When the travelers crossed over the Idaho border into Oregon, they have traveled 1606 miles. To reach Oregon City, the official end of the trail, they would travel 524 more miles. A daunting prospect.
The word tired didn’t begin to describe how weary the travelers were at this point. Or how dirty. They hadn’t been able to take a real, hot bath in a real bathtub the whole time they had been the trail. Smelly would be a good description of their condition.
Comfort wasn’t a word that belonged in the same sentence as the words Oregon Trail.
It was a time when discouragement could overwhelm the travelers. There was very rough ground, rivers and mountains to get through.
The end of the trail must have seemed like a far off dream.
If a family chose to settle before the wagon train got to Oregon City, they could do so. They would need to be able to buy land. They would need to have a town within traveling distance to get supplies. And most important of all, they would need land where they could grow crops. The distance from a source of water was important. There was also the problem of living in complete isolation without any neighbors That would not only be dangerous if they needed some kind of help, but the loneliness would be severe.
By now, the travelers were positive that there were some fellow travelers in the wagon train that they wished would just please drop dead. Yesterday.
They were still putting up with the talkers. It was hard to shut them out when the travelers were tired. Of course, if there was a traveler that was silent, that could have well given the others the creeps. Speculation might have run from the man or woman had a broken heart to he or she must have murdered someone.
Friendships for life have formed between travelers.
The cows were still following the wagons. The chickens in the wagons were still complaining at every bump.
It was hard to tell that they were in Oregon at this point. There were still rough river crossings and it was still hot. The nights were cooling a bit and that did help.
Exhaustion has set in and it was a matter of putting one foot in front of the other.
The dream of owning land and starting a new, better life must have seemed remote. It was a question of surviving the rest of the trail.
This is map of the Oregon Trail by, National Park Service.
This is a relief map of the state of Oregon by, US Department of Agriculture.This is a picture of a covered wagon by, Gary Halverson, Oregon State Archives.
They didn’t paint the wagon boxes because it wouldn’t be good for the wood. This one was painted at a later time.
The pictures I am showing you are to give you an idea of what the Oregon Trail was like in Oregon.
Let’s say that it was at the end of August or early September.
Oregon wasn’t a hard winter state, but it would get cold at night as the month of September passed. The days were getting shorter. Traveling over the Blue Mountains could get dicey because it was higher up and it could get wintry.
This picture is from National Park Service. It’s a general covered wagon type picture.
This map of Oregon counties, shows Wallowa County in red. It is by, David Benbennick, Wikimedia Commons.
The Wallowa Mountains are in this part of Oregon. By, Mark Shandro, Wikimedia Commons.
Hells Canyon by, Ken Petty, FWWA, DOT.
The first Oregon river they needed to cross was Malheur River. This picture is from the Bureau of Land Management.
This is a picture of the North Grand River by, the Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture.
These are pictures of the Blue Mountains.
Three pictures by the Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture.
The next two picture are of a part of the Blue Mountains that the Oregon Trail went through. I have no author name for wither of them.
This is a map showing the thee John Day Fossil Beds by, Finetooth, Wikimedia Commons.
This is a map of the Columbia River Gorge Region by, the US Department of Agriculture. The Dalles is over a bit from the right lower part of the map.
This map is modified by Matthew Trump, Wikimedia Commons.
By, Gary Halverson.
The first is by US Government and the second is by the US Geological Survey.
The most difficult part of the Oregon Trail was next.
This was the Columbia River Gorge through the Cascade Mountains before Willamette Valley.
There was no trail here in 1843. The travelers would have to take apart the wagons and make log rafts to go down the river. The cows would go through Lolo Pass. This meant that the families would be separated.
People died trying to get down the river at this point.
A recent picture of Lolo Pass by, EncMastr, Wikimedia Commons.
By, Cacophny, Wikimedia Commons.
This last picture is a recent one of the kind of farmland our travelers settled by, Ryanatta, English Wikipedia.
Our travelers were home.