"We are all beautiful even as we are all part of the problem, and to be a part of the problem is to be human." -- Anthony Doerr, "Cloud Cuckoo Land"

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Trail Weary

     By the time the emigrants had reached what is now present-day Oregon, they were plenty trail weary. So were we. There are about 350 miles left to go. For them it was a couple of weeks. For us, four more days. Then we'll be off the trail -- continuing up to Seattle to see family and friends.

Farewell Bend on the Snake River

     The pioneers said goodbye to the Snake River at Farewell Bend to travel, as the sign says, overland to the Columbia River. They only had a few narrow valleys to ease their way, along the Burnt River, the Powder River, the Grande Ronde River.

Sign at Farewell Bend

     But none of these proved much help when they had to climb over the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon. We stopped at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center which sits atop on Flagstaff hill, outside Baker City, OR.

The view from Flagstaff hill ... where old wagon ruts scar the hillside

     We stopped again at Hilgard Junction State Park where many of the emigrants made camp along the Grande Ronde. But first they had to get down this hill, one of the many dangerous descents in the Blues.
Emigrants unhitched their oxen and used ropes to lower their wagons down this hill

     We met David and Vicki, a retired couple volunteering to take care of Hilgard for the month of June. David moved to Oregon from New York 12 years ago, and now he and Vicki, from South Dakota, live fulltime in their RV. They summer in eastern Oregon and winter on the coast. 

David and Vicki sell wood for $5 by the cart-full to Hilgard campers

     They seem to like this lifestyle. But I'm a little trail weary. So I don't know if I would. Would you?


Red said...

I've liked how you took the Oregon trail and worked in the historical perspective/

Olga said...

I don't think I would have taken to covered wagon travel and I don;t think I could remain sane while living year round in an RV. I guess I wouldn't know for sure unless I tried it, but l am kind of satisfied with my life just the way it is right now.

DJan said...

No, it wouldn't be my first choice as a place to spend the summer. But I'm sure glad that some people like it. :-)

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

Oh my goodness, I was raised just over the hill from Farewell Bend in Huntington. I went to college in La Grande at EOSU and often had a picnic at Hillgarde State Park. It was so wonderful to see these pictures of home.

I hope you are having a wonderful time. Oh and that park is a wonderful spot for the perfect Summer stay! The river than runs nearby is so beautiful and clear.

Thank you for sharing.


Tabor said...

Nice how thoroughly you followed the history of the trail. Beautiful area and I hope I can see it sometime.

Jono said...

I can't even imagine river crossings in a beat up wagon.

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom! My husband Thom and I learned a long time ago that we aren't RV people. We did it for 2-3 weeks exploring northern Washington, Vancouver Island and parts of B.C. Even though we had a nice 27' RV (it belonged to Thom's parents) it got really small after a short time and we got road weary too! I'm sure you are seeing some lovely places but I don't doubt you'll be happy to land for a while. Looking forward to hearing about that too~ Kathy

retirementreflections said...

Hi, Tom - I've greatly enjoyed exploring the Oregon Trail with you. But I must confess, like some of your other readers I've been happy to do this virtually!

David @ iretiredyoung said...

It's an interesting point about being road weary. I have 4 months of travelling coming up, to Asia and Australia, and I'm a little nervous about it. Will I like it, will I get weary of being on the road and moving from place to place?

One of the reasons I'm doing it is because I have the chance to visit places and see things that I wouldn't, and I appreciate having that opportunity. Another reason is to challenge myself, to figure out how to overcome these nerves and to find out how to make the travelling work for me. Because I don't have the challenges of work anymore, I'm partly using my travel as a way to keep challenge in my early retired life.

Janet said...

Traveling offers a different view of the world but I always come back to my home with a deeper appreciation for where I live. Your journey has been interesting. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

Rebecca Olkowski said...

I'm enjoying all the photos. I'm not much of a camper but love always seeing new things. I could probably keep going for a while as long as I didn't have to do my business in the woods. LOL

Jennifer / Unfold And Begin said...

Thanks for making history come alive. Those pioneers were rugged people to do all of that in wagons.

BarbRad said...

We tried to follow as much of the Oregon Trail route as we could by car on our way home from some time in Massachusetts. We stopped to explore each historic place we passed in Nebraska and Wyoming, but then we had to head south through Utah and its national parks to get back home to California.

It was years later before we had a chance to see Walla Walla, now in Washington, which was where most of the books we read to our children (such as On to Oregon by Morrow) stopped.

I would not have done well in a covered wagon. It's more likely I would have wanted to walk beside it as many did for part of the way.

gigihawaii said...

I like your photos very much. Those photography classes did you a lot of good. Driving might be better than flying. You tend to see more when you drive.

Barbara said...

This series has really made me think of how incredibly hard they had it following the trail. I don't know if I would have done it. So glad you shared your travels with us.

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