The sight points to Laramie Peak, altitude 10,247 feet, the highest elevation in the Laramie Range. These mountains were originally called the Black Hills, a name derived from the dark appearance of their evergreen forests as noted from far to the eastward by westward-journeying mountain men. Only the northern end of the range, in northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota, is now known as the Black Hills.Although the name of that more legendary than historic figure, Lacques LaRamie, has been given to numerous features of Wyoming geography, apparently this mountain was the first to be so designated. Looming on a distant horizon, that major natural landmark won historic significance through being cited time and again - in the journals, diaries and letters of Oregon Trail travelers - as first evidence of a successful high plains crossing and impending entry into the Rocky Mountains.One who so recorded a sighting of Laramie Peak, and whose transit triangulations would later make the mountain an important cartographic reference point, was famed Dr. Francis V. Hayden of the U.S. Geological Survey. He wrote, in 1869: "From our camp on the Laramie we enjoyed one of the beautiful sunsets which are not uncommon in this western country. But this was a rare occasion, for the sun passed directly behind the summit of Laramie Peak. The whole range was gilded with golden light, and the haziness of the atmosphere gave to the whole a deeper beauty. Such a scene as this could occur but once in a lifetime."