When we checked the Travel Ideas by State list that we keep in Notes on our iPhones, we remembered that one of the places we’ve been wanting to visit is the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, Wyoming. Today we enjoyed the excellent multi-media presentations that bring to life the history of travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific from prehistoric times to the age of the railroad. We even got to experience a simulated river crossing in a covered wagon and a stage coach ride! Beginning with the Corps of Discovery lead by Lewis and Clark in 1804, explorers and missionaries led the way into lands that had once been the exclusive province of Native Americans. Then beginning in 1841 a trickle of settlers began traveling the Oregon Trail, joined later that decade by Mormons headed to the Salt Lake Valley, and by decade’s end ’49ers joining the California Gold Rush, the trickle had turned to a torrent of travelers, around 400 thousand in all, seeking wealth of one kind or another, land, religious freedom, or gold. The significance of the location of Casper is that for all three of the covered wagon trails this was the Last Crossing of the Platte River. We are fascinated with the stories of these migrations via covered wagon that continued until the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869.

The setting for the museum is spectacular, overlooking the city of Casper which saw its beginnings in providing assistance to the travelers of these trails.

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Arctic Circle Ceremony

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