Eastern Mojave Vegetation Oregon Trail Ruts interpretive panel.  


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  Wyoming, Platte County, Guernsey, Oregon Trail Ruts
Photographed 13 August 2018.

Oregon Trail Ruts

Registered National Historic Landmark

Wagon wheels cut solid rock, carving a memorial to Empire Builders. What manner of men and beasts impelled conveyences weighing on those griding wheels? A line of shadows crossing boundless wilderness.

Foremost, nimble mules drawing their carts, come poised Mountain Men carrying trade goods to a fur fair — the Rendezvous. So, in 1830, Bill Sublette turns the first wheels from St. Louis to the Rocky Mountains. Following his faint trail, a decade later and on through the 1860's, appear straining, twisting teams of oxen, mules, and heavy draft horses drawing Conestoga wagons for Oregon pioneers. Trailing the Oregon-bound avant garde but otherwise mingling with thise emigrants, inspired by religious fervor, loom footsore and trail worn companies — Mormons dragging or pushing handcarts as they follow Brigham Young to the Valley of the Salt Lake. And, after 1849, reacting to a different stimulus but sharing the same trail, urging draft animals to extremity, straining resources and often failing, hurry gold rushers California bound.

A different breed, no emigrants but enterprisers and adventurers, capture the 1860's scene. They appear, multi-teamed units in draft — heavy wagons in tandem, jerkline operators and bullwhackers delivering freight to Indian War outposts and agencies. Now the apparition fades in a changing environment. Dimly seen, this last commerce serves a new pastoral society; the era of the cattle baron and the advent of settlement blot the Oregon Trail.

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Date and time this page was prepared: 7/13/2024 8:17:37 AM