We stopped to have lunch as we made our way to South Dakota for a family reunion on the bride’s side. Being at this particular rest stop and being an amateur historian on the West, I couldn’t wait to hike up to the top of the massive rock setting in the middle of Wyoming.
As Easterner’s moved westward they often stopped at this rock, which is part of the Oregon Trail. Many would climb to the top of it so they could see what sort of land lay before them as they continued over-trail.
Once on top I found what I was looking for: the graffiti.
The oldest I found was from 1850 although there are older etchings in the stone. Pioneers scratched their names in the rocky clefts to let people know they had passed this way.
I took several photographs and also videoed the area as I continued to explore.
As I topped the rise I could see my bride frantically waving to me to hurry down. She was impatient and wanted to get back on the road.
I had obviously lost track of time.
Instead of returning the way I had come, I figured I’d take a short cut and hike down the craggy face of the rock. What I didn’t think about was the fact that I was wearing leather soled cowboy boots and my hike grew increasingly more and more slippery.
After stopping for a few seconds to see what the better route was to continue downward, I felt my footing give way. I was suddenly sliding down the rocky surface.
It didn’t take long for my boots to catch a rough edge in the otherwise smooth surface. The force of the sudden stop pitched me forward, and I continued downward. Only now I was rolling head over heal.
My body spilled out onto a grassy area jus’ a few feet short of the walking path the surrounds the rock. I laid there for a couple minutes to see if I had any broken bones.
There was nothing wrong with me physically. All the damage was emotional, in the form of a severe bruising to my pride.