New signs will tell stories of Bighorns’ history from the trails
Have you ever walked along Soldier Ridge Trail, looked out at our beautiful Bighorns and wondered which peak was which? Or where something like the Tie Flume actually was? That’s exactly what SCLT Historical Educator Carrie Edinger wondered the first time she was on the trail. And it inspired her to create a way to tell our region’s history while answering the same questions many trail visitors have.
Soon after joining SCLT as an AmeriCorps intern, Carrie began doing the legwork – field visits and a whole lot of time in the Wyoming Room at the Sheridan County Fulmer Library – to learn about and flesh out many of the stories she will tell through these signs.
Some of the stories are quite quotidian, like including the name and elevation of peaks on a panoramic view of the Bighorns, which will be placed on The Link Trail this coming summer. However, even getting peak names correct wasn’t an exact science as she often had to cipher between sources that had differing names for the same mountains.
To solve some of those problems, Carrie turned to the super sleuths of the internet, who helped solve some mysteries – like how Grandmas Mountain was named.
Another sign features place names and history drawn from Plains Indian Tribes. She said no story of the Bighorns would be complete without stories from the mountains’ first settlers. After all, it was the Apsáalooke Crow who first recognized the Bighorns as being “exactly the right place” as No Vitals led his band around the Mountain West from Devils Lake in search of a place to plant his sacred tobacco seeds.
Much of the Plains Indian history came courtesy of Little Big Horn College, Sheridan College’s Donovin Sprague and Big Horn’s own Greg Nickerson.
A third sign will highlight history along Red Grade Road. Trail users will experience what the area was like for early travelers who visited the high mountain near Spear O Wigwam and TP Ranch. It will include a historical photo taken by Jessamine Spear Johnson courtesy of Tempe Javitz.
This winter, the sign designs will be finalized. You’ll see them in the summer of 2021. For those unable to make it to the trails, a video version will be added to our website soon after. A Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund grant supported the signs.
Beyond that, the Big Goose Walking tour is complete, with some sites included in Downtown Sheridan Association’s “WY Sheridan” TravelStorys tour. Live and virtual presentations of Human Migrations of Southeast Sheridan County will begin this fall and a Tongue River Water Trail history project will follow.
Carrie would love to hear your stories of Sheridan County’s special history. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (307) 673-4702.