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Posts Tagged ‘Little Wind River’

Fort Wakashie, Wyoming

Posted by graywacke on July 25, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much an every-third-day blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2038; A Landing A Day blog post number 456.

 Dan –  Another OSer (dropping me to 3/10), with this landing in. . . WY; 72/65; 3/10; 4; 151.4.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1 - Copy

My closer-in map shows my proximity to Fort Washakie (way off to the left) and the Little Wind River:

 landing 2 - Copy

My Google Earth (GE) shot shows what looks like a richly green agricultural area:

 ge 1 - Copy

Stepping back, you can the green is associated with stream valleys; the uplands have that more usual semi-arid look:

 ge 2 - Copy

Speaking of valleys, I landed in the watershed of the Sharp Nose Drain, on to the Little Wind R (3rd hit); to the Wind R (9th hit); to the Big Horn R (18th hit); to the Yellowstone R (51st hit); to the Missouri R (373rd hit); and of course, finally on to the MM (801st hit).

 Here’s a GE StreetView shot, looking down into the Little Wind R valley (just east of my landing), in one of the green areas (although it doesn’t look all that green):

 looking into the little wind river valley - Copy

Moving just a mile east, I’m in the semi-arid zone, as shown on this StreetView shot:

 looking into the little wind river valley (just down the road) - Copy

I’m now going to move right along to an absolutely wonderful A Landing A Day moment.  Here’s what happened.  I decided that I wanted one of my usual StreetView shots off a bridge, looking at a local stream.  The local stream in this case is the Little Wind River.  Here’s a shot showing the road with the blue line (indicating availability of StreetView), and the approximate location of the bridge over the Little Wind (where the little orange guy is standing):

 ge sv setup shot - Copy

Here’s a StreetView shot showing the bridge.  See the wooden guard rail?

 ge sv setup shot 2 - Copy

Well, here’s my StreetView shot of the river.  I was in the middle of doing the usual “print screen”, when I noticed a word on the guard rail.  Could it be “Welcome?”  Yes, it could!

 ge sv little wind just downstream  Welcome! - Copy

Are you kidding me?   Who in the world would take the time to write or etch the word “Welcome” on a guardrail of an obscure bridge?  And it’s located at the very spot that I happened to select for my look upstream.  Thanks be to the landing god, and I do indeed feel very welcome visiting this particular spot in Wyoming!!!

 OK.  Moving right along to Fort Washakie.  From Wiki:

 Fort Washakie was a U.S Army fort that was established in 1869.  It was named after Chief Washakie of the Shoshone tribe making the fort the only U.S military outpost named after a Native American.

 The fort remained a military outpost until 1909 when it was decommissioned and turned over to the Shoshone Indian Agency. The graves of Washakie and Lewis and Clark Expedition guide Sacajawea are located on the grounds of the fort. The site lies within the present-day Wind River Indian Reservation.

 From ShoshoneIndians.com about the Chief:

Chief Washakie, c.1804-1900, a chief of the Eastern Shoshone Indians of Wyoming, was noted for his exploits in fighting and also for his friendship with the white pioneers. When wagon trains were passing through Shoshone country in the 1850s, Washakie and his people aided the overland travelers in fording streams and recovering strayed cattle.   He was also a scout for the U.S. Army.

 Here’s a quote attributed to Chief Washakie.  DO NOT SKIM.  READ ENTIRE QUOTE!

“The white man, who possesses this whole vast country from sea to sea, who roams over it at pleasure and lives where he likes, cannot know the cramp we feel in this little spot, with the underlying remembrance of the fact, which you know as well as we, that every foot of what you proudly call America not very long ago belonged to the red man. The Great Spirit gave it to us. There was room for all His many tribes, and all were happy in their freedom.”

“The white man’s government promised that if we, the Shoshones, would be content with the little patch allowed us, it would keep us well supplied with everything necessary to comfortable living, and would see that no white man should cross our borders for our game or anything that is ours. But it has not kept its word!

“The white man kills our game, captures our furs, and sometimes feeds his herds upon our meadows. And your great and mighty government–oh sir, I hesitate, for I cannot tell the half! It does not protect our rights. It leaves us without the promised seed, without tools for cultivating the land, without implements for harvesting our crops, without good quality breeding animals, without the food we still lack, without the comforts we cannot produce and without the schools we so much need for our children.”

“I say again, the government does not keep its word!”

Powerful words.

Just for heck of it, here are the English translations of the names of several of Washakie’s relatives.  There’s a story behind every name, if only we could ask the various parents:

 Mother:  Lost Woman

Father:  Crooked Leg

Maternal Grandfather:  Weasel Lung

Maternal Grandmother:  Bluebird

Aunt:  Little Striped Squirrel

First Cousin:  Has No Horse

Washakie’s given name: Smells of Sugar

It was changed to:  Shoots the Buffalo Running

Given to him by friends (and what Washakie means):  Gourd Rattler

 So, Sacajawea is buried at the Fort.  This, about her (towards the end of a very long Wiki article), starting out with a picture of a Bismark ND statue:


 While Sacagawea has been depicted as a guide for the expedition, she is recorded as providing direction in only a few instances.  Her work as an interpreter certainly helped the party to negotiate with the Shoshone.  However, her greatest value to the mission may have been simply her presence during the arduous journey – she was able to effectively demonstrate their peaceful intent.

While traveling through what is now Franklin County, Washington, Clark noted, “The Indian woman confirmed those people of our friendly intentions, as no woman ever accompanies a war party of Indians in this quarter,” and, “the wife of Shabono our interpreter [actually Charbonneau] we find reconciles all the Indians, as to our friendly intentions.  A woman with a party of men is token of peace.”

Here’s a Panoramio picture (by mal10587) showing that Fort Wakashie is a real town, with a real Main Street:

 mal10587  pano main st ft wash - Copy

Just south of town is Ray Lake. Here’s a lovely Pano shot by John Drew2 of the lake:

 ray lake pano john drew2 - Copy

I’ll close with this shot of a group of cacti watching the sunset, taken in the town of Fort Wakashie (on Dead Horse Road).  I can just hear the oohs and aahs:

sunset on dead horse road, ft wash by piqueen pano - Copy 

That’ll do it.



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