Tuesday, June 05, 2018

A Point Of Interest Smack In The Middle Of The Road

I've passed this tree many times and it always catches my eye.  It stands alone in a tiny rest stop in the center of Interstate 80 at mile marker 333, right around Buford, Wyoming.  If you're traveling at night, you'll probably miss it.

Fun fact:  In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt rode from Laramie to Cheyenne on horseback.  He probably passed this very tree.

The sign in front of it reads as follows:

This small pine tree that seems to be growing out of solid rock has fascinated travelers since the first train rolled past on the Union Pacific Railroad.  It is said that the builders of the original railroad diverted the tracks to slightly pass by the tree as they laid rails across Sherman Mountain in 1867-69.  It is also said that trains stopped here while locomotive firemen “gave the tree a drink” from their water buckets.  The railroad moved several miles to the south in 1901 and the abandoned grade become a wagon road.

In 1913 the Lincoln Highway Association was formed “To procure the establishment of a continuous improved highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”  The Lincoln Highway was an instant success in a nation enamored with the newfangled automobiles and eager for a place to drive them.  The Lincoln passed right by Tree Rock as did U.S. 30 in the 1920s and Interstate 80 in the 1960s. 

At this place, the road was approaching the 8,835-foot Sherman Summit, the highest point on the Lincoln.  The view of the surrounding mountains was like nothing that west-bound easterners had ever seen.  Still, they notice the little tree, which becomes the favored subject of many early postcards and photographs.  It still is.

The tree is a somewhat stunted and twisted limber pine (Pinus Flexilis), a type of tree commonly found in this area where ponderosa and limber pines dominate the landscape.  The age of the tree is unknown, although limber pines can live as long as 2,000 years.  The tree grows out of a crack in a boulder of Precambrian era pink Sherman granite formed more than 1-4 billion years ago.

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Let The Adventure Begin!

2016: The Spawn Of Oklahoma
2015: The Power
2014: The Waiting (And Waiting, And Waiting, And Waiting) Game
2013: I Found A Place To Live In Montreal
2012: The Bronx Is Up And The Battery’s Down
2011: Where You Go When You Need To Buy Flowers For Your Ho
2010: Photo Ops Amid The Goat Poo
2009: Even The Goats Aren’t Up Early Enough To Beat The Buggy Rush
2008: Before The Locusts Come
2007: Venomous
2006: Sixty Percent Lesbian
2005: Sorry, no post for this day.

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