Sunday May 26, 1850
Stopping Point: Independence Rock (Wyoming)
Approximate Miles Traveled:
GPS Latitude: 42° 29.725′ N; Longitude: 107° 08.010′ W
Elevation: 5,907 ft
Notes about this post: Independence Rock, located in present day central Wyoming, is one of the most interesting places along the trail west. It marked the end of the easiest part of the journey and the beginning of the more desolate and rugged part of the trail. It is a gigantic granite boulder protruding from the ground that emigrants found easy to climb when they rested here. They had been following the Platte River for quite some time, but have left it and have recently been following the Sweetwater River, a river that is much smaller than the Platte but still is able to provide plenty of water and grass. Emigrants used this rock to record their names and dates of travel, much like they did at Register Cliff, but this rock is hard granite so carving names, etc. was usually done with a chisel. Some used axle grease to write, but the ones who used a chisel left a mark that still exists today. Many of the names have eroded to the point that they are difficult (or impossible) to read, but the Oregon-California Trails Association has published a book of as many names as can be determined. The picture (below) called “an emigrant’s view” is a view from atop Independence Rock looking south with the Sweetwater on the right. The terrain is almost unchanged from the 1850’s, so the view is close to what the emigrants saw when they stood on this exact spot.
May the 26th 1850 we were at the Rock Independence resting are mules as it was the saboth day, The Rock Independence is a very Larg Rock with, perhaps 5 Thousand or more names on it. I took a Cold Chisel & Hatchet then Engraved my name on the south side, as it is such a noted Place for names to stand For Ever the Rock is about 6 Hundred Yards Long, 120 Yards wide, about 150 Feet High- Composed of Hard Granite with a very pritty stream of rock this day I passed of In making dried apple Pies, Cooking Rice Baking Bread etc, we had a Big diner on that day, ___ Fried Ham, Rice, warm Bread, Pies, Coffee, Pickels, dried venison A very fine Fruit Cake, (that Jakes mother Baked Before we left) toped off with some pickled Onions, The greatest diner we had since we are on the road