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Don’t mistake the edge of the rut for the horizon.

Ruts carved into stone by the passage of wagons on the Oregon Trail - near Guernsey, Wyoming.

I was struck by the power of getting into a rut when visiting this site on the road trip to Colorado. Countless numbers of pioneer's wooden wheeled wagons carved this cut, these narrow ruts through solid rock.

I have nothing profound at all to say here. I only marveled at the power of following the known path. I thought about the difficulty of breaking out of our easy routines and understandings. How challenging it is to create a new path.

Oh, and how tried and true methods can move a lot people a very long way...


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Reader Comments (6)

I'd buy that the trail was cut by folks walking or riding through it, but the Oregon Trail was not used by Europeans long enough to cut through that much rock without some help (unless it's really soft, but then I'd see wheel ruts).

Enjoy Denver! Part of me is jealous, but a bigger part would rather stay by the shore.

June 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Doyle

I had a friend who always said a rut was just a grave with both ends kicked out.

June 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

I like the images you play with here. Many of us are creatures of habit and get in ruts. It's important to keep one eye on the exciting potential of the horizon.

June 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaul C

Hi Paul,

The irony for me is that ruts can also be helpful in some ways. I like the cruise control on my car!

Thanks for the comment,


HI Michael,

If you look up "Oregon Trail Ruts" in Wikipedia it reads:

The Oregon Trail here was winding up towards South Pass. Wagon wheels, draft animals, and people wore down the trail about two to six feet into a sandstone ridge here, during its heavy usage from 1841-1869.The half-mile stretch is "unsurpassed" and is the best-preserved of Oregon Trail ruts anywhere along its former length.

The state of Wyoming buys into the theory anyway!

Enjoy the beach.



Great saying. Thanks.

Keep up the good work on Grocery Store Feet!


June 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

LOL--let me tell you about ruts. I used to work at a small K-12 school that was 30 miles down a logging road. While driving to work one snowy winter day, which always makes me nervous, I was carefully following the ruts in the icy slush, thinking it would be easier driving...until the ruts led off the road, into a ditch, and I couldn't get out of them. In slow motion, I drove off the side of the road, turned over in the ditch and had to crawl out the car window.

So much for following in the paths of others!


June 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeri Hurd


So, do you think lemmings make ruts as they move toward the cliff? Maybe. I don't get the sense you follow TOO many common paths!


July 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

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