Elk Penis Rock, Bayard Nebraska

 Day 173

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     The Oregon trail trek begins at the Missouri River. The first part of the trek is across the great plains. Nothing but 600 miles of flat land and hardships. Finally, the pioneers see Elk Penis Rock in what is now the State of Nebraska. It had great significance because it signaled that they have completed the first 3rd of their journey, but it also signaled another set of hardships, crossing the rockies.

    There were 3 main groups of pioneers in the mid 1800’s looking for a better life. Those looking for riches trekked to California for the gold in them thar hills. Those seeking religious freedom trekked with Bringham Young to Utah. And those looking for wide open land for farming, went to Oregon.

     They all took basically the same route from the Missouri River across the great plains. They tried to stay near water and grassland for their livestock. When they reached  Elk Penis their routes diverged. The reason was that shortly past Elk Penis were the bluffs. The bluffs were created by the flow of the river water they were following. Therefore, there were bluffs on both banks of the river. This prevented the wagons from going through as the muddy river bank would bog the wagons down.

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    They needed to find a way around or through the bluffs. The Mormons went north of the river. The others went to the south side. This created 3 routes to the west: Oregon Trail, the California Trail, and the Mormon Trail. Around the year 1900 200 feet from the top of the rock was cut off by either lighting or erosion and collapsing. Doesn’t that make this a Jewish rock? 

     The indians originally named the rock Elk Penis. The white’s called it Chimney Rock. The indians did not know what a chimney was. 

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     Actually, none of the pioneers are buried in this cemetery. Those that died on the trek, and there were in excess of 20,000 deaths, were buried on the trail itself. The thought was that subsequent wagons and expedition would pack down the trail and prevent wild animals from digging up the deceased. 

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