Friday, September 16, 2022

Oregon Trail Ruts - Guernsey Wyoming

Last week we took some friends up to show them the famous Trail Ruts south of Guernsey. We have been up there dozens of times over the years, and each time I am struck by how difficult those traveling days along the Oregon Trail must have been.  

The trail itself was remarkable as it tied together the east and the west of the United States. Travel along the trail was mostly peaceful. Most tribes along the way simply allowed people to pass along what they sometimes called the Great Medicine Road. Life for the people of the plains and foothills was difficult enough without starting battles with all the passers-through.

The North Platte River runs a quarter of a mile north of the ruts pictured above. Travel would have been much easier to simply roll along a few yards from the river. The problem was - the river was big, unpredictable, and moody. The ground was likely much too soft for the heavy wagons to travel. So - they ran higher along the ridge overlooking the river. Harder but safer.

Eating on the trail was mostly the three Bs, beans, biscuits, and bacon. Throw in some rice, coffee, and dried fruit, and that was about it. Many think that the travelers dinned on wild game along the way. Some did, others tried, and most realized that would be an iffy proposition at best. 

It would have been tough, but what an adventure.

If you live in or plan to visit Wyoming, make sure you plan a trip to the ruts south of Guernsey.