Friday, June 3, 2011

Register Cliff and Oregon Ruts

The Martin family continued to explore the rich history of the state of Wyoming by visiting two side-by-side historical sites. The first of these two sites was Register Cliff. Beginning with fur trappers in the late 1700s, people have been leaving their names and dates on this sandstone cliff for over 200 years. Register Cliff was a stopover for pioneers on the Oregon. Mormon and California Trails and many of these travelers inscribed their names on this cliff, along with soldiers from nearby Fort Laramie and settlers and ranch hands from the local area. Today tourists still illegally carve their names in the cliff.

While we enjoyed looking for the oldest signed date we could find, we really enjoyed the wildlife in the park, including a baby rattlesnake and many cliff swallows that had made their nests in the sandstone walls. The baby rattler was especially exciting for our boys and we had to restrain them from getting too close to the crag in the cliff in which he was trying to hide in.

Next we headed over to the Oregon Ruts National Historic Site. Here you can see actual ruts that the heavy prairie schooner and army wagons carved into the stone as thousands upon thousands of settlers and fortune seekers made their way to the west coast or the Great Salt Lake Basin. It is a pretty cool site but once again we were given quite a thrill by the wildlife here at this park. First we spotted a red-tailed hawk swooping through the air trying to get away from a horde of angry cliff swallows. Very breathtaking to see.

Later, as we walked the path to the ruts, we spotted a little toad. The little boys thought it quite funny that it “peed” in my hands. The bigger thrill was soon to come as Blake grabbed Tanner just as he was about to step on a blue racer, which is really a green snake and was blending quite nicely into the grass. This snake was over two feet long and was as nervous to see us as we were to see him. Still we got some nice photos before he slithered away into a safer abode.

Further on the trail we nearly jumped out of our skin as we spotted another huge snake, at least four feet long. They were getting bigger. But fortunately or sadly, depending on your view on snakes, this big bull snake was dead, but freshly dead. It took us a few moments to ascertain this, but soon we breathed a sigh of relief and I even got a stick to pick the dead guy up with and move him away from a sign. We still left him near the path to scare the googly-moogly out of the next tourists! After all we wouldn’t want to deprive them of a story to tell their friends and family back home!

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