Tag Archives: History

Canyonlands Cowboys and a Bit of Remembering

From the 1890’s to as recently as 1975 Ranchers have run cattle in Canyonlands. This is not pasture grazing – this is high desert. I imagine the cattle only survived. The cattle and the cowboys that tended them were surely tough. The cowboys lived in open air “bunkhouses” under the overhanging rock for months at a time. The black is the smoke deposits from the stove behind the bush. (No, the white box in the center is not a beer cooler!)

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Medicine Bow Wyoming

Medicine Bow is a really small town on the Lincoln Highway and the Oregon Trail, It’s history is as a bawdy town filled with bars, gunslingers and prostitutes. So much so that it inspired Owen Wister to write the novel, The Virginian, a story about western life, the Lincoln County Wars and the life of a ranch foreman he called The Virginian he placed it in Medicine Bow. I was able to gather much of Owen’s story from folks at the Medicine Bow museum. About 1884 Owen Wister suffered some sort of mental break resulting in vertigo, blinding headaches and hallucinations. His father had a friend in the “Wyoming Territory” and asked the friend if Owen could spend a summer on his ranch to recover, and all was arranged. Owen was met by the ranch foreman when he arrived on the train in Medicine Bow, and they proceeded north to the ranch somewhere near Jackson, Wyoming, a distance of maybe 200 miles. On the trip the foreman told Owen tales of the territory and the foreman’s adventures.

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Ron’s Summer 2022 Begins

Lincoln Highway Marker

I leave in the next few days for another 3-4 month trip into the great west. The only thing I know about this trip so far is I will follow the Lincoln Highway west from Iowa. If you want to follow along, there is an interactive map and a lot of information at the Lincoln Highway Association.

The Lincoln Highway was the first coast-to-coast route that started in Times Square and ended in Lincoln Park, San Francisco, passing through 14 states on the way.

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