Once across Badwater Creek, the
trail headed due north up Bridger Creek. There is substantial
evidence that supports this particular portion of the trail
route along Bridger Creek. Just east of Bridger Creek emigrant
names are incised on a sandstone cliff face located east of
the ranch house on Herold Day's Bow and Arrow Ranch. The ranch
is depicted on the Arapahoe Butte, Wyoming, 7.5' USGS quadrangle.
The 1907 GLO plat shows the Bridger Trail passing on the east
side of Bridger Creek, which is the route between the present
- day Bow and Arrow Ranch and the cliff face. The emigrant names
help to validate the route of the Bridger Trail in this location.
These inscriptions were photographed
during the 1966 Bridger Trail Trek and re-photographed in August
1996, to compare their current integrity with that of 1966.
Photograph of the W.D. Walden
Inscription in 1966. The name was traced in Charcoal.
It is very hard to determine the change in condition of
the inscription because of the charcoal tracing.
day photograph of the W.D. Walden Inscription.
One of the emigrants, W. D. Walden,
most likely accompanied Bridger in the first train. Walden inscribed
a June 1, 1864, date on the rock, along with his name. Bridger
departed on May 20, allowing just eleven days to travel from
Red Buttes to the location of the cliff on the east side of
Bridger Creek. Although no day-to-day record of the first trip
is known to exist, Major Owen's diary mentions that it took
9 days (September 18-26) to reach Bridger Creek, and on the
10th day, they passed this point along the trail. Walden may
have been with the small train of "independents" that
left the cutoff a few days behind Bridger but they would have
had to hurry to arrive at that location by June 1. Jacobs' train
left on May 30, which rules out the possibility that Walden
would have been a member of that train. At least 3 other names
were left on the rock face in the same location during 1864
-- Sam Scott, J. Davis, and T. C. or T. G. Manning; however,
it is not known if they were with Walden because they failed
to provide an exact date.