Lodgepole Creek in Eagle Talons

Eagle Talons MapLodgepole Creek features prominently in Eagle Talons, The Iron Horse Chronicles–Book One. The creek rises in the Laramie Range of the Rocky Mountains in southeastern Wyoming, flows eastward across the southwestern corner of Nebraska, and joins the South Platte River near Julesburg in the northeastern corner of Colorado. This map, contained in Eagle Talons, shows this important watershed which was chosen by the Union Pacific as its route westward during the construction of the first transcontinental railroad.

Lodgepole Pines at base of Laramie Range.

Lodgepole pines at base of Laramie Range.

The creek takes its name from the large stands of Lodgepole pines that grew on the slopes of the Laramie Range. This species of pine tree is common in the western United States. The Indians prized the tall, straight trunks for poles to support their teepees, and they purposely came to this area to cut the trees. Will Braddock, Jenny McNabb, and Paddy O’Hannigan all encounter Lone Eagle in a Cheyenne village that I located on the north bank of Lodgepole Creek near the base of the Laramie Range.

Modern day Lodgepole Creek.

Modern day Lodgepole Creek.

Lodgepole Creek is not impressive where it crosses the current north-south highway, and there is no road that easily parallels the creek to allow access to its origin in the mountains to the west. A few miles north flows Horse Creek, a virtual clone of Lodgepole Creek. I followed Horse Creek on a gravel road back into the Laramie Range, and it was scenes along the route that inspired my vision of where to locate the Cheyenne village in Eagle Talons.

Imagined location of Cheyenne village.

Imagined location of Cheyenne village.

I found no historical record to indicate that in July 1867 a village actually existed along Lodgepole Creek, but it is almost certain that such villages appeared here frequently when Indians roamed the area in search of buffalo and came to cut Lodgepole pines.


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2 Responses to Lodgepole Creek in Eagle Talons

  1. Bo miller says:

    Very interesting.

  2. Suzy Fisher says:

    So interesting. When I took a Navajo Culture class, we went with our Navajo partners to Washington Pass where they cut their lodge poles. We shared a meal prepared over an open fire. I can imagine much the same way as depicted in the book. You are so meticulous in all your research. Great work! Hugs, Suzy (your Sis)

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