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Picturing history: Point of Rocks

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 26 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

Point of Rocks, seen in these images, was a landmark on the Cimarron Route of the Santa Fe Trail. The Mormon Battalion passed by here in mid- to late September in 1846.

Kenneth Mays

For many miles, the Mormon Battalion marched in Kansas along the Cimarron River, which usually was little more than a sandy riverbed with no water. In fact, there is only enough water for the Cimarron to have flowing water several times a year. Battalion members frequently had to dig three to four feet down in the riverbed in hopes of finding any water. Because of the heat, camps along the Santa Fe Trail were bustling with activity before the sun came up as they prepared for another grueling day. Most traveling groups were responsible for their own safety, which could be a challenge when hostile Native American tribes were in the area. Point of Rocks, seen in these images, was a landmark on the Cimarron Route of the Santa Fe Trail. The Mormon Battalion passed by here in mid- to late September in 1846.

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