The going is easy now on on Highway 92 through Nebraska’s Mitchell Pass with its prominent sandstone formations on each side. But the journey was rugged during the Westward Expansion of the mid-1800’s when pioneers crossed in covered wagons over unpredictable terrain. These rock sentinels, assuring them that they were not lost, were a welcome sight! Today, wooden signposts mark the places where the Oregon Trail passed through the area and the land is protected as a part of Scotts Bluff National Monument.
In geological terms, Heart Mountain’s flat-topped shape is caused by a thrust fault, the pushing up of younger rocks above older ones, and subsequent erosion. These distinctive formations are called klippes. In human terms, it was in the shadow of this mountain outside of Cody, Wyoming, that over 10,000 Japanese-Americans were held in an encampment after the World War II bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Today the site is a National Historic Landmark comprised of an outdoor interpretive center and a museum, which together provide visitors with an intimate view of what daily life was like in the camp.