Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Oregon Trail

(Jan) From 1841 through the 1860's approximated 60,000 emigrants came to Oregon over the Oregon Trail. Many thousands more traveled part of the trail and headed towards California or Utah. For 2,000 miles of endless prairie, scorching desserts and swollen rivers, often fighting near starvation, the mothers, fathers and children marched as far as twenty miles a day for five straight months. As wagon trains topped Flagstaff Hill in Easter Oregon, after traveling 1600 miles, they had their first glimpse of the Blue Mountains, the lush Baker valley and the promise of a new life in Oregon. The National Historical Oregon Interpretive Center was built by the Bureau of Land Management at the crest of Flagstaff Hill east of Baker City in 1992. The most impressive feature of the mseum is it's 100 foot long recreation of life of on the trail with it's life sized figures of emigrants, wagons and animals complete with the sounds of creaking wagons, pioneer chatter and the jaggling chains of plodding oxen. The visitor to the center can nearly feel the constant choking dust or share the misery of burying a child on the trail who had fallen under the wagon wheels. The rut of the wagon wheels left by the wagon trains can still be seen in the sagebrush prairie on Flagstaff Hill 150 years after these brave pioneers headed west to forge a new life for themselves and future generation in the Willamette Valley.

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