Above Pinedale, Wyoming is Half Moon Lake, a gorgeous lake with great scenery all around.
What happens when glaciers move across land? Glaciers gather up rocks as they move down the mountain. The rocks act as sharp, rough, cutting tools that are held tightly in the glacier ice. These “rock tools” rip out more rocks and soil and they are added to the moving glacier. Glaciers of the Great Ice Age deeply eroded the land wherever they traveled. Glaciers today continue to form sharp peaks and jagged ridges. They are a powerful force.
Scientists used to wonder about piles of unsorted rocks and soils that appeared far from where they belonged. They also found humongous single rocks. Long ago people thought floods had moved the soil and rocks. A Swiss scientist, Louis Agassiz, determined that they were moved by glaciers. Glaciers cut valleys into the land and leave sharp mountain peaks. They also leave smooth, rolling hills. You can tell if glaciers have been there if you see deep scratches on rocks, large boulders standing alone, and round ponds left behind where the soil was dug away.
A marker located west of the Pine Creek Bridge in Pinedale, on the North side of the highway reads:
“On Oct. 16, 1812, the Astorians Robert Stuart, Ramsay Crooks, Robert McClellan, Joseph Miller, Benjamin Jones, Francis LeClair and Andy Vallee, traveling from Astoria to St. Louis, all their horses having been stolen by Indians, passed this way on foot and forded Pine Creek near here, the first white men known to have seen it.
From Stuart’s Journal: ‘We forded another stream whose banks were adorned with many pines – near which we found an Indian encampment – deserted about a month ago, with immense numbers of buffalo bones strewed everywhere – in the center of camp a great lodge of pines and willows – at the west end three persons lay interred with feet to east and at head of each a large buffalo skull painted black – from lodge were suspended numerous ornaments and moccasins.’
Six days later, on Oct. 22, 1812, they made the memorable discovery of the South Pass.”
The marker was erected in August of 1962 at the expense of the Sublette County Historical Board. The script is by Jim Harrower.
In 1904, John F. Patterson proposed establishing a town in the Green River Valley along Pine Creek in western Wyoming, in what then was still part of Fremont County. Patterson offered to build and stock a general store if local ranchers Charles A. Petersen and Robert O. Graham each donated five acres for the town site. The three men agreed, and hired a surveyor. Pinedale, Wyo., named after the post office on Petersen’s ranch, became a town on paper owned by the trio.
The boundary line set by the ranchers became Pine Street. Patterson earned recognition as the founder of Pinedale. On Sept. 26, 1904, the first town plat was drawn on a piece of yellow cloth showing blocks, lots and streets. That date was designated as Founder’s Day.
The tiny town served the area’s small, yet thriving, industries. This included supplying provisions for tie hacks living in mountain camps. Tie hacks, who cut trees and shaped railroad ties from them, came from around the world for this work. As Union Pacific Railroad expanded its tracks through Wyoming in the early years of the 20th century, it needed ties to support the new rails.
Even before the town of Pinedale was founded, guests, often known as “dudes,” paid guides to assist them during their visits to the nearby Wind River Mountains. During the late 1800s, tourists came to enjoy horse pack trips, fishing and hunting in the beautiful nearby mountains.
Great herds of Hereford and Black Angus cattle roamed on area ranches in the Green River Valley, some of which were established before the town itself. Ranchers and cowboys, along with their families, were among the early settlers of the region.(…more here)