Massacre Rocks State Park
American Falls, Idaho
July 2, 2006
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How could we pass up the unfortunately-named Massacre
Rocks State Park for our camping stopover? We took a swim
in the Snake River at dusk and climbed atop the boulders,
wondering what catastrophe had befallen someone here.
Was it Indians got massacred? Or was it Indians did the
massacre-ing? Were Mormons involved? Would we hear the
wails in the wind at night?
In the morning, a chatty ranger (who had paused in his rounds
to talk VW vans with us) explained that the name represented
significant overbilling. The park is located along the
Oregon trail at a spot where it winds through a narrow
gap in boulders, a place that trail guides thought themselves
especially susceptible to an attack -- which, it turns out,
At nearby Register Rock, pioneers scratched their names and
initials into the rock. These drawings of an Indian chief and a preacher
were scratched into the rock in 1866 by a 7-year-old who was crossing
along the trail with his family. In Oregon, he grew up to become a
sculptor and returned to visit the carvings at a ceremony in 1908.