It took a magnifying glass, but together at the kitchen counter in the house where I grew up, my Dad and I were able to find out just exactly where he was (he is perched on the rock with his younger brother, seated above his father in the dapper white suit and his mother with the stylish hat; gentleman in the double-breasted suit, a family friend) on this day in 1941.
The top of the wooden cross bars reads “Wyoming.”
The wooden sign hanging down states “Tree in Solid Rock,” and the plaque attached to the fence says “The Old Pine Tree.”
My Dad has small memory of this roadside attraction that is described as one of the “Wonders of Wyoming.” The website of the same name details its location and history:
Tree Rock is located on Interstate 80, in the median, smack-dab in the middle of the Interstate. It lies on a stretch of I-80 between Cheyenne and Laramie, in southeast Wyoming. Imagine the number of travelers that pass by Tree Rock each day. There’s a very unusual median turnout that allows for motorists to stop and take pictures or just marvel at the tree that grows out of a boulder of pre-historic rock.
Tree Rock has fascinated passers-by since the 1860’s when the first Union Pacific train rolled by. It is said that the tracks were once diverted to pass by Tree Rock. In 1901, the railroad line moved south, but a wagon road remained. Then in 1913, the old Lincoln Highway came by Tree Rock, and by the 1920’s, the Lincoln Highway gave way to U.S. Highway 30. Finally, in the 1960’s, Interstate 80 was built, and Tree Rock was guaranteed a large audience for years to come.
Tree Rock is a small, twisted, limber pine tree. There are many others around the Cowboy State that look very much like it. But this one grows out of a crack in a pre-Cambrian Era pink Sherman granite boulder. No one knows exactly how old the little defiant pine tree is, but we do know that the species can live as long as 2,000 years. As for the rock, it is known that the boulder was formed anywhere from 1-4 billion years ago. – wondersofwyoming.com
I think it would be grand to make the same trip as my Dad’s Dad did with my kids and pose for the same photograph. What do you say Mom friends, is this bucket list worthy? Leave me your thoughts in the comments.