Daunting to some, invigorating to others, the view from here gave emigrants a sense of the dramatic beauty and grand scale of the West. Many pioneers, tired after having climbed four hundred feet above Willow Springs, were humbled by this panorama.
Here travelers reflected upon once familiar places and loved ones. and bade farewell to the Great Plains. As the comforts of the Platte River route faded into memory, they focused on the challenges that lay ahead. the outline of Red Buttes soon disappeared as they descended the gradual slope of the west, and resumed their trek to Independence Rock. and the Sweetwater River.
Even the clouds looked different out here, shaped into streamers hundreds of miles long, or compressed into thin discs promising high winds for days on end. In some years the skies of late July built massive cumulus clouds tens of thousands of feet high, with top-heavy crowns of hail that could smash a wagon company and its livestock into disarray.
Many travelers recorded their journey in detailed diaries. Today, students of history benefit from those written observations when measuring how much or how little the West has changed. Other than the modern electric transmission lines to the north, this landscape in nearly the same as it appeared in the 1940s.
East of here at the end of July 1864,
Mary Ringo lost her husband and noted in her diary the sorrow that she carried from his grave site:
"I pray for strength to raise our precious children and oh, may no one ever suffer the anguish that is breaking my heart...the agony of parting from that grave, to go and leave him on that hillside where I shall never see him more..."
A week later, Mary Ringo passed this way with her five children, aged 14 to two years old. Mary, of Gallatin, Daviess County, Missouri, afoot in the wilderness and pregnant with her sixth child, was bound for California. - Excerpt from "The 1864 Journal" by Mary Ringo in Vol. VIII, Covered Wagon Women.