The Gazette from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on July 4, 1993 · 27
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The Gazette from Cedar Rapids, Iowa · 27

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 4, 1993
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INSIDE lowans Today, 3C TV schedule, 5C Travel, 9-10C Life & Leisure nTiiiii THE I hree hundred thousand emigrants traveled the Oregon Trail between 1842 and 1860, making this the greatest peacetime migration in the history of the world. The Trail stretches 2,000 miles across six states. Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Great Migration of 1843, there will be an official wagon train across Idaho and Oregon and a traveling musical based on voices or pioneers ana Native Americans. I jSOO' Oregon Trail " EHB BfelEBtHHB 1 Source: Oregon State Tourism AP Jeff Magness From the diaries of the pioneers "A great thoroughfare broad and well-worn the longest and beet natural road perhaps In the world. Endless seemed the procession of wagons." Philip St. George Cooke, 1845 "The dead were laid In packing boxes but could not be covered so deep but the prowling savages would exhume them to get the clothes they were burled In." Nancy (Hembree) Bogart, 1843 "I tell you the Journey Is hard. We have had no wood for the past two hundred miles and we were forced to cook with buffalo chips, we were at a loss for water In some places and grass Is rather scarce." Thomas Nixon, 1850 "... I have bin much deceived in this journey. Thair is nothing more in travil-ing on this trip than any other. We have come one thousand miles and with out an axldent either to man or beast or waggon, the journey appears to agree with us well." Lewis Zigler, 1852 "We have had a verry pleasant trip sofer (so far). We are just beginning to come in to natural curriossltys. Among the greatest of whltch is Chimney Rock. It Is probably a quarter of a mile In diameter at the base." J.C. Lowrey, 1859 From "Platte River Road Narratives." by Merrill J. Mattes, (University of Illinois Press) Trail trip brings history alive By Rich and Marlon Patterson Free-lance writers During roughly two decades in the mid-1800s, the Ore-goo Trail carried 300,000 Americans and their dreams westward across the dusty plains, over the Rocky Mountains, through Idaho's desert and down the Columbia River to the rich soil of the well-watered Willamette Valley. Imagine selling the farm and most possessions, loading bare necessities on a wagon and pushing west to a place that promises rich soil and a pleasant future. Imagine, too, forfeiting a year's income from a crop not planted during the entire growing season spent crossing the continent. The Oregon Trail never was official; it was an informal 2,020-mile route that led families across hostile land from 1840 into the 1860s to a new home near the Photo by Rich Patterson Inscriptions tell the story at Courthouse Rock in Nebraska. Pacific. This year's sesquicentennial celebration, marking the first time a large number of people nearly 1,000 in 1843 hit the trail, is a great time for modern pioneers to follow the trail westward from Independence, Mo., to Oregon City, Ore. We can share all the wonders of the trail without the hardships and do it by auto, airplane, train or one of many re-created covered wagon tours. Parts of the trail can be reached within a long day's drive of Cedar Rapids. It's possible to see some trail sights over a long weekend. Emigrants often started near Kansas City, crossed northeastern Kansas and followed the Blue River north into Nebraska. Then they made the long, gradual westward trek along the Platte River, with hair-raising crossings when it was swollen from rains. After a thousand miles of a steady uphill trail, they crossed the Continental Divide at South Pass, Wyo. From there it was downhill to Oregon. Pioneers saw wonders of nature they never imagined in their native states. Geologic marvels like Chimney Rock and Please turn to 10C: Trail Here are addresses to write for more information on the Oregon Trail Sesquicentennial celebration: Oregon Trail Coordinating Council, 222 N.W. Davis, Suite 309, Portland, Ore. 97209 Oregon State Tourism Office, 775 Summer St. NE, Salem, Ore. 97310, 1-(800) 547-7842 Idaho Vacation Information, 700 W. State St., Boise, Idaho B3720, I -(800) 635-7820 Wyoming Division of Tourism, I-25 at College Drive, Cheyenne. Wyo. 82002, 1-(800) 225-5996 Nebraska Tourism Division, P.O. Box 94666, Lincoln, Neb 68509-4666, 1-1800) 228-4307 Kansas Division of Travel & Tourism, 400 SW 8th St., 500, Topeka, Kan. 66603, (913) 296-2009 Missouri Division of Tourism, P.O. Box 1055, Jefferson City, Mo., (314) 751-4133 mm n 'KJ AP photo A covered wagon like those used in days gone by re-creates the scene on the Oregon Trail. Wyoming claims longest stretch of trail FORT LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) While it took emigrants a month or more to traverse the 487 miles of the Oregon Trail that spanned Wyoming the longest stretch of trail in any of the six trail states today's travelers can cover the distance in a few days on paved highways that parallel the route. At this historic fort, which served as a military outpost and resting spot for wagon trains, visitors can inspect military quarters as well as the ruins of the Army Hospital. The fort was built over the site of a cemetery that holds the remains of fur trappers, emigrants and soldiers. Milton Sublette, brother of mountain man William Sublette, is buried here. HERE, WHERE THE Oregon, California and Mormon trails converged, pioneers had a chance to take a last look at the lives they were leaving before moving on to the new lives they hoped to build. For it is here that the vast, wide plains across which the Oregon Trail cuts begin to give way to rougher, mountainous terrain. Brigham Young, the ill-fated Donnor party, Please turn to page 10C: Wyoming The six states that claim parts of the Oregon Trail have scheduled celebrations and special events throughout the year. Here are some of the major activities: Conestoga wagon trek, May 2 to early October, Independence, Mo., to Independence, Ore. You can join the caravan for a day or a week or more, or ride alongside on horseback. A one-day wagon ride with a chuck-wagon lunch is $25 per person. Overnight rides are $125 per person a day. To travel alongside the train on horseback, the charge is $125 per person a day, including horse rental. An overnight horse trip is $165 per person. Information: Historic Trails Expeditions, P.O. Box 428, Mills, Wyo. 82644, (307) 266-4868. Three Island Crossing re-enactment, Aug. 12-14, Glenns Ferry, Idaho. The pioneers who chose to ford the Snake River in southwestern Idaho with their wagons are memorialized in this annual re-enactment at Three Island Crossing State Park. Information: Three Island Crossing State Park, P.O. Box 609, Glenns Ferry, Idaho, (208) 366-2394. Overland by bus; July 8 and 22, Aug. 5 and 19, Sept. 2, 16 and 30, and Oct. 14; Independence, Mo., to Portland, Ore. Senior Citizens Roaming Around the Map (S.C.R.A.M.) Tours have organized 11-day motorcoach trips. The itinerary sticks as close as possible to the trail's route, and participants will have several opportunities to see and walk beside historic ruts. On the agenda is a chuck-wagon cookout, a prairie schooner ride, panning for gold and a stop at a Nevada gambling palace. The price from Independence is $789 per person (double occupancy) and includes 10 nights lodging and three meals. Information: Senior Citizens Roaming Around the Map, P.O. Box 1602, Pendleton, Ore. 97801, 1 (800) 247-2060. Campflre songfests, through fall, Chimney Rock and Scotts Bluff In Nebraska. Price is $16.95 for adults, $8.50 for children under 12, $1 per year of age for children under 6. Information; Oregon Trail Wagon Train, Bayard, Neb. 69334, (308) 586-1850. Reunion at Fort Bridger, Aug. 1, Fort Bridger, Wyo. Descendants of Jim Bridger and Louis Vasquez, the two mountain men who opened a trading post on the Oregon Trail in western Wyoming, plan to stage a reunion. The gathering is intended to fill in some of the details missing from the lives of the two men. Wagon ruts are still visible near Fort Laramie, Wyo. Lx.

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