Travel and Fates: Set #2

Travel & Fate card 23 A
Register Cliff
(2.8 miles southeast of Guernsey, Wyoming)

Mile 658
July 12

Phew! Breathless, hot, and sweaty... Here you've been following the "hill" road outside of Fort Laramie. Finally, your wagon captain has decided to call a short halt to rest your animals at the base of this landmark named Register Cliff.

Hey kids, while the parents are busy watering and grazing the stock, Lucy invites all of you between 8-14 years old to scramble up the cliff and engrave your initials into the soft rock at the top. Will you stick close to the wagons or follow the others up the hill?

(Discuss and decide what you will do, then read the fate)

Fate: (For those who stayed close to the wagon) You safely and promptly begin walking along side the dusty trail. You will be safe tonight. (For those who decided to follow Lucy) You never asked your parents for permission to climb to the top! They didn't even know you had gone. So when the wagons begin to move, nobody misses you. They just think that you will fall-in beside the trail as you've always done. But, of course, you don't. You're accidentally left behind - lost with Lucy and the rest... Considering the danger from local Indians what will you do? How will you find your families again? You must all meet and decide your plan. For homework tonight, write a paragraph explaining what you and the group plans to do to re-join the group. Your life depends on homework tonight! (Remember what happened last time to those who didn't do it!) Your final fate will be read after you meet and complete the assigned paragraph.

Travel & Fate Card 23 B
Warm Springs
(About 2.5 miles west of Guernsey, Wyoming)

Mile 662
July 12

Dusk is the lingering light in the early evening sky. You and your stock animals are tired and weary from another day on the dusty trail. You intend to find relaxation and relief from the two free flowing springs, one gushing from a ledge a of a rock and the other bubbling up in a large pool. Although the water is not warm as its name might suggest, at least its not as cold as the other springs generally found among the hills. The children have been gathering firewood for evening supper. But as supper nears, you and the others discover that several children are missing. What has happened? Are they hiding? Have they been captured? Are they lost? When did you see them last?

Forget the chance to relax around the springs! You must have a meeting with nearby wagons and decide what to do.

(After the discussion, read the fate)

Fate: Hopefully you all decided to send out a search party on horseback to locate the missing children. You spend most of the night backtracking in the dark, looking for Lucy and friends. You come across several Indians on ponies and you consider trading some food (you decide how much) for information. Will you? In spite of your trade, the Indians know nothing. So they have your food. And you're still in the dark - literally - in terms of finding the lost children. So your search continues. You find only those children that have (for homework) written up a plan to rejoin the wagon train and parents. Those who did not do the homework? Hopefully your teacher will be generous and allow you to find your way back to Fort Laramie and follow along in a wagon train behind ours, or you perish!

Travel & Fate Card 24
Ayers Natural Bridge
(12 miles west of Douglas, Wyoming)

Mile 724
July 13

You've read about this place in your Emigrant's Traveler's Guide. They say it's an incredible solid rock bridge over a rapid torrent in a red rock canyon. But it's a ways off the trail. And then quite a climb down. Are there Indians about? Will you go for it? Or stick to the trail?

(Decide and discuss who will take this little adventure, then read the fate.)

Fate: Hopefully some of you go for it. But you're unable to get all the way down the 300 foot perpendicular cliff because of the "almost impervious thicket" to the water below. You do catch sight of the natural bridge, though. And it's natural and unusual beauty is something you can hold in your memory forever. You return to tell the others what they missed. Besides, you do get about two quarts of berries. You might like to ask anyone that didn't go, who has a milk cow, to trade some fresh cream for berries. If your trade is successful you have a fantastic supper of sweet fresh berries and cream!

(Teacher's note: This is an opportunity to bring in berries and fresh cream for a authentic snack)

Travel & Fate Card 25
Reshaw's Bridge
(3 miles northeast of Casper, Wyoming)

Mile 761
July 17

Torrential thunderstorms slash down on you for days. Not only is the trail muddy and the contents of your wagon soaked, but this deluge has caused the creeks and rivers to flow high and fast. And now you've reached one of the biggest rivers of all: the North Platte. The good news is that there is a bridge that crosses the North Platte here. It's called the John Richard Reshaw Bridge. But it costs $5 a wagon to cross it and $1 for each animal. (How much money do you have left?) If you can't or won't pay the toll, you can risk waiting until the storm subsides and the water level drops to then ford the river. What will you do?

(Discuss and make a choice, then read the fate)

FATE: If you've decided to pay the toll, you may continue on your way down the trail. If you decided to wait, you are hit by another wild rain storm. The water level doesn't drop and you end up paying to cross anyway, PLUS lose 2 days of valuable travel time. You will have to work extra hard to catch up with the others.

Travel & Fate Card 26
Poison Spring
(Natrona County, Wyoming

Mile 777
July 18

You've reached the much feared Poison Spring. The water looks perfectly clear. But if the black mud at the bottom gets stirred up, the spring's lethal poison is released. You can't let your animals - or anyone - near it. You really should press on - to avoid Poison Spring. But it's late. It's dark. And it's been a very grueling day of travel.

Call the midwife! One of the pregnant women on the wagon train has been in labor for ten hours already. So you decide to chance it. You set up camp and station guards to keep the animals out of the spring. Now what will you do to guard your animals? What is the plan?

(Decide on a plan, now read the fate and see if it works)

FATE: Too bad you can't have a second chance at this. Because camping here was a bad idea. During the night several oxen, cattle, and mules got loose. Your guard fell asleep at his post. And the animals tramped through the spring, stirring up the black mud and drinking from the spring. These animals get sick and die within a day. You must continue with one less oxen, cow and mule. But you do have a new member of the wagon train: she's 7 pounds. 10 oz. and very healthy. Now everyone has to help name her!

Travel & Fate Card 27
Alkali Slough
Natrona County, Wyoming

Mile 798
July 20

Are you still carrying water? There's water here. But none of it is drinkable. Because the streams and swamps here are saturated with alkali, a poisonous natural compound. And nothing seems to grow here. You feel compelled to find out why... A chemist or doctor in the wagon train explains alkali to you. What does she/he tell you? For homework tonight, research alkali. What is it? Where is found? And what does it mean when it's in the water?

(After your research is complete, read the fate)

Fate: If you did the research, this is your fate: Your water supply is running low, but you make it through this desolate area. If you did not do the research, this is your fate: You run out of water, one oxen dies and you must pay or trade to get water from another wagon. Who will trade or share with you now?

Travel & Fate Card 28
Saleratus (Playa Lake)
(1 mile northeast of Independence Rock, Wyoming)

Mile 814
July 22

There's a curious natural feature here: the ground appears to be covered with ice, but on closer inspection, it's really the dust of carbonate of soda. You gather up pailfulls of this white bicarbonate soda and (since provisions are very low) decide to spend the day using your newfound ingredient to bake bread.

(Speculate the effect, then read the fate)

FATE:#1 You guessed it, maybe. The bread you bake has a "suspiciously green cast" Will you eat it? Or throw it out?

(Discuss and decide on this one, you only get one chance! Then read Fate#2)

FATE #2 Well, if you tried it, you will find that it tastes a bit odd, and you learn that you must use just a small quantity of it. If you threw it out, you end up wasting a sack of your flour, and since your rations are low, you have no bread to eat this week. Why did this happen?

(Teacher's note: This is a place mentioned by Mormon settlers. Here they collected the soda for baking. Have baking soda available for students to taste. If possible bake some bread or perform simple soda experiments)

Travel & Fate Card 29
Independence Rock
(48 miles southwest of Casper, Wyoming)

Mile 814,
July 22

Today you pass a monolithic granite rock called Independence Rock. This is the famous landmark mentioned in your Emigrant Traveler's Guide. Here is another place to check for messages left by earlier travelers or names of friends. Before you leave, you too, will carve your name and the year you traveled here. Would you like to leave a message concerning road conditions here for any returning emigrants traveling back to the "states"? Can you guess how this place got its name?

(Discuss your ideas, then read on)

Fate: That evening several members of from different wagons tell the story of the naming of this rock. Now your teacher will tell the real story.

(Teacher note: You may wish to tell students that this important Emigrant Landmark was a bulletin board for white travelers in the area. Legend says that it received its name from a group of Americans (first company of whites to make the journey via South Pass) who stopped here to celebrate the Fourth of July celebration as the anniversary of our national freedom. Thomas Fitzpatrick and companions July 4, 1824)

Travel & Fate Card 30
Devil's Gate
(Natrona county, Wyoming)

Mile 820
July 23

What looms just ahead of you now? The two 500 foot high perpendicular sandstone walls of Devil's Gate. Its opening is just 30 feet wide. So of course you organize your wagons in single file.

Suddenly, the earth trembles...You hear the nearby roar of buffalo stampede. Now what should you do? Do you have a plan?

(Discuss and decide on a plan, then read your fate)

FATE: No one dies! It was really tough to get through this one because stampedes are never planned. They just happen. Your men on horseback were able to save the wagons by turning the stampede away, but your livestock ended up scattered for miles around. You lose a traveling day on the trail rounding up the stock.

Travel & Fate Card 31
Ice Spring
(9.5 miles east of Sweetwater Station, Wyoming)

Mile 862
July 25

Today you reach another curiosity along the trail. You've heard tales about finding ice in summer here. But all you see is a swampy spot filled with alkali water in the middle of the sandy plains. Everyone has a different opinion on what should be done: continue to travel or dig for the legendary ice?

(Discuss and decide who will travel on and who will dig for ice, then read the fate.)

Fate: A few of the more curious members of the wagon train decide to take their spades and dig a couple of feet below the tundra. Much to everyone's delight, you discover the luxury of pure clean ice!

Travel & Fate Card 32
South Pass

Mile 913
July 30

This is a major milestone along the Oregon Trail for three reasons: First of all, you cross the great Continental Divide* in the heart of the tremendous Rocky Mountains. Second, you reach the halfway mark in your journey and the entrance into "Oregon Territory." Your ascent up the Eastern side of the Rockies has been an almost imperceptible grade. But now your path down the western decent is very steep and takes longer than you thought. You realize something very interesting is happening here regarding the rivers and streams. What is it?

Fate: You make camp tonight at Pacific Springs, the first valley on the western face of the mountains. Although you are all weary from nearly a thousand miles of travel, you enjoy a great celebration this evening's campfire marked by song, dance and exuberantly high spirits. Here is a bargin: each wagon that can sing Oh Suzanna, earns 2 head of cattle and one yoke of oxen. Compliments of your teacher.

Travel & Fate Card 33
Parting of the Ways
(9miles northeast of Farson, Wyoming)

Mile 932
August 1
Trail Decision #2

You've had a lot of decisions to make along this arduous route, but up until now, you never had to decide which way to go. Well, that isn't true anymore. The trail forks here and you must choose between two routes. Both routes convene at the Thomas Fork Crossing. So your wagon train could separate and meet there if you like.

Here are your two choices: 1.) THE FORT BRIDGER ROUTE This is the long route. It goes south to Fort Bridger and will probably take at least 5 more days than the shorter route. The area it passes through is inhabited by local Indians who are becoming more and more hostile towards oncoming wagon trains. But there is definitely plenty of water along the way and enough grass for grazing your animals and the possibility of buying fresh supplies at Fort Bridger. 2.) THE SUBLETTE CUTOFF This is the shortcut. It saves you about 46 miles (5 travel days). But it passes through the waterless Little Colorado Desert and stretches for over 50 arid miles - which means that there is no grass for grazing your animals. Furthermore, it is rumored that hostile Indians frequent this trail.

(Your fates will be determined by the route you choose.)

(Teachers: Historical note: Companies often separate here although most emigrants took the Ft. Bridger to the southwest. It was the 49er's that use shortcut because generally they traveled light and without livestock)

For those who decided to take the Fort Bridger Route...

Travel & Fate Card 34
(Fort Bridger)Little Sandy Crossing
(7 miles northeast of Farson, Wyoming) Fort Bridger Route

Mile 940
August 2

It's been a long day, but it was worth it. Because today you arrive and find the first good water since Pacific Springs. Some men went to hunt for fresh meat. You all take his opportunity to bathe, restock your water kegs and boil up a big pot of antelope stew.

Fate: Livestock is tired but healthy and everyone is feeling good about their decision to take the long route. One of the men on night watch thought he heard Indians lurking around the camp in the wee hours of the morning. But when he tried to investigate further, he found nothing. One of the women reported two blankets missing when she woke up.

Travel & Fate Card 35
(Fort Bridger)
Fort Bridger (Fort Bridger, Wyoming)

Mile 1026
August 8-9

Have you any money left? Or have you any way to make some? Because this is one of the few places along the trail where you can buy limited supplies and services, like blacksmithing and wagon repair. If you don't have any money, you can also make trades. You decide to trade in a few of your worn-out oxen, mules and horses for rested ones. But the deal is two for one - two of your animals for one new one or $50 dollars a yoke of oxen and $65 per horse. Do you need new livestock? You can also ask for trail information, like trail conditions on the road ahead or locations of Indian sightings. There are several good spots for camping and you may wish to spend an extra day here. You notice a help wanted sign for fence mending. Do you take it?

(Discuss and decide before reading the fate)

Fate: Your decision to take a day lay over is a good one. Another plus! Since you all helped repair the fences surrounding the Fort. You were paid one extra yoke of oxen in trade for your carpentry services... (Add that to your list) You also receive vital information about the road ahead. Your travel to Thomas Fork is easy and uneventful. For those who decided to take the Sublette Cutoff

Travel & Fate Card 34 (Sandy Crossing)
Big Sandy Crossing
(9.7 miles north of Farson, Wyoming) Sublette Cutoff

Mile 943
August 2

This marks the beginning of the Little Colorado Desert which is without water except for small pools left by infrequent rains. This is the last watering place and all available containers need to be filled.

Fate: Your oxen and livestock are already beginning to tired and footsore on this part of the trail. Now your wagons are laden with the burden of carrying extra water. You are unable to travel as far as expected. You must check your supply list and leave one heavy luxury item behind on the trail or you risk losing one yoke of oxen. What will it be? Several others are starting to complain about taking this short cut and wish to turn back. It is vital that you all stay together to help each other through the desert.

Travel & Fate Card 35 (Sandy Crossing)
Emigrant Spring
(18 miles west of Fontenelle, Wyoming) Sublette Cutoff

Mile 1006
August 8

Tired of the dusty trail, you stop to look for the illusive Emigrant Spring. After much climbing and scrambling up and down the cliffs, you finally find it at the bottom, shrouded in brush.

Fate: The decision to use the short cut cost you several animals who were left along the trail because they were too weak to continue without sufficient water. Subtract 5 cattle and one yoke of oxen from your supply list. Was it worth it?

Travel & Fate Card 36
Thomas Fork Crossing
Rejoining the trails sublette and Ft Bridger
(1.2 miles west of Border, Wyoming)

Mile 1108
August 14

Today is a day to rejoice!!! The wagons rendezvous after a 00-day separation. For homework tonight, you must sign up to bring in one of the following items tomorrow:
a banjo
cowboy boots
a guitar
fruit juice
a harmonica
beef jerky
cowboy hats or bonnets
something western

Fate: You're all going to party! Those who brought in food, must pass it around. Those who brought in instruments, must play them. Those who brought in duds must wear them and dance. Those who didn't bring anything, must clean up when the party's over. After a wild night of partying, you fall asleep and are ready to cross the toll bridge (if after 1850) and continue your journey to Fort Hall the next morning.

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Last Updated: 12/24/12