Lock and Roll Down a Rocky Road -- US 26 rest area E of Guernsey WY
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 42° 15.652 W 104° 41.848
13T E 524952 N 4678784
A new historic marker at the Guernsey rest area on US 26 describes the trip over the Oregon Trail
Waymark Code: WMK2TB
Location: Wyoming, United States
Date Posted: 02/04/2014
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 5

The rest area east of Guernsey on US 26 contains several historic markers to read and enjoy.

This marker reads as follows:


The historic Oregon Trail descends from the benchlands across the valley to the river bottom below. Brigham Young's 1847 Company of Mormon Pioneers crossed to the south side of the North Platte River near Fort Laramie to follow the Oregon Trail. William Clayton, in this guidebook for immigrants, describes the trail as a, "steep hill to descend . . . The descent being over rock, and very steep . . . dangerous to wagons, but not lengthy.”

The trail followed a line of bluffs, beginning west of Fort Laramie, before dropping to the river bottom. The descent down Mexican Hill required the emigrants to lock their wagon wheels in order to keep the wagons from running away or rolling into the ox teams. Once they made it to the bottom, the route open up for a short distance before the river forced them back toward the cliffs. Journals and diaries from the 1840s and 50s remind us of the determination and will of pioneer families who pushed and pulled their wagons and belongings along this rocky road in order to start a new life on the American frontier.

Mexican Hill

The steep, rocky descent known as Mexican Hill acquired its name from a group of Mexican settlers living along the river plain below. In the early 1840s they constructed and your patience system along the river flats to water their vegetable gardens. They often traded a variety of these vegetables with the emigrants and soldiers passing through the area.

Diary of Thomas Bullock
June 4, 1847 at Mexican Hill

“we had a very steep hill to descend between 4 and 5. We not only locked wheels but have attached ropes to the hind end of the wagons with the brethren holding back at the same time. In about 2 hours we got safely through, 7 halt for the night at 5:20 in the bottom, near the river, having traveled 8 1/4 miles. A thunder shower passing over at the same time from the North directly afterwards and we saw two perfect rainbows in the heavens and an eagle flying in the air . . . “

Diary of William Clayton
Saturday, June 5, 1847 at Deep Hill ruts

“. . . After traveling a little over 4 miles we ascended steep bluff. The road runs on the top of it a little distance in a very crooked direction, the surface in some places being hard, uneven rock, which shakes and jars the wagons very much. In one place there is a little descent and at the bottom a very sharp turn in the road over rough rock. Here Brother Crow’s cart turned over. However, it was soon righted and no injury done to anything.”
Marker Name: Lock and Roll Down a Rocky Road

Marker Type: Rural Roadside

Addtional Information:
US 26 rest area east of Guernsey WY

Group Responsible for Placement: State of Wyoming

Date Dedicated: Not listed

Marker Number: Not listed

Web link(s) for additional information: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please post a photo of you OR your GPS at the marker location. Also if you know of any additional links not already mentioned about this bit of Wyoming history please include that in your log.
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Benchmark Blasterz visited Lock and Roll Down a Rocky Road -- US 26 rest area E of Guernsey WY 08/07/2013 Benchmark Blasterz visited it