Drew is New: Exploring Casper and Beyond
The fact is, there is no shortage of places to visit and discover in the State of Wyoming. The list is long of the potential opportunities to explore and learn about. That includes Independence Rock between Casper and Rawlins, WY.
When moving to Casper at the end of May, I was driving up Wyoming Highway 220 from Rawlins when I spotted this weeks mission: Independence Rock. It may have taken nearly a month to get there, the wait was worth it. The temperature was around 70 when I arrived and only 75 when I left almost three hours later. What a great day to explore the eerie rock in the middle of nowhere that contains such significant history.
For those that don't know, Independence Rock is set along the Sweetwater River and was a very important point on the Oregon Trail. The theory was, that if you made there by July 4th, you had a better chance of making it over the mountains before winter and heavy snow started to fall. Meaning, your chance of survival and arrival to your destination was much greater.
After spending some time walking around reading the plaques and interesting information at the bottom of the rock, I started the climb. It didn't take long on my way to the top to see the first names on the rock. While climbing up and stopping to read the names and messages along the way, I was amazed by some of the time and detail put into the placing the name into the granite rock. There are over 5,000 names on the rock, some from all the way back into the early 1820's, some through civil war times and some in more modern times.
After talking with many Casper natives that were born and raised in Wyoming, they let it be known that they had visited the site in the past but not since grade school. After being there as an adult, I recommend going back and spending time reading the information and names on the rock. It will be well worth the nice drive and history that is found just 50 miles Southwest from Casper.
While reading through the names and walking along the top of the rock it's a bit overwhelming to think, some of those that spent the time to etch their name into history, may not have made it to their final destination. If you are one that "was there in grade school" to go back and check it out again.