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 28, 2014

Over the Powder River Pass and beyond

Over the Powder River Pass and onward to the Bighorn / Wind River

There is a reason it's called a 'Big Sky"
Before we start, we really do need a friendly word from our sponsor, Madame Dorion: Her Journey to the Oregon Country. It is, after all, the sponsor who pays our bills;-). That is, when you, devoted fans buy the book and spread the word. And, believe me, we have bills.

 Coming over the Pass. Of course, there were no fences then.
"Authors who write historical fiction, and do it well, must remain true to the essential facts of their subject, while simultaneously conveying a sense of the undocumented character of the protagonists. Lenora Rain-Lee Good has managed this admirably in her book about Marie Dorion, a Native American, who like the better-known, Sacagawea, helped to guide the white man's exploration of the West. Rain-Lee Good's meticulous research -- she retraced a good part of Dorion's travels -- and innovated approach to conveying her story, as entries in Dorion's diary -- make for a revealing portrait of a most remarkable and important character in America’s early history. The book might have been improved by inclusion of a map tracing the Wilson Price Hunt expedition that Dorion accompanied, but details on the Hunt expedition are easily found via a Google search. The book is highly recommended for those who enjoy historical fiction, especially about the exploration of the Northwest." –RB
Truly, a whole lot of wide open space

Wind River Hot Springs at Thermopolis, Wyoming
And, may I remind you, Mother's Day is coming, and a wonderful gift would be my book about a wonderful and devoted mother, Madame Dorion. Your local bookstore will be happy to order it for you, if they don't already have it in stock. If you don't have a favorite bookstore, may I suggest Barnes & Noble—they are supporting me by having a signing at our local store on 7 June. Now, back to our regular blogramming.

The Bighorn/Wind River
Modern day highway #16 roughly follows the trail the Astorians took through the Bighorn Mountains between Buffalo and Worland, Wyoming.* In the mountains they found trees, shade, and somewhat cooler weather. By the 7th of September 1811 they were back on the plains with game and water both scarce.

They met several Shoshone and Flatheads, all friendly, who traded with them, traveled with them, for a while at least, and helped when they could. The Astorians followed the Big Horn River as much as possible; however, they did not realize the Big Horn River became the Wind River at the present day site called Marriage of the Rivers.

Heading toward Wind River Pass
"13 September 1811.  Crossed the Wind River.  The mountains have closed in and are rugged. The terrain is tortuous to ride or walk. The peaks are high, the winds strong and constant.

The walls of the canyon are almost straight up and a gorgeous red.... There are few trees and little game."

Red Rocks of the Wind River Pass
By the 15th of September, Hunt had ordered the group to leave the river and follow the Indian road. The men did not like that and grumbled. By now, many of the men had lost their faith in Hunt's ability to lead. (He was not a mountain man/trapper but a businessman. He hired guides and often ignored them.)  Marie, by now, didn't care. She was just too tired, and wanted this journey to end!

On the 16th September 1811, they reached modern day Union Pass, where we will pick up our story next week.

Going into the Wind River Pass
*If you Google the Wilson Price Hunt Expedition, you will see where much of their overland journey, as near as I can figure, seemed to follow what became our highways, byways, and freeways. The reason for that is the local First Nation folk followed the game trails because they were the easiest. Then the trappers followed the First Nation roads because they were there. Then the Immigrants came along with their wagons and cattle and eventually the Highway Departments followed all with their concrete trucks. It would have been nice, however, had Hunt said, in his Journal, "this place is the future site of Buffalo, Wyoming (or wherever) but I guess he just didn't know where we'd plant our towns further down the time line ;-)

Green flowers, red dirt

No comments:

Post a Comment