Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Lingle, WY

Fort Laramie
Fort Laramie was an open fort, meaning there were no walls surrounding it. The Calvary soldiers here were friendly with the Indians for many years until one man made a poor decision which started the Indian Wars.
Some of the limestone ash buildings are disintegrating, but others have been salvaged and restored. These buildings have been furnished to recreate the scenes of yesteryear. Audio tapes are available for the self-guided tours, which we found very helpful in understanding more of the hardships these men endured while living at the fort. For example, the men used to sing a song at dinner time: “Soupy, soupy, soupy…without a single bean; coffee, coffee, coffee…without any cream…”. Needless to say this song got stuck in our heads for two days. Shoot, now I’m gonna start singing it again…
Had to share this billboard with you. Now we want to know who the 6 sore heads are!

Oregon Trail Wagon Ruts & Register Cliff
These are some of the largest ruts available along all of the trans-continental trails. The wagon wheels dug into the soft limestone rock around 3-5 feet deep in spots. Usually when we’ve seen ruts before, we’d spend about 2 seconds looking at them and move on. These were truly impressive since they were so visual.
Register Cliff is a limestone bluff with inscriptions that have been carved into them since the 1850’s when pilgrims made their way along the Oregon and California Trails. Maybe even earlier, but that was the earliest date we could find. Unfortunately hundreds of people have added their names in more recent years detracting from the historic value of this site and, in some cases, practically overwriting the old inscriptions. I’m not a fan of graffiti (ok, it makes me angry) and I know that basically the old inscriptions can be called graffiti, but to me the difference is that those individuals were making an incredible journey, enduring such great hardships, to make a new life for themselves. Even ancient petroglyphs tell us stories – about animals, hunting methods, costumes, etc. Current-day graffiti doesn’t tell a story. There’s nothing momentous about “Mary” being there in 1972. I saw a poster today that said it all: “Leaving your mark is overrated.” It had a picture of a group of aspens with names carved into the bark. Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now.


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