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Transportation

Three Crossings

Oregon Trail emigrants along the Sweetwater River came to a place where steep hills forced them to cross the stream three times within two miles—a dangerous option at high water—while a detour through deep sand was safer but slower: just another day on a long journey with hard choices.

Rocky Ridge

Their wagons lurching over sharp boulders up a steep grade, westbound emigrants found a particularly difficult stretch of trail about 40 miles east of South Pass. The late-starting Willie Company of Mormons pulling handcarts suffered terribly here in 1856. For many, the end of the journey was a grave.

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Encyclopedia | Seven pioneer graves survive in Wyoming from 1852, when more emigrants traveled the Oregon Trail than any other year. Near Fort Laramie, Mary Homsley and her baby died from measles, nearly as deadly as cholera at the time. She is buried under a stone on which her husband scratched her name.
Encyclopedia | Pacific Springs, just west of South Pass, offered Oregon Trail emigrants their first good water after crossing the Continental Divide. From the east-flowing rivers and streams they had followed for so many miles, the pioneers had finally arrived at water that would end up in the Pacific Ocean.
Encyclopedia | Deep, crystal-clear waters with snow-capped views greeted emigrants as they arrived at the final crossing of the Sweetwater River near South Pass. At times, hundreds of travelers waited impatiently for makeshift ferries, hoping to outrun the cholera they feared was being carried toward them by parties farther back along the trail.
Encyclopedia | On an open, sagebrush plain west of South Pass, emigrants had to decide whether to continue southwest toward Fort Bridger and California or straight west--across 50 waterless miles—toward Fort Hall and Oregon.  Many pioneers parted here, expecting never to see each other again.
Encyclopedia | In a U.S. Army career spanning three wars and four decades, Paul Kendall, of Sheridan, Wyo., never forgot the moment when his platoon, guarding a Siberian rail link, was attacked one night at 30 below—by an armored train full of Bolshevik partisans.
Encyclopedia | Names Hill, a cliff of soft sandstone by the Green River, was a popular stopping place for travelers on the Sublette Cutoff of the Oregon Trail. Many emigrants inscribed or painted their names on the cliff face. But earlier people, too, had left marks on the cliff.
Encyclopedia | Oregon Trail emigrants along the Sweetwater River came to a place where steep hills forced them to cross the stream three times within two miles—a dangerous option at high water—while a detour through deep sand was safer but slower: just another day on a long journey with hard choices.
Encyclopedia | Iced drinks on the Oregon Trail? Early emigrants refreshed at the fabled Ice Springs near the Sweetwater River—now known as Ice Slough. But after a decade of trailside chopping and trampling, the spot became less attractive. Later travelers felt deceived by the stories they had heard.

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