A Weekly Offering of This n That

Rainy Day is my alter ego. She is the little angel that sits on one shoulder and whispers in my ear to forgo that 6" piece of triple chocolate fudge with the four scoops of ice cream on it; she is also the little devil who sits on my other shoulder and convinces me that I can eat just one bite of each and be satisfied, and then laughs with such great abandon when in fact, I eat the whole thing, she falls off my shoulder. Mostly, Rainy Day helps me see the humor in living and, mostly, she encourages me down the right path. Not necessarily the straight and narrow one (how fun is that?) but the path that offers the most adventure and fun.

Monday, April 21, 2014

At Last! The Famed Powder River

Do not, I beg, get eye strain trying to read this, but it is interesting.
First, however, we absitively posolutely must have a word from our sponsor, Madame Dorion: Her Journey to the Oregon Country. It is, after all, the sponsor who pays our bills;-)

There were, of course, no fences when Marie came through.
"Imagine yourself a young woman on a cross-country road trip from St. Louis to Oregon. Okay, you say, that's easy. But now imagine that there are no roads and the trip is made on horseback, in sometimes make-shift boats, and on foot through incredibly rugged unexplored territory, two toddlers in tow (one of which has a "strangeness about him") with a third child on the way. Throw into the mix hostile Indians, unimaginable thirst and hunger, heat and cold, and nothing to sustain you except the will to go on. That was the journey that Marie Dorion took with her husband 200 years ago as the only female on the ill-fated hunting/trapping venture known as the Wilson Price Hunt Expedition. Ms. Good's remarkably well-researched and well-written account of this event expertly weaves in the fiction while ensuring that the actual events remain unbruised by it. The result is a novel that sweeps you along not only on a gripping true story of survival, but also takes you on a spiritual journey into the heart of this amazing and stoic Native American woman. Madame Dorion is, indeed, deserving of a place in history alongside Sacajawea and Pocahontas.

I doubt if there were tulips, either.
"This is an easy, enjoyable read, both entertaining and educational; whether you are a history buff or simply enjoy a great adventure, this story is not to be missed." – JA

Before we return to our regularly scheduled Blogram, may I remind you that Mother's Day is coming, and Madame Dorion would be a wonderful gift for that favorite mother of yours. (If nothing else, it will remind her that she didn't have it so rough when she raised you ;-)

The locals claim the Powder River is not only a mile wide and an inch deep, but it is also too thick to drink, and too thin to plow. As the photos below will show, they're pretty right on!

Probably close to what it looked like, if you take away
the fences and trash trees.
The river today looks somewhat different than it did 200 years ago. Back then, if there were any trees, they were probably cottonwoods that lined the shore. Today, there are two invasive species of trees, one being the Russian Olive, which is a water hog, and should, at all cost, be eliminated. The olives, though edible, just aren't worth the cost in water. And I can't remember what the other tree is, but both were introduced about 100 years ago.

Looking West from the Powder River rest stop
31 August 1811. The party has passed through the barren hills, crossed tributaries of the Powder, and have finally reached the main branch. They suffered days of thirst, and the loss of one dog due to thirst (the dog died two hours before they came to water).

Marie and the boys found buffalo berries (choke cherries) and gooseberries along the rivers edge which gave them a little variety in their meal that night.

Thunder storms rolled across the prairie, and down the river. The group camped on the highest ground they could find.

Walking along the bank of the Powder River
The next day a group of Crow came, and Hunt managed to trade his horses for 121 well-fed and mountain-trained ones. They were about to cross mountains, and trained horses would be a help. Many of the men were weak and tired, and the company moved too slowly for the Crow to accompany them as they continued west into the Big Horn Mountains and Powder River Pass.

As you can see, it's only an inch deep -- if that

Shallow, but a nice reflecting 'pond' for the sky
Cottonwood and Russian olive

Too thin to walk on, too ;-)

Russian Olives.
Next week: Through the pass, across the plains, and arrival at the Wind River.

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