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, June 16, 2014

From Cauldron Linn to Hell's Canyon

Had a marvelous trip to Ontario, Oregon where I gave a well-received talk about Madame Dorion at the Four Rivers Cultural Center. The audience was appreciative, asked good questions, and bought books. If you are looking for road trips this summer, consider the Pacific Northwest, and make this one of your destinations—both the town and the cultural center. They have an excellent museum, and the shocker for me, was all the items Japanese. Seems many Japanese were shipped to Ontario region during the war to help the farmers harvest their crops, and when the war ended, they stayed. There is also a large Basque contingent, Hispanic, and of course Indian artifacts.

The following day I headed home, with a scheduled stop at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and Gift Shop just outside Baker City, Oregon. Another destination for your summer drives. The Center is on top of a fairly high hill, with a breathtaking view from all sides. There are walking paths to the old Oregon Trail, a wonderful museum and theater, and the gift shop is going to put a dent in your wallet;-) Again, a great audience with some great questions.

Kudos to Matt Stringer (Four Rivers) and Phoebe Charbonneau (Oregon Trail) for inviting me and doing such a marvelous job of setting everything up.

"The author took great pains in her research, traveled the trail, and dug deep into her own Native American roots to bring the reader a plausible reality. It is wonderful that experts provided Ms. Good with credible information so her imagination could create this experience for the reader (although according to one comment it appears she was stonewalled by some). The length and tone of the journal entries change with the circumstances along the trail, adding something extra for the reader's enjoyment and comprehension of this woman's bravery and fierce loyalty to her family's survival. It is a great springboard for readers interested in seriously researching a part of US history not in the mainstream. I recommend this book, especially for those of you looking for a quick summertime read to take beach." –DT

By the 23d of December 1811, they had walked, starving, thirsty, and cold from east of present-day Murtagh, Idaho, and into what we now call Hell's Canyon. Marie had a skinny horse she rode that Pierre defended any time Hunt wanted it to ride himself, or to feed the men. (Pierre said they would eat it as a last resort, fortunately, they found other food).

No one knows for sure how far up Hell's Canyon they went, the walls were steep, and close, Marie had to walk most of the way, carrying her pack, Paul, and the baby was due any time. They were able to shoot a deer at one point. When Hunt finally turned the group back, they found friendly Shoshone at what is now known as Farewell Bend, and were told they would have to go over the mountains, and to do so in winter was to invite death as there was too much snow and too much cold.

Somehow, Hunt and or Pierre managed to hire three guides to take them over the Blue Mountains. They were not enthusiastic about it, but the price must have been to their liking.
Looking up the Snake River at Farewell Bend

Looking down the Snake toward the mouth of Hell's Canyon

Sign at the park

"23 December 1811. All are across, many extremely weak and exhausted.
It took one day to get all the men and the five puny horses across the river. Two men and their supplies would come across, and one man would go back.... Mr. Crooks's men are very weak, especially four of them, which is why we waited an extra day.
            "We are finally all together on the same shore and ready to finish this journey. I no longer think my daughter will be born at Fort Astoria, I now only hope she is born on the Columbia River and not in these mountains. Though, mostly, I just want her born and healthy. As much as I don't like her kicking, I worry when she doesn't.
            "These mountains are barren, like the plains we just crossed. Trees are few and far apart, unless there is a creek or river. It is snowing."

Road side Historical Marker. By the way, there was no mention of her using a travois in any of the journals I read.
Today, driving on the Interstate, it takes about an hour to go what took them easily a week or more. It took me a tad over an hour to drive from Ontario to Baker City, 66 miles. It took them a week to get from Farewell Bend to wherever the baby was born (possibly near North Powder River?) About the same distance I believe.

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