Heading West through the open countryside of Wyoming, along State Highway 220, you not fail to miss Independence Rock. Such is its unique feature, standing out to the flat ground around, it is a landmark today as it was for those passing by on the Oregon Trail in the middle of the 1800s. Like a huge rock pebble rising up out of the flat desert I can describe it.
For the people travelling by in their wagons back then it was normally early July when they reached this point on their long, long journey. Independence day is 4th of July and this was the point to be at by then so as to get past the Rockies later before the snow starts. Many of the pioneers carved their names into the rock’s side, giving it another nickname back then of ‘The Register in the Desert’.
Often compared in similarities to rocks like Uluru in Australia though smaller at about 130 feet (40 m) in height. The circumference is just over a mile. It was actually once the top of a mountain rising high, a mountain that sunk back down. Wind and silt has effectively sandblasted away at it over thousands and thousands of years creating the smooth surface you see today.
In the days before roads, the days before signs, the significance of the great prominent rocks on this route to lead the early travellers, cannot be underestimated. They had left their mark on the pioneers just as they did on the rock.