Pioneer spirit, Indian attacks, history, history, history. Their have been many battles, death, and heartache surrounding the early beginnings of Independence Rock. I first came to live in Wyoming in 1970 and celebrated Independence Day off the side of the old road that ran right next to it when I was 9 popping whole packages of fireworks. If you ever get a chance, take the trail all the way around it. Heck, hike up on top. The whole rock is covered with names, many old and a few new ones. The view is fantastic, it's like I'm a journeyman on the Oregon Trail. The camp where the wagon trains stayed was actually on the backsite from the potty stop side along the Sweetwater. You can see the actual Oregon Trail as you travel along and by it. Look for the white markers out in the sagebrush. Gold has, (in the last 30 years), been recently discovered northwest of here in the Rattlesnakes. Substantial deep hard rock gold. Travel west a little bit and it quickly becomes the journey also of the Mormon Trail with it's many campgrounds and historical sites. I'm not Mormon, but, many of those people came from England by boat, got to America and then trucked it across much of the US pulling a 2 wheeled wagon they built themselves with all their possessions on it and all their supplies. Men, women and little bitty babies. Many, as in the Oregon Trail that paralleled it, were buried along the way in unmarked graves. The Oregon Trail extends Northeast towards Casper and if you turn at the Murphy Ranch sign, you can follow a road that goes east towards Willow Springs, a fresh water camp after many dry miles after having passed Fort Casper. Somewhere out there in those hills between there and Bessemer, lie the remains of calvary soldiers hunted down and killed in a massacre. Their bones are still out there somewhere... Looking west from Independence Rock, the trails travel up past the Granite Mtns. the best place to find Wyoming JADE. This is the uneven climb that eventually tops out at South Pass, top of the continental divide, (that territory has gold and many indicator minerals of diamond, as in volcanic in nature). Before South Pass, it is possible to drive over parts of the Oregon Trail. Much of the Mormon Trail is preserved. There's also a beautiful place that wasn't so beautiful for members of the Willie Handcart Company who died when they began their journey too late. It's a mass grave set by the water of the Sweetwater in a very touching and beautiful place. Going back to Independence Rock, if you travel in the evening in the summer time, be sure to wear mosquito dope as the Sweetwater is a haven to the beasts. Be wary of the trail as Wyoming is home to rattlesnakes and skunks.
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