The Legend of Scotts Bluff

Scotts Bluff, Nebraska is a 19th-century landmark positioned on the Oregon and Mormon Trail. 

The National Monument contains multiple bluffs located on the south side of the North Platte River.

Scotts Bluff

We’re excited to step onto this trail once crowded by pioneers!

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Scotts Bluff is a landmark used by over 250,000 travellers between 1843 and 1869 and was the second most referred to landmark on the Oregon, Mormon, and California trails.

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With the van parked, it’s time to visit the visitors center.

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Inside the ranger tells us we are the first visitors of the day…. It’s 2:00PM!!!!

Maybe it’s the cold that deterred other visitors from making their way out to this historic monument.

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The ranger informs us the roads are clear if we are interested in driving to the top….

Of course we are!!!!

The Drive to the Top

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Turning the first corner, we are met with a tunnel through the rock to guide us to the top.

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Exiting the tunnel, we see snow sprinkled cliffs

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The drive is short and we finally arrive at the top to the viewing point.

Nebraska is flat!, and the bluff is not…

This lets viewers see considerably far in the distance… if the earth wasn’t round, I’m sure we could see even further!

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Tommy and Ralph take a closer look through the viewing scope.

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Wonder what they’re looking at?

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Well, you have to pay to actually look through, so they’re not seeing anything through the scope…. πŸ˜›

The view that lies before them is pretty spectacular though!

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Ralph cannot help to stare in admiration! πŸΆ

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… And Back Down

It’s been an exciting visit to the top to get a new perspective of the history below us, but it is time to head back down.

On our way, we stop on the other side of the bluff to see what views are offered from there.

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Between the sun and the snow, the views are dazzling!

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Looking back, we can see the steep rock face following the road.

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We get the excitement of travelling through each of the bluff’s tunnels going down as well.

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The sun provides a divine prop when taking pictures of the bluff! πŸŒž

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With an elevation gain of 800 ft above the North Platte River, its no wonder why this bluff was commonly used as a landmark for travellers on the Oregon Trail.

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Exciting times, travelling back to the visitors center! πŸ™†β€β™‚οΈπŸ™…β€β™‚οΈπŸ™†β€β™‚οΈπŸ™…β€β™‚οΈ

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With the sunshine on our backs and the bluffs whispering their farewells, we have reached the base.

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Curious how the bluff received its name???? πŸ€”

Legend has it that a fur trapper named Hiram Scott died alone at the base of the bluff after being left by his companions. It was then called Scotts Bluff, in memory of the forgotten mountain man.

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Through the use of journals, diaries and drawings, it’s clear why the western travelling pioneers used this as a landmark establish their bearings on the trail.

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The Oregon Trail Transport

It is now time we take a closer look at their modes of transportation.

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We make sure to read and adhere to each sign we pass.

Do snakes even come out in the snow?

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When the trail was first used, it was only suitable for travel by foot and horse. With the increase of travellers, the trail was altered to make it accessible by wagon.

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It was said to take over 6 months to travel the Oregon Trail in its entirety! We can’t imagine that amount of time with these wagons as the only means of shelter in most areas. We’re only in our van 3 months and think that is plenty long!

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On the trail, travellers expected to encounter numerous perils such as inclement weather, illness, injury, dangerous wildlife, and hostile locals.

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The trails were rugged and dangerous, offering no mercy to the travellers on their way to a new beginning.

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Typically, the wagons were not even used for travelling in. Most of the time the wagons were so full of belongings and means for survival, the travellers had to walk beside the wagon with the oxen.

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We wonder if in real life the oxen would have frozen ice on their underside?!?!?!

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Scoops and Ralph are enjoying this historic adventure!!

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It has been fun learning some of the history of the Oregon Trail, but it is time to head to the #1 landmark used on the Oregon Trail by it’s travellers.

Driving along, we just happen to come across flock, after flock, after flock, of geese!!! If you look closely you can see!!!

IMG_0557Can you imagine what they left at their last landing…… πŸ’©

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