|| I hadn't been to the
Oregon Trail Ruts since I was about 16 and I had actually
forgotten what they looked like. I had also forgotten how
deep those ruts where as well. It's impressive to see how
deep they really are and it brings home to a person how
arduous they're trip was and exhausting and how heavy their
loads were when you see how deep the ruts cut into the rock.
Just think of it! Wagon after wagon just filled with all
that they owned being pulled by oxen, followed by more
wagons after wagons, decades after decades.....Almost 160
years later the ruts can be seen today as a testimonial to
their bravery and determination to start a new life more
than half way across the continent. Few of us today would
have that same brand of courage.
The history of the Oregon Trail Ruts
is a fascinating one to me
whenever I look at the deeply cut ruts in the soft rock and
soil of the Guernsey earth. Today, you can view the small
town from the banks of the Platter River as you drive out to
the ruts just a scant mile out of town. It's hard to
picture, when you stand at the top of the hill, viewing the
ruts, what hardships these people must have actually faced
when you see the comforts of a town just a few moments away.
Originally, in the early 1840's,
when the move west was just beginning, the Oregon trail
carried hundreds of thousands of people who were unable to
pay for the expensive ship-board passage rates. As well,
many of them wanted to bring along with them their furniture
and equipment that they planned on using
to start new businesses, much of which was not feasible to
transport by ship because of cost.
So, the fascinating Oregon Trail
became the 'highway' transport for over 20 years and
extended into the late 1860's until the completion of the
Union Pacific railroad route in 1869, the new method of
transport. You can see their trail on the map at the left
and at the right, from a photo I took in Guernsey, some of
the ruts remain, a testament to the huge number of oncoming
settlers determined to make this difficult trip.
The deep ruts cut into the rocks
still remain after over a century. Some of the ruts wore
down into the rock anywhere from 2 to even 6 feet deep!
trail passed further and further west, the wagon
trains were of necessity, forced to follow close
behind each other creating the resultant ruts
which today show so deep. I believe this area is
considered some of the more impressive places
along the Oregon Trail that show the path the
settlers took and gave a hint of some of the
challenges that the emigrants would have to face
as they continued west.
|Women wore prairie
sunbonnets to protect their complexion
against the sun....visit
our Sunbonnet page to see a variety of
Pioneer Prairie bonnets
Click on Image for