Friday, February 15, 2013


I'm doing some research for a story I'm working on at the moment and came across a place called The Parting of the Ways which is in the north of Sweetwater County, Wyoming.

This is where the California and Oregan Emigrant trail diverged and travellers decided whether they kept on the main route to towards Fort Bridger or cut across the Little Colorado Desert on a 'Cut Off'.  Opened in 1844, it offered a much faster journey - shaving 46 miles on the journey - but while the main route was well-watered, taking this option included fifty-or so waterless miles.  Still, some travellers were more risky than others and from 1849 it's popularity increased with people keen to get to the other side as quickly as possible.

There's something so significant about this little fork in the road: there's no particular landmark here that would make a deviation in course obvious. The only way it became ... anything was because one day someone called Greenwood (FACT) went right.  And then the people behind went right. And then the people behind. And then someone put it on a map. 

What I love from this image is that even though the wagons stopped going through here about a hundred years ago, the wheel ruts are still so clear and the sagebrush plain is still wide open.  You don't have to even imagine what it was like. Sure it's not hearts and flowers romantic, but there's something so historically romantic about this that it fills me up with inspiration.

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