Located right in the middle of Interstate 80, between Cheyenne and Laramie, in southeast Wyoming is a peculiar tree. The tree is a limber pine, which is common to the area, but this one seems to be growing out of a solid granite boulder. Upon closer inspection, you will notice that it’s actually growing out of a crack in the rock, owing to which the tree is stunted and twisted but is still going strong.
This small tree has fascinated travelers since the first train rolled past on the Union Pacific Railroad. It is said that the builders of the original railroad diverted the tracks slightly to pass by the tree as they laid rails across the Sherman Mountains in 1867-69. The train used to stop here while the locomotive firemen "gave the tree a drink" from their water buckets. The railroad moved several miles to the South in 1901 and the abandoned grade became a wagon road. Then in 1913, the old Lincoln Highway came by the 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.
The tree is now surrounded by a spiky fence to protect it, and a little parking area is nearby for travelers to stop and take snaps. No one knows how old the tree is. Limber Pines can live as long as 2000 years.
The Tree Rock, circa 1951-52. Photo credit
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