Book Review: ***Hard Road West: History and Geology along the California Trail
Why does the trail wander into the Black Hills instead of hugging the Platte. It happens the Platte goes through narrow canyons. The book points out that the river in many places predates the mountains. And that is why you have these narrow canyons like Devil's Gate. The river was there as the mountain rose over millions of years, and slowly cut the chasm.
If you like geology, you would love this book. If you want to understand the Pioneer Trail, and the hardships with the journey, this book is for you as well.