After leaving Scotts Bluff, Nebraska for about 20 miles on the Oregon Trail, there is one rock formation rising out of the ground that is very difficult to miss. Chimney Rock!
In fact way back when the wagons rolled with the first pioneers heading west, Chimney Rock was noted in journals as the most memorable landmark on the route.
It is easy to see why. The rock stands as if alone with an original unique shape. The name it came by is easy to see too.
I had got there at sunrise to get the changing colours at dawn. It was difficult to get too close though as the grasslands surrounding are notorious for rattle snakes, not a time to go wandering too far through the rough!
The way it came to be is that it was once connected to the bluff that has receded behind it. The sandstone and clay eroded away separating it because that pillar has a harder sandstone at the top, protecting that column of rock eroding like the surroundings.
The rock stands at 286 ft (87 metres). However, when the first pioneers came through it was much much higher. Erosion has taken it down but also lightning strikes have dramatically reduced it.
I have seen many rock formations and have seen many landmarks. Chimney rock, Nebraska at sunrise is one though I will never forget. The changing colours of the stone, the miles from anywhere, the vastness of the skies and landscape surrounding. Quite a remarkable spot to be at. Unique and wonderful.