Monday, September 14, 2020

9/14 Register Rock, Massacre Rocks State Park, ID

Register Rock is a place about two miles west of Massacre Rocks SP, along the Oregon Trail, where wagon trains used to spend the night and water their animals.  The people from wagon trains used to write their names and the date, though It is hard to see some of the marks now.  However, the largest rock is now protected by a canopy and chain-link fence.
Just outside the canopy was this marker and drawings of a young boy:

The head of the preacher is on the left and the head of the Indian is on the right.  You can see the signature he redid in 1908 below both.

This is the main carved rock, protected from the weather and vandals.

They really need to clean this sign.  Anyway, it says, "After their meals were cooked and their livestock grazed, early pioneers took time to record their presence on this rock and other rocks in the area.  The land around Register Rock was a common camping are along the Oregon and California Trails. It has been preserved by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation so that the modern visitor may enjoy a landmark of the past."

As did the Native Americans, the pioneers used hard stones or possibly iron implements to peck their messages on the dark rocks so that the lighter layers underneath would show.  This makes these petroglyphs.

H. Chesnut got his "N" backward in 1862, but considering that my great-great-grandparents could not sign their names in Yorkshire in 1842, that is not too bad. 

I supposed one reason their chose this spot was that it was near this little bubbling brook, which emptied into the Snake River.  It was also a protected hollow, surrounded on three sides by bluffs, so I assume it was out of the hot winds and a little cooler.

A couple of hundred feet away from the large rock was this one with some more modern carvings.

I posted a few days ago about the storm we had in Heyburn.  The worst of the storm came through this area and uprooted four large trees here. All were Russian Olives which must have been planted 50-some years ago when this came under the protection of the state. 

Check out how the roots of this big tree are clustered together.  No wonder it fell!

This is a good place to picnic because it has shade all day, and it is only a mile off I-84. 

There is also a similar place in Wyoming where pioneers wrote on a cliff.  It is called Register Cliffs and is part of Oregon Trail Ruts National Historic Site.  Check it out at  It is a little more out of the way, but only about 10 miles east of I-25, north of Ft. Colins, WY.

My point it, take a break from freeways if you travel west and stop at some of these truly historical places.

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