The Hills are Singing!
Stepping outside your normal life by traveling can be rejuvenating. We have only been on the road for a week and have learned and experienced more than we could share with others. We are humbled because we know so little about the states that we are visiting. I kept thinking of the tune, “The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music,” as we entered the western part of Nebraska with its grasslands and canyons. I am certain I heard them singing!
Pony Express Here we Come!
When I think of the Pony Express an image of a blonde young man riding the wind on a painted pony appears before me. The Pony Express lasted less than two years but we all know about it. Of course, I did not know the three entrepreneurs (Russell, Majors, Waddell) bought hundreds of horses, hired hundreds of men, and built 186 Pony Express stations all the way from St. Joseph to Sacramento, California. I had no idea of the plans and extravagant cost. Neither had I ever thought of snow, tornados, wild animals, heat, or the fact that the rider had to change horses about every 10 miles. I just imagined that the young man rode as fast as he could until he dropped!
If you live near Kansas City, a daytrip to St. Joseph to the Pony Express Museum could make your day. The place is like a repository for saints. They have uncovered the lives of many of the men who rode the ponies or worked for the Pony Express. An inviting video explains how imagination and an adventurous spirit made the Pony Express come to life. Too bad newer technology, the Telegraph, put the men out of business.
Take A Swim!
We are heading toward Glacier National Park and decided we would make a visit to Nebraska again. (Have you noticed that the park is burning? We hope we are allowed to enter on the west entrance,) Nebraska doesn’t boast about its natural beauty but it is a gem. One of the most outstanding natural beaches in Nebraska is at McConaughy’s Reservoir. If Florida is too far to travel for a beach experience, head north. The white sandy beaches are gorgeous.
One of my favorite places in Nebraska is Scott’s Bluff National Monument. The views from the hill above the visitor’s center are beyond description. While visiting Scott’s Bluff we stayed at the city campground, Riverside, where the locals greeted us with kindness and corn! True!
Scott’s Bluff is a place where at least 350 thousand people headed west in search of their dreams, gold, adventure, or the divine. More than 20,000 died along the way of cholera, small pox, starvation, the cold, bullet wounds, or crushed by their oxen.
The destruction to the landscape by these trekkers was horrendous. Their trek reminds me of devastation done by miners in Alaska during the gold rushes. They pillaged the land and rivers as they dug into them, and in the process destroyed the lives of many native Alaskans who lived off the land. The above trekkers, who were heading along the Oregon Trail, cut down all of the trees, poisoned the water, and killed off all the buffalo around and in the North Platte River. Native Americans were left with an empty, useless land, and water that could kill! Cholera! It is no wonder that war broke out!
Mormons made up a large number of travelers heading west. We camped at Mormon Island where thousands of Mormons stopped and wintered before heading west. This past year I read a biography of Brigham Young, by John Turner. It was an eye-opener. While many worship Young, this writer painted a picture of a selfish powerful king and ruthless entrepreneur. The #me too! movement had not begun yet!
In order to save money, Young decided that it was costing too much to bring converts to Utah by wagon. He devised the strategy of requiring people to pull or push their belongings in carts across the country. How many people do you think made it across the mountain ranges pushing a cart?
Today we visited Fort Casper in Wyoming where Young built a ferry in a few days because he was having trouble crossing the North Platte River. Afterwards he left behind seven men to run the ferry and collect money from those heading west, even converts! He was, indeed, a shrewd businessman!
We are now traveling through Wyoming. The sky is gray/grey (from smoke) and the dust stings our eyes. There are oil wells and coal mines everywhere. It reminds us of the Texas oil fields and Williston, North Dakota. We hit Ft. Laramie, Ft. Casper, and are now in the historic town of Thermopolis and its hot springs! Next is Cody, then Yellowstone, and then we head for Montana!
Come with us!
As always this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge