… about the latitude and longitude co-ordinates! And, much to my surprise, so was the American Geographic Survey of (1869?). We both came up with the correct answer TO THE FOOT and that was impressive.
Another mystery that I solved this morning too is why there’s a difference of several dozen feet in the altitude for South Pass commonly cited by those who have access to the trail documents and the US Government Survey and those who rely on modern measuring techniques.
And that is that they are measuring the altitude of the Pass at different places. Where the modern highway crosses South Pass (and where the modern figure is given) is about 2 miles away from where the emigrants crossed over the Pass.
Bryant noted “The ascent to the Pass is so gradual that … we should not have been conscious that we had ascended to and were standing upon the summit of the Rocky Mountains” and he was right too, because I walked over the crest (such as it is) without noticing it at first.
So in my expensive Palace last night I had a reasonable night’s sleep with a couple of interruptions, including an attack of cramp in the left calf this time.
Breakfast was provided so I stuffed myself with free food and then collected my frozen water bottles and packed everything away.
Much to my own surprise more than anyone else’s I was on the road by 08:30 and that’s not something that happens every day.
The Lady Who Lives In the Satnav directed me to almost where I had ended up yesterday but about 200 or so metres from the modern summit she directed me off down a track to the left.
After about 2 miles down this track she announced “make your way 300 metres to your right” but I couldn’t see anything at all that would give me a clue so I drove on to a fence about 300 metres further on where I parked.
I walked back to where she had indicated, but couldn’t see anything at first. But closer inspection revealed that the sides of the track had been grubbed out and drainage ditches dug.
And so I crossed the ditches and there we were. Unmistakable signs of wagon tracks in each direction. Right by where I had expected them to be.
I walked several hundred yards along the tracks in each direction and they were certainly heading to and from where they were supposed to be, in the footsteps of emigrants from 170 years ago.
And the provenance of these tracks can be authenticated to a certain degree by the fact that they continue in a straightish line right across where the road and the drainage ditches are, broken only by these more modern constructions.
I was tempted to walk on to Pacific Springs, just a couple of miles further on. Its waters are known to be cool and invigorating, and I could have done with some of that, but I’m not as young as I used to be and I didn’t have much time.
Back on the road and back to Lander where I fuelled up the Kia and bought myself one of those ice-slush drinks. The day wasn’t hot as yet but I had a feeling that it might be.
The road north from Lander has its moments. Some of it is quite sterile but other parts are magnificent and I don’t have the words to describe the Wind River Pass. It’s one of the most phenomenal places that I have ever visited.
This afternoon we had a tremendous thunderstorm – just like the arrival of the Demon King – and it accompanied me for miles well beyond Billings. But round about 40 miles north I started to flag and a motel loomed up in the little town of Roundup.
Much more like my kind of motel this. Old, tired and cheap. But then again so am I. As for “value for money” which is always the most important consideration for me, it’s spot-on and just what I wanted.
The air conditioner blows right past the clothes rail so I had a shower and washed my clothes. They’ll dry pretty quickly now.
Lentil soup with pasta for tea and now I’m off to bed. It’s been a long tiring day and I’ve done 600 kms, all but about 20 of those being done on normal roads.
Tomorrow should see me back in Canada but I still have a long way to go.