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
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.”
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.”
July 1, 1853
“A great deal of alkali water in pools
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.”
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. Touch 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 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). Touch for a list and map 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 & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 17, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 189 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 17, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.