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Quick jaunt to see the sights in Guernsey, Wyo.

February 8, 2011

As long as husband and I were in Fort Laramie, we figured we might as well head over to Guernsey to see a couple of Oregon Trail historic sights. We wanted to know how to advise people, just in case visiting friends or relatives wanted to see them someday.

My historical imagination was a little worn out by the time we got to the wagon ruts and Register Cliff, so I didn’t enjoy them as much as I might have.

You’d think my imagination would have been piqued a little more by the fact that I was standing exactly where thousands of hopeful, westbound Americans traveled over a century ago.

Yes, the immigrants' wagon wheels actually carved deep ruts into the sandstone.

Alas, my reaction that day was “ho hum.”

Just so you know what to expect, you will find a gravel parking lot and a loop trail that goes up a hill to see segments of ruts at the top.

One of the segments looks like this:

Maybe if I had taken the time to get myself oriented to the direction of travel so I could look ahead to what the pioneers would have been looking towards . . . maybe then I could have gotten into the spirit of the place.

Oh well . . . on to Register Cliff.

High point of the visit: our tour guides.

Two friendly orange cats and a corgi appeared as soon as we stepped onto the path leading to the cliff.

The cats were quite insistent on making sure we saw the best stuff. The corgi was mainly frustrated that he/she couldn’t scale the walls with the same aplomb as the cats.

The dark orange cat puts on a “What? Me? No!” act after he smacked husband’s shoulder to get his attention.

The antics of the cats and corgi helped distract me from my despair at the condition of the cliff.

There were so many modern carvings into the rock, it was tough to tell which ones were historic.

The “most significant” signatures  are purportedly protected by a chain-link fence, but the corgi zipped in and out underneath the fence via a gap through which any non-obese human could crawl. And evidently, they had, as there were modern carvings even on the protected portions of rock.

Perhaps someday archaeologists or sociologists will find the “new” carvings significant, but I just find them sad.

Still, Register Cliff caught my attention a little more than the ruts did.

Here were some of the older carvings from the 1850s.

GO Willard! Indeed. Too bad the guy's name wasn't West.

A fancy one that appears to have been vandalized.

Such a popular month, June. Or did I mean JUИE? Or しune?

What’s with all the backwards letters?

Oh, right. Compulsory education wasn’t a common feature of our cultural landscape until 1918.

Yaaaay, school teachers!

Copyright 2011 by Katie Bradshaw

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 8, 2011 9:48 pm

    Any further reflections may bring more insight–

  2. vnewman permalink
    February 9, 2011 12:53 pm

    I’ve been tons of times and never have been greeted by three tour guides. Lucky ducks.

    • Katie Bradshaw permalink
      February 9, 2011 7:16 pm

      They were so funny! All three wove around us as we looked at the cliff. When we were done, the cats disappeared and the corgi followed us to the parking lot to witness our departure.


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