Ayres Natural Bridge Park

Three from the Road #24 – 2010 trip1

After leaving Fort Fetterman State Historic Site, we drove by way of backroads to Ayres Natural Bridge Park, a free public park owned and operated by Converse County.  Ayres Natural Bridge is about 10 miles south of the Fort Fetterman site.

Ayres Natural Bridge Park, Converse County, Wyoming, July 10, 2010

Ayres Natural Bridge, Converse County, Wyoming, July 10, 2010

The 150 acre Ayres Natural Bridge Park is a green oasis located in LaPrele Canyon in the grass and sagebrush covered Casper Sandstone Formation of east-central Wyoming. Red rock sandstone cliffs surround the canyon. A sandstone natural bridge spanning LaPrele Creek is in a rock ridge around which the stream once flowed.  At some point, the creek found a fissure or opening through the rock and began eroding it into the present remarkable natural bridge. With a span of 90 feet2, the bridge is considered to be a “young” meander type natural bridge or arch3.

Land for the park was from the ranch of Alvah W. Ayres, who had settled the land in 1882, after working twenty-two years as freighter in Colorado, the last four of which he ran his own business4,  It was donated in accordance with his wishes, by his son and daughter-in-law in 1920 to Converse County, to be maintained perpetually as a free public park and to be known as the Alvah W. Ayres Natural Bridge Park.5

Alvah W. Ayres - Ayres settled the land that included Ayres Natural Bridge, Wyoming. After his death, the canyon in which the bridge is located was donated by his son to Converse County, with the stipulation that it would always be free to the public.

 

Ayres Natural Bridge Park in the Casper Sandstone Formation, Wyoming

Satellite View Ayres Natural Bridge Park (from Google Maps)

Much of the park is level and green, a recreation area in a nature formed amphitheater.
It is a popular site for wedding ceremonies, family reunions, church picnics and other gatherings.
While its original discovery is unknown, it was a known landmark in the early 1940s for settlers traveling west on the emigrant trails, then only about two miles to the north, though it was difficult to access and rarely visited6.

Situated almost exactly one mile above sea level, the park is closed during the winter months, open from April through October. The park includes a picnic area, a sand volleyball court, fishing spots, horseshoe pits, and a twelve free camp sites. There are five large covered picnic shelters which must be reserved in advance.

Though the park is very family oriented, it is not pet friendly. Numerous problems with dogs running off-leash led the park to ban dogs completely in the late 1990s.

For birders, the many trees, willows and shrubs along the stream appeal to a wide array of bird species. Christina Schmidt, in a June 8, 2011 Casper Journal article7 writes,

After just an hour, I had seen several yellow warblers, black-headed grosbeaks, goldfinches, a gray catbird, a kingfisher and at least two swallow species, including the brilliantly colored violet-green swallow. An afternoon spent on one of the numerous benches with binoculars and a bird book would surely have doubled my list.

As many swallows as you would care to count use the area and their mud homes can be seen perched precariously on the surrounding cliffs and under the roof of the adjacent abandoned North Platte Irrigation Company power plant. Everywhere I looked, dozens of swallows were in constant movement, skimming the water surface for bugs and then heading high up to their nests. When I scrambled up the short path to the top of the bridge, the swallows seemed to increase in number and in bravery, since I was now in their territory and several swooped repeatedly just a couple feet from me.

Ayres Natural Bridge Park, Converse County, Wyoming, July 10, 2010

Ayres Natural Bridge Park, Converse County, Wyoming, July 10, 2010

While the red sandstone walls of the canyon seem barren, swallow nests abound along the walls and plant life, including cactus, find purchase on ledges and in cracks.

Prickly pear cactus on a canyon wall ledge, LaPrele Canyon, Ayres Natural Bridge Park, Converse County, Wyoming


Endnotes

  1. Three from the Road is a series sharing images from places we’ve visited.  Initially, each post included thee images, related by a randomly selected location or topic. Posts now may be random choices or pre-planned sequences.  This post is in a series sequentially sharing images from our 2010 trip west.
  2. Ayres Natural Bridge  (NABSQNO 13T-449893-4731482) – National Arch and Bridge Society
  3. Meander Natural Bridge – Natural Arch and Bridge Society
  4. History of Wyoming, Volume 3, edited by Ichabod Sargent Bartlett, S. J. Clark Publishing Company (accessed 6/10/2017 Google Books)
  5. Douglas Enterprise, October 28, 1919, page 1 (newspaper clipping accessed 6/10/2017)
  6. Natural Bridge and the Oregon Trail Marker – The Historical Marker Database
  7. Staycation: Don’t pass up Ayres Natural Bridge – Casper Journal, June 8, 2011

References

  1. Wyoming Places – Includes report by F.V. Hayden on day visit to bridge from Fort Fetterman and 1870 photographs by William Henry Jackson
  2. WyoHistory.org
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3 from the road, american history, camping, history, landscape, now that’s cool!, parks, photography, stream, summer, wyoming

Hell!

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign #19 |

Sign on County highway D-32 in Hell, Michigan, United States, locating the official U.S. weather station in Hell. June 22, 2007

Sign on County highway D-32 in Hell, Michigan, United States, locating the official U.S. weather station in Hell.  June 22, 2007

Hell, or Hiland Lake, is an unincorporated community in Putnam Township of Livingston County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The community is near the border with Washtenaw County, about 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Ann Arbor. Hell is 3 miles (4.8 km) southwest of Pinckney via Patterson Lake Road. The community is served by the Pinckney post office with ZIP Code 48169. (Wikipedia)

Photo by Sswonk (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Accessed March 2017

Note – This image has been digitally adjusted for one or more of the following:
– fade correction,
– color, contrast, and/or saturation enhancement
– selected spot and/or scratch removal
– cropped for composition and/or to accentuate subject matter
– straighten image

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humor, michigan, photography, places, sign sign everywhere a sign

Fort Fetterman State Historic Site

Three from the Road #23 – 2010 trip1

Restored Officer’s Quarters, Fort Fetterman State Historic Site, Wyoming, July 10, 2010

Restored Officer’s Quarters, Fort Fetterman

Constructed in 1867 by the US Army, Fort Fetterman was a wooden Great Plain frontier fort approximately 11 miles northwest of present-day Douglas, Wyoming, high on the bluffs south of the North Platte River.  While not the site of any major battle, it was the jumping-off point for several major military expeditions against occasionally warring native tribes.2

Established on July 19, 1867, by Companies A, C, H, and I of the 4th U.S. Infantry under the command of Major William E. Dye, the fort was named in honor of William J. Fetterman, killed in a battle with Indians near Fort Phil Kearny on December 21, 1866.2

It contained quarters for three hundred enlisted men, and the necessary officers; the various magazines and store-houses required for the preservation of ammunition, rations and other supplies; a hospital with fifteen beds; stables for fifty horses; a corral capable of holding fifty six-mule wagons, with their animals; a theatre, an ice-house, a root-house, a granary, a bake-house, blacksmith shops, saw-mill, saddlers’ shop, paint shop, laundresses’ quarters and a steam engine for pumping water from the North Platte River.3

On completion of Fetterman, Fort Caspar was abandoned, with the garrison moving to the new fort.  With the abandonment of forts to the north – Reno, Phil Kearny, and C.F. Smith – under the provisions of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, Fetterman became the northernmost military post in eastern Wyoming, important to the protection of the Bozeman Trail and other settler routes.

Fort Fetterman State Historic Site, Wyoming, Parade Ground, with Remaining Two Buildings, July 10, 2010

  Fort Fetterman Parade Ground, with Remaining Two Buildings

In it’s remote location, Fetterman was a undesirable posting, with frequent desertions and long, hard winters.  Supplies were brought by wagon about 85 miles from Fort Laramie or from Medicine Bow Rail Station, over 150 miles away by trail.  Water was carried up the steep bluffs from the North Platte River or LaPrele Creek.2

During the Black Hills War in 1876, a series of major military expeditions set out from the fort. “The Big Horn Expedition, which included three of the post’s four companies under the command of Colonel Joseph J. Reynolds, culminated in a defeat at the Battle of Powder River in March. The Yellowstone Expedition led by Brigadier General George Crook engaged in the Battle of Rosebud in June, and the Powder River Expedition under Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie destroyed a Cheyenne village in November during the Dull Knife Fight. Fort Fetterman remained active until 1882, when it was abandoned by the Army as the Indian Wars had subsided.”2

Restored Ammunition Warehouse

On May 11, 1882, the military abandoned Fort Fetterman and the governement auctioned the buildings in September, while retaining ownership of the property.  While the building should have been removed by their purchasers, a small community – Fetterman City – was started at the abandoned fort as an outfitting point for area ranchers and for wagon trains, with a population of about 500 in 1885.   After the town of Douglas was established along the railroad eleven miles away in 1886, Fetterman City declined rapidly. Fetterman didn’t fully succumb until the mid 1890s when the Converse County Stock Growers Association closed their hospital at Fetterman.  By 1907, most of the remaining buildings had been moved to Douglas, while others were torn down for building materials.  The two remaining buildings served as a ranch house and barn until the State of Wyoming acquired the property in 1962.4


The weather for our July 10, 2010, visit to Fort Fedderman was sunny, cool, and quite windy, as can be seen by the flags on the parade ground in the middle photo.  We were camped at the KOA in Douglas, Wyoming.


Endnotes

  1. Three from the Road is a series sharing images from places we’ve visited.  Initially, each post included thee images, related by a randomly selected location or topic. Posts now may be random choices or pre-planned sequences.  This post is in a series sequentially sharing images from our 2010 trip west.
  2. Fort Fetterman – Wikipedia
  3. Bourke, John (1966). Mackenzie’s Last Fight with the Cheyennes. Argonaut Press Ltd. p. 2.
  4. Exhibit text, Fort Fedderman State Historic Site, Wyoming, from July 10, 2010 photos

References

  1. Fort Fetterman
  2. Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) – Wikipedia
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3 from the road, american history, desert, history, landscape, military, museum, parks, photography, plains, Travel Photos, wyoming

Casino at Twilight

21st Century Digital #22

Casino Boat on the Mississippi River, Natchez, Mississippi. 2008. October 9.

Credit line: Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Photograph retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2010630099/. (Accessed March 05, 2017.)

Photograph: Carol M. Highsmith

Medium: 1 photograph : digital, TIFF file, color.

Highsmith, a distinguished and richly published American photographer, has donated her work to the Library of Congress since 1992. Starting in 2002, Highsmith provided scans or photographs she shot digitally with new donations to allow rapid online access throughout the world. Her generosity in dedicating the rights to the American people for copyright free access also makes this Archive a very special visual resource.

Note – This image has been digitally adjusted for one or more of the following:
– fade correction,
– color, contrast, and/or saturation enhancement
– selected spot and/or scratch removal
– cropped for composition and/or to accentuate subject matter
– straighten image

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21st century digital, landscape, mississippi, photography, river, sky

Toxic Fumes

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign #18 |

A sign warning about pesticide exposure. Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 15 August 2006

A sign warning about pesticide exposure. Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 15 August 2006

www.cgpgrey.com [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Accessed March 2017

Note – This image has been digitally adjusted for one or more of the following:
– fade correction,
– color, contrast, and/or saturation enhancement
– selected spot and/or scratch removal
– cropped for composition and/or to accentuate subject matter
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safety, sign sign everywhere a sign

Art Deco Detail

21st Century Digital #21

Art Deco Column Capital details, Mississippi War Memorial Building, Jackson, Mississippi. 2008. October 9.
Built in 1939 beside the Old Capitol.
A Works Progress Administration (WPA) project.

Highsmith, Carol M, photographer.

Photograph retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2010630097/. (Accessed March 09, 2017.)

Medium: 1 photograph : digital, TIFF file, color.

Highsmith, a distinguished and richly published American photographer, has donated her work to the Library of Congress since 1992. Starting in 2002, Highsmith provided scans or photographs she shot digitally with new donations to allow rapid online access throughout the world. Her generosity in dedicating the rights to the American people for copyright free access also makes this Archive a very special visual resource.

Note – This image has been digitally adjusted for one or more of the following:
– fade correction,
– color, contrast, and/or saturation enhancement
– selected spot and/or scratch removal
– cropped for composition and/or to accentuate subject matter
– straighten image

0 comments
21st century digital, art, mississippi, museum, photography, sculpture

Finest Non Premium Gasoline–Double Money Back

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign #17 |

1939 California Service Station -- Between Tulare and Fresno on U.S. 99. A large variety and great number of service stations face highway.

1939 California Service Station

Photographer:  Dorothea Lange

Between Tulare and Fresno on U.S. 99. A large variety and great number of service stations face highway. California, 1939. May. Photograph retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/item/fsa2000003102/PP/. (Accessed March 29, 2017.)

Part of: Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection

Note – This image has been digitally adjusted for one or more of the following:
– fade correction,
– color, contrast, and/or saturation enhancement
– selected spot and/or scratch removal
– cropped for composition and/or to accentuate subject matter
– straighten image

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california, great depression, images, photography, sign sign everywhere a sign, vintage images, vintage photos

Fort Laramie National Historic Site

Three from the Road #22 – 2010 trip1

Fort Laramie, Wyoming, July 9, 2010

Originally established as a private fur trading fort in 1834, Fort Laramie evolved into the largest and best known military post on the Northern Plains before its abandonment in 1890.  The original post, named Fort William by its founders, Robert Campbell and William Sublette, was rectangular and small – just 100 by 80 feet – the palisade formed by cottonwood logs, hewn 15 feet high. In 1841, rivalry with a competing fort led the owners to replace Fort William with a larger, adobe walled structure they named Fort John. The U.S. Army purchased Fort John in 1949 as a part of a plan to establish a military presence along the emigrant trails and, on June 26, the post was officially renamed Fort Laramie, beginning a half century tenure as a military fort. “As the years went by, the post continued to grow in size and importance. Fort Laramie soon became the principal military outpost on the Northern Plains. Fort Laramie also became the primary hub for transportation and communication through the central Rocky Mountain region as emigrant trails, stage lines, the Pony Express, and the transcontinental telegraph all passed through the post.”2

Fort Laramie, Wyoming, July 9, 2010

From 1890 when the Army hauled down the flag for the last time until 1938 when the Federal Government reclaimed the place as a National Monument, a span of almost a half-century, Fort Laramie slept in the sun, dreaming of faded glory. Although a few perceptive individuals recognized its lingering historic value, and many visited it out of curiosity, its status during this period was that of a country village, not altogether deserted but looking rather forlorn, like a tornado-ravaged community which never bothered to rebuild.

The desolation was the result of the wholesale demolition of buildings that occurred in 1890 and the decade following. This is not to condemn those responsible because in the 1890s there was a scarcity of local lumber for construction and there was no thought, in or out of Government, of reserving Fort Laramie for future park purposes. Indeed, it would be 25 years before anyone of record would suggest publicly that the few buildings remaining should be preserved for posterity.3

Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Wyoming, July 9, 2010

Our visit to Fort Laramie on July 9, 2010, was late in the day after stopping at several other places.  We were tired and didn’t spend as much time looking through the fort as we would have liked to – and we still were an hour away from where we planned to stop.


Endnotes

  1. Three from the Road is a series sharing images from places we’ve visited.  Initially, each post included thee images, related by a randomly selected location or topic. Posts now may be random choices or pre-planned sequences.  This post is in a series sequentially sharing images from our 2010 trip west.
  2. Fort Laramie: Crossroads of a Nation Moving West – National Park Service
  3. Fort Laramie as Country Village and Historic Ruin – Park History, 1834-1977, National Park Service, page 40 of 266,

References

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3 from the road, american history, history, landscape, military, museum, parks, photography, places, plains, travel, Travel Photos, wyoming

Lewistown, Chokecherries and “What the Hay!”

September 2007
Music: “When it Rains” by Anna Coogan and North19 track
added using YouTube AudioSwap

While in Montana in September 2007, we had plans to stop in Lewistown to get set up with a satellite internet system. The installer, Ron, had an extra RV spot at his home for friends, complete with hookups and invited us to stay there for a few days. The satellite system was a new model and there were a few wrinkles in getting it set up right. Ron was a member of an on-line RV forum I participated in. Retired, Ron did satellite system installs for other forum members at one price no matter how long it took. While there, we shared supper with Ron and his wife several times in their house and once at the Black Bull Saloon and Steakhouse in Hobson. We also took in the 2007 Lewistown Chokecherry Festival and the What the Hay “hay art” contest that stretched over 21 miles in Judith Basin County between the towns of Hobson and Windham. As, well they took us on a couple of other drives out into the Montana countryside. “What the Hay” is now also called the “Montana Bale Trail.”

__________

Lewistown, Chokecherry Festival, and Montana Bale Trail information:

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Shuttlecocks

21st Century Digital #20

Nelson Atkins Art Museum, Kansas City, Missouri.2009. May 7.

Claes Oldenburg, American (b. Sweden, 1929), Coosje van Bruggen, American (b. The Netherlands, 1942-2009). Shuttlecocks, 1994. Aluminum, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, paint, h x diam: 19 feet 2 9/16 inches x 15 feet 11 7/8 inches. Purchase: acquired through the generosity of the Sosland Family, F94-1/1-4. Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park. (The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art)

A shuttlecock (also called a bird or birdie) is a high-drag projectile used in the sport of badminton. The name is from the Victorian times, when Badminton was first discovered and became popular. It has an open conical shape: the cone is formed from 16 or so overlapping feathers, usually goose or duck, embedded into a rounded cork base. The cork is covered with thin leather. To ensure that shuttlecocks rotate consistently, only feathers from the birds’ left wings are used. The shuttlecock’s shape makes it extremely aerodynamically stable. Regardless of initial orientation, it will turn to fly cork first, and remain in the cork-first orientation. The name ‘shuttlecock’ is frequently shortened to shuttle. The “shuttle” part of the name was probably derived from its back-and-forth motion during the game, resembling the shuttle of a loom; the “cock” part of the name was probably derived from the resemblance of the feathers to those on a cockerel. (Wikipedia)

Highsmith, Carol M, photographer. Photograph retrieved from the Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2010630148/. (Accessed March 03, 2017.)

Medium: 1 photograph : digital, TIFF file, color.

Highsmith, a distinguished and richly published American photographer, has donated her work to the Library of Congress since 1992. Starting in 2002, Highsmith provided scans or photographs she shot digitally with new donations to allow rapid online access throughout the world. Her generosity in dedicating the rights to the American people for copyright free access also makes this Archive a very special visual resource.

Note – This image has been digitally adjusted for one or more of the following:
– fade correction,
– color, contrast, and/or saturation enhancement
– selected spot and/or scratch removal
– cropped for composition and/or to accentuate subject matter
– straighten image

0 comments
21st century digital, art, landscape, missouri, museum, photography, sculpture