Leaving Scottsbluff

Saturday, Sept. 11
At the east edge of Scottsbluff I stopped at a gravesite marked by a historical sign. The grave was for a pioneer woman who had contracted cholera after caring for others inflicted with the disease while traveling west. The family sadly scratched her name on a wheel iron leaving it behind as a marker before continuing onward to Utah.
Years later, railroad surveyors found the grave and after hearing her story respectfully rerouted the planned tracks so that her grave would remain undisturbed. The railroad, still used today, lies but a few yards to the south of the gravesite. I did not note the woman’s name in my journal but it doesn’t much matter. Perhaps by remaining anonymous, she better represents the many caring and unheralded women who have sacrificed themselves in similar situations.
I have been following the North Platte River and am now walking the main arterial route of the old Oregon Trail. The pioneers followed rivers as much as possible for reasons that become more obvious if one personally traverses it. Away from water equals desert and rattlesnakes - near the water equals water and rattlesnakes! One of my personal surprises has been grasping the size and scope of what was once called the Great Western Desert. 
Though it was only twenty miles to Baylor it seemed much much farther. I can’t explain why but sometimes twenty miles seems like a skip-and-a-jump and other times it seems like quite a long distance - today it was a long distance.
Walking through the town I stopped at a restaurant and had a burger and fries washed down with two lemonades. A customer paid for my lunch saying she supported what I was doing and wished me well. Leaving town in the heat of the late afternoon I had no idea where I would camp for the night but knew it would eventually reveal itself if just kept walking. Soon afterward I spied a small lake beside the river that looked like it would be a prefect place for the night.
It was.

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