covered wagon looked small to me, but the park ranger said it was the size of some of the actual wagons. Some were bigger.
Had a picnic in the tree-shaded picnic area, with historic fort buildings in view. Lots of birds.
The next stop was close by. Two trail landmarks in Guernsey, Wyoming – Register Cliff and the Guernsey Wagon Ruts.
Sadly, there are so many recent inscriptions I couldn’t see any definite emigrant inscriptions. I had the place to myself most of the time I was there. Register Cliff is very near the North Platte River (no accident, the trail followed the river). I shot a short video.
I went to the Oregon Trail Ruts State Historic Site. The ruts resulted from years of wear (in the sandstone) by iron wagon-wheel tires, and from intentional cutting by emigrants attempting to ease the grade up from the level of the river nearby. Source. The emigrants considered it safer to struggle up the slope than to cross the river.
The wagon ruts were strangely compelling. I didn’t want to leave the ruts I had come so far to see, but it started to rain, and thunder sounded threatening.
Got to Casper. A huge rainstorm broke out just as I got to the hotel.