Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fort Bridger and the Oregon Trail

What a neat day for my Mum - she is a fan of the Macintosh game Oregon Trail. We played it alot as kids, on our old Apple IIC - with a green screen. The game was a very simple DOS program, but oh the hours we would spend on it. Especially my Mum. So it was a special treat to stop by old Fort Bridger in Wyoming, a key supply point on the famous Oregon Trail.

We left Salt Lake City a bit later in the morning than we planned, and then it took us about thirty minutes to find a gas station...there must be some ordinance against having refueling stations in convenient places. Once on our way, we wound through some impressive and breathtaking scenery. The climbing hills were more gentle than the Rockies and Sierras; the fields more lush and some of the cliffs more jagged.

Wyoming is not Utah. It's amazing how crossing state lines is obvious, even without the street signs. Wyoming is flatter, though it still has its share of hills and crags. It just seems wider, more open, bigger. In no time we were at the town of Fort Bridger, population: 150. For being in a remote place, the actual fort was in good condition. All of the other national parks we visited were beautiful, and lots of money had been spent on them. Fort Bridger is a state park, but it wins the award for the most love being poured into it. Not all of the fort is still standing, some of it was auctioned off decades and decades ago, but most of it is still there: the guard house, the school house, the milk house, the commissary, the general store, the ice house, the stalls, the wagon house, and so much more. There wasn't much of a crowd. The most interesting people there were historians who travel by covered wagon and horses; they travel all the trails - the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, the California Trail, and many others. They had just arrived to the fort the day before, so their horses were getting a break while the travelers/historians relaxed by their tents and talked with the visitors. Aunt Faye, Tara and Isaac spent some time with them - which is how I know this stuff.
Isaac taking time to watch the horses munch and frolic in the fields.
Isaac and Levi patting the horses on the nose - they were thrilled to be so close to these proud beasts.
The museum had a thoughtful kids section, which included this mechanical horse which Levi thoroughly enjoyed.

For lunch we ate in a local restaurant across the desolate highway. Good food, neat place, friendly hostess and locals. Only a short drive later through stunning buttes and rolling ranges, we arrived at our hotel in Rock Springs. They had an awesome pool there: a kiddy pool,
a big pool with a curtain of water raining down, and a hot tub. It was alot of fun playing with the kids in their little pool - they loved it, even Eli.
They also loved going through the water curtain; Emma went through it a thousand times. She says that Eva taught her how to swim with her face in the water. So Emma spent about thirty minutes of our time swiming with her face in the water. She was so proud of herself. We were very proud of her!

We just finished up a delicious meal served via room service. Nothing like the family hanging out with good food and lots of laughter.

Tomorrow is Cheyenne and the Fourth of July Fireworks! Yee haw! Happy Birthday America.

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