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Gering in Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

The Overland Experience

Emigrants reached Scotts Bluff after nearly two months on the plains

 
 
The Overland Experience Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 3, 2015
1. The Overland Experience Marker
Inscription.
To your left, vast flatlands extend eastward – for hundreds of miles. In the mid-1800’s this expansive, semi-arid grassland was known as “The Great American Desert.” For early travelers it was an unfamiliar, often inhospitable landscape.

In their diaries, emigrants described the challenges of the journey, and their mixed emotions. Enthusiasm for a new life in Oregon or California was tempered by the hardships of the trail; the dust and fatigue; the scarcity of drinking water and firewood; outbreaks of cholera and smallpox; violent thunderstorms; accidents with wagons and animals; and separation from loved ones.

Emigrants gazed at Scotts Bluff with a sense of accomplishment. They had crossed the plains, and the first third of their journey was over.

May 29, 1852
We have a great deal of sickness on the road at this time. We pass companies every hour of the day waiting for someone to get better or to die. Passenger trains hardly ever wait.”
- John H. Clark

1853 Near Scotts Bluff
The landmarks indicated our progress and helped to break the monotony- like the milestones along the journey of life, there was one less to pass.”
- Phoebe G. Judson


July 1, 1853
A great deal of alkali water in pools
The Overland Experience Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 3, 2015
2. The Overland Experience Marker
injurious to sheep; lost 3 head on account of drinking it. Crossed numerous creeks and sloughs. A severe tempest about 6 o’clock with hail as large as apples . . . . No campfire, for the buffalo chips were wet, and no wood
.”
- Thomas Flint

May 12, 1854
It has been windy, cold and rainy. Can’t get enough to make a good fire. Our cattle mixed together makes a good deal of trouble. We hear more noise than if we were in the bustle of town. The men ‘Hoy, Hoy, Hoying,’ and the cattle bawling, and bells rattling. Oh what a time.”
- Sarah Sutton

 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Location. 41° 50.09′ N, 103° 41.981′ W. Marker is in Gering, Nebraska, in Scotts Bluff County. Marker can be reached from Old Oregon Trail, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is located in Scotts Bluff National Monument, at the end of the South Overlook Trail at the summit of the bluff. Marker is in this post office area: Gering NE 69341, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pony Express (here, next to this marker); Scotts Bluff (here, next to this marker); Remnant Highlands (within shouting distance
The Overland Experience Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 3, 2015
3. The Overland Experience Marker
of this marker); Saddle Rock Trail (approx. 0.2 miles away); Eroding Landmark (approx. 0.2 miles away); Scott Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away); The Way West (approx. 0.4 miles away); The River Route (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Gering.
 
More about this marker. A photograph in the center of the marker has a caption of “Emigrant families like this one often stopped to eat and rest near Scotts Bluff in the 1850’s.”
 
Categories. Roads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers
 
Markers at Scotts Bluff image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 3, 2015
4. Markers at Scotts Bluff
There are several markers at this location. The Overland Experience marker is seen here on the left.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 149 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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