17.08.2018 Views

Travel Oregon Special Insert Sept | Oct 2018

You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.

A NEW<br />

FRONTIER<br />

175 YEARS OF THE OREGON TRAIL


1 A NEW FRONTIER SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER <strong>2018</strong>


FROM THE EDITOR<br />

WHEN I WALKED through the National Historic<br />

<strong>Oregon</strong> Trail Interpretive Center in<br />

Baker City in June, I was struck by the<br />

gravity of it all. Exhibits showed packing lists of blankets,<br />

rifles and flour. Diaries of <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail migrants<br />

talked about their friends and family left behind and<br />

their hopeful visions of a new life—as murky as they<br />

were. They might have been leaving for Mars. Exhibits<br />

talked about how families buried their own members<br />

along the way, said a few words, then moved on up<br />

the trail, no more than a rough-hewn dirt path.<br />

Outside of the interpretive center, I laced up my<br />

shoes and ran down into the valley below the museum,<br />

where you can see the ruts the wagon wheels<br />

made on the 2,200-mile continental traverse and finished<br />

the run just as rain fell in Eastern <strong>Oregon</strong>. People<br />

from the Bureau of Land Management were in<br />

the corrals next to the museum showing horses and<br />

giving them up for adoption. Some things haven’t<br />

changed beyond recognition.<br />

On the 175th anniversary of the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail, I,<br />

along with a co-adventurer, retraced the route of the<br />

trail from its eastern point of entry to modern <strong>Oregon</strong><br />

to its western terminus in <strong>Oregon</strong> City. We brought<br />

bikes, running shoes, a couple of dogs and our usual<br />

sense of come-what-may along our updated journey<br />

on the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail. We covered tough-going, hot and<br />

exposed sections of the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail and forested,<br />

freezing lengths of the Barlow Trail. We dined in places<br />

Anthony Bourdain would have loved and found some<br />

of the most enterprising breweries that produced<br />

hoppy rewards at the end of each day’s efforts.<br />

In all, we found an <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail that is still there,<br />

showing its roots and ruts while offering the modern<br />

<strong>Oregon</strong> Trail traveler an upscale experience at key<br />

historic points along the way. On the next iteration, I<br />

will bring my wife and daughters along on this history-meets-adventure<br />

version of the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail.<br />

— Kevin Max, 1859 <strong>Oregon</strong>'s Magazine<br />

A NEW<br />

FRONTIER<br />

175 YEARS OF THE OREGON TRAIL<br />

A publication of the<br />

OREGON TOURISM<br />

COMMISSION<br />

Toll-free 800.547.7842<br />

<strong>Travel</strong><strong>Oregon</strong>.com<br />

Email: info@traveloregon.com<br />

Produced in association with<br />

STATEHOOD MEDIA<br />

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER <strong>2018</strong> A NEW FRONTIER 2


Photo by Megan Morse<br />

IN THE WAGON RUTS<br />

Exploring our <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail ancestry<br />

to better understand ourselves<br />

WRITTEN BY SHEILA G. MILLER<br />

NEXT TIME YOU think your day has been taxing, just remember—the<br />

pioneers who came to our fair state on the <strong>Oregon</strong><br />

Trail 175 years ago had to take at least 5 million steps to<br />

cover the 2,170 miles from Independence, Missouri, to <strong>Oregon</strong> City.<br />

“And they were not all easy steps,” said Mel Fuller, a descendant of<br />

<strong>Oregon</strong> Trail pioneers. “There were probably more than that if you<br />

were running around finding firewood, gathering buffalo chips for a<br />

fire, trying to gather food. Five million steps was just walking it pace<br />

by pace. It’s a long trip.”<br />

<strong>Oregon</strong>ians of all stripes are commemorating the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail’s<br />

175th anniversary this year, but some around the state keep at the<br />

front of their minds the grit and determination of their ancestors<br />

who walked the trail in search of a better life and a piece of land all<br />

their own.<br />

Fuller is a member of the Sons and Daughters of <strong>Oregon</strong> Pioneers,<br />

a group that celebrates direct descendants of those who settled <strong>Oregon</strong><br />

Country—now <strong>Oregon</strong>, Washington, Idaho, parts of Montana,<br />

Wyoming and much of British Columbia—before <strong>Oregon</strong> became a<br />

state in 1859.<br />

Fuller said his mother, whose ancestors, the Bozarths, crossed the<br />

plains on the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail in 1845, took an active interest in the family’s<br />

history. Fuller, a Lake Oswego resident who grew up in Prineville,<br />

took it from there.<br />

The Bozarths came west with nine children, including a 13-year-old<br />

named Christopher Columbus Bozarth. Fifty years later, Bozarth gave<br />

an interview to the Cathlamet (Washington) Gazette, recounting his<br />

experiences in the wagon train.<br />

“That became kind of a family heirloom,” Fuller said. “I have one of<br />

the original reprints.”<br />

Bozarth’s account details the family’s start in April 1845 from Iowa<br />

with a “large prairie schooner wagon,” four yoke of oxen, a family carriage<br />

drawn by oxen, cattle, a dog and Bozarth’s riding pony. The family<br />

passed through Iowa and was joined by fifteen more wagons, thirty-one<br />

men and an untold number of women and children. In many<br />

ways, the account is clearly from a 13-year-old’s perspective—Bozarth<br />

recalls his riding pony being stolen, for example.<br />

“It’s a younger person’s viewpoint and perspective from that time,”<br />

Fuller noted. “But it certainly gave insight into the experiences on<br />

the trail.”<br />

Fuller’s family arrived to the <strong>Oregon</strong> Territory without any deaths<br />

or other major catastrophes, though according to Bozarth’s account,<br />

there were some illuminating moments. There were several interactions<br />

with Native Americans that clearly scared the 13-year-old, and a<br />

member of their party went missing while hunting, only to be found<br />

a week or so later. He’d been saved by Native Americans who gave<br />

him food and clothing and directed him back to the trail. Bozarth also<br />

spoke in his interview of encountering wildlife.<br />

“The gray wolves were numerous and would follow along behind,<br />

and as soon as an animal would lag or give out it was pounced upon<br />

and killed at once,” he told reporters.<br />

And Bozarth also spoke in passing of the hunger that followed him<br />

on the trail. “During this time our provisions gave out and we were<br />

almost in a starving condition,” he said. “I picked up old salmon skins<br />

which the Indians had thrown away and broiled and ate them and was<br />

very glad to get them. It was enough for me, and I have been salmon<br />

sick ever since.”<br />

Reading about these hard times has helped Fuller understand the<br />

significance of the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail and its travelers.<br />

“I think it’s important for all of us to understand that we stand on<br />

the shoulders and the sacrifices of the people who came before us,”<br />

Fuller said. “It’s good to learn how you came to be, how your family<br />

came to be and what their accomplishments were along the way. It<br />

helps round you out as a person.”<br />

3 A NEW FRONTIER SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER <strong>2018</strong>


CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT Mel Fuller shows<br />

off information he’s gathered about his<br />

ancestors who traveled on the <strong>Oregon</strong><br />

Trail. The old Drain family homestead.<br />

Dawn Alexander’s relatives are among<br />

those who traveled the trail: from left,<br />

William and Martha Heisler and Dr.<br />

Larkin and Mary Vanderpool.<br />

For Dawn Alexander, of Redmond, knowing her history plays a powerful<br />

role in her sense of self. Her mother’s ancestors arrived in <strong>Oregon</strong><br />

Territory in 1852 and helped settle Prineville in the 1860s. “Not<br />

everyone’s history goes back that far, and it’s rare that my family is still<br />

here,” Alexander said. “Nowadays, people go all over the place. I feel a<br />

deep-rooted connection to <strong>Oregon</strong>.”<br />

Her great-great-great-grandparents on her mom’s side traveled on<br />

the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail. The families arrived in 1852 and all settled together.<br />

Though the family history doesn’t provide much detail on their<br />

travels along the trail, both families made names for themselves after<br />

arriving here—as some of the first settlers of Prineville, members of<br />

the family served as the community doctor and as the city’s first postmaster<br />

and storekeeper.<br />

Alexander has come across her family’s names in several publications,<br />

including in Gale Ontko’s Western series, Thunder Over the Ochoco. Her<br />

mother still has the family’s old Bible at her home in Prineville. “I try to<br />

make the connections so my son values that history, so those antiques<br />

don’t end up in a garage sale someday.”<br />

Janet Wilson, the current president of Sons and Daughters of <strong>Oregon</strong><br />

Pioneers, was raised listening to her mother relay family stories from<br />

the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail. “Mom told me stories from the time we were very<br />

young,” she said. “They were like bedtime stories. I couldn’t wait to hear<br />

another one.”<br />

Wilson counts among her ancestors the Drain family, who came to<br />

<strong>Oregon</strong> and settled the town of Drain in the Willamette Valley, and the<br />

Eccleston family, who came to <strong>Oregon</strong> in 1852.<br />

One of the stories Wilson heard from her mother as a child is particularly<br />

haunting. 1852 was a difficult year, as many people grew sick from<br />

cholera on the journey west. Dr. Henry Eccleston, his wife and children<br />

were en route from Missouri when someone in their wagon train died.<br />

The man’s wife laid him out for burial, but the ground was baked and<br />

hard, so the wagon train dug a shallow grave and laid him to rest. “Then,<br />

once he was in the grave, the wagons circled and drove over the grave to<br />

pack the earth, because they didn’t want people to come down and find<br />

the grave and rob it,” Wilson said.<br />

The wagon train rolled on until Ezra Eccleston, Wilson’s<br />

great-great-grandfather, who was at the rear of the train, spotted a<br />

man staggering behind them, covered in dirt and waving his arms. “He<br />

thought it was a ghost, but he called to his father, who turned the wagon<br />

back and picked him up,” Wilson said. “The man had not died. The<br />

wagon train had resuscitated his heart when they went over his grave.<br />

He went on to <strong>Oregon</strong>.”<br />

Wilson’s Drain side of the family was made of similar grit. She told a<br />

story of Lucy Drain, who left the homestead under attack from Native<br />

Americans with just her child and bags of flour and tallow and traveled<br />

under cover of darkness over weeks to Fort Boise. She and her daughter<br />

survived on the food, mixed and cooked in a small fire. When attacks<br />

from Native Americans abated, she returned to the homestead.<br />

Stories like these fortify Wilson’s love for <strong>Oregon</strong> and for her ancestors’<br />

strength.<br />

“It’s in our blood,” Wilson said. “We don’t give up. … Life isn’t easy<br />

and it was so much harder back then. I think that when you can show<br />

the difference of how we live now and how we got here, I think that’s real<br />

important to pass that on.” 175<br />

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER <strong>2018</strong> A NEW FRONTIER 4


BIGGS JUNCTION RUTS, BIGGS JUNCTION<br />

Along I-84, before reaching The Dalles, you’ll see an <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail marker<br />

along the side of the highway. Right next to the marker, you’ll be able to<br />

walk right up to the wagon ruts. After you see the ruts, make sure to stop<br />

by the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum in The Dalles.<br />

END OF THE OREGON<br />

TRAIL INTERPRETIVE<br />

CENTER, OREGON CITY<br />

The <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail officially ended in<br />

<strong>Oregon</strong> City, and at this interpretive<br />

center you’ll find a film about the<br />

travel, interactive exhibits and<br />

genealogy assistance for pioneer<br />

descendants.<br />

BARLOW ROAD,<br />

GOVERNMENT CAMP<br />

Sam Barlow built The Barlow<br />

Road so pioneers could avoid<br />

rafting the Columbia River. Parts<br />

of this byway, which pioneers<br />

were charged a toll to use, can<br />

still be accessed today by car,<br />

bike or foot at Barlow Pass.<br />

MARK YOUR<br />

CALENDAR<br />

This year the U.S. Capitol Christmas<br />

Tree is coming from the Willamette<br />

National Forest. Commemorate the<br />

175th anniversary of the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail<br />

and see the tree as it makes its way<br />

to Washington, D.C., by retracing the<br />

<strong>Oregon</strong> Trail. There will be community<br />

events in Salem, <strong>Oregon</strong> City, The<br />

Dalles, Baker City and Farewell Bend<br />

this November. Find out more at<br />

capitolchristmastree.com.<br />

5 A NEW FRONTIER SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER <strong>2018</strong>


NATIONAL HISTORIC OREGON TRAIL<br />

INTERPRETIVE CENTER, BAKER CITY<br />

This 500-acre site allows visitors to check out life-size exhibits<br />

and learn more about the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail. Added bonus: hikes<br />

around the property take visitors to the recreated Flagstaff<br />

Gold Mine and to see ruts carved by pioneer wagons.<br />

FAREWELL BEND,<br />

NEAR HUNTINGTON<br />

Pioneers traveling west followed<br />

the Snake River for more than 300<br />

miles. Here, they said farewell to<br />

the river and headed northwest for<br />

the remainder of their trek. Today,<br />

you can visit Farewell Bend State<br />

Recreation Area, which has restored<br />

wagons at its entrance.<br />

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER <strong>2018</strong> A NEW FRONTIER 6


GRAVEL BIKES, RUNNING SHOES<br />

& GREAT BREWS & VIEWS<br />

Two guys and two dogs re-create the best parts<br />

of the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail, 175 years later<br />

WRITTEN BY KEVIN MAX<br />

OREGON GIVES A LOT and sometimes, when you’re retracing the <strong>Oregon</strong><br />

Trail on bike and on foot in a four-day span, it gives more than<br />

you expect. Okay, we took an Airstream too, but chiefly for its historic<br />

connection along the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail. Read on.<br />

It was the second week of June, and my friend Zach Violett and I left Central<br />

<strong>Oregon</strong> with our dogs and a thirst for new adventures and good beer,<br />

bound for Farewell Bend State Park—the eastern point of modern-day <strong>Oregon</strong>’s<br />

section of the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail. Wagons that left Independence, Missouri,<br />

crossed here months later into what is now <strong>Oregon</strong>. We brought gravel bikes,<br />

running shoes and a curiosity of what we might find along the way.<br />

7 A NEW FRONTIER SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER <strong>2018</strong>


FROM LEFT Farewell Bend State Park is where travelers left the Snake River and headed northwest. Barley Brown’s in Baker City produces award-winning beers.<br />

Zach is an ultra runner who was recovering from a hernia surgery.<br />

Thus predisposed, he would, by doctor’s order, have to reduce his<br />

mileage by multiples, which made him compatible with my maximum<br />

effort. Slumming, really.<br />

Morning broke at Farewell Bend State Park. This section of <strong>Oregon</strong><br />

lies within Mountain Time. We had already lost an hour and the day<br />

was getting hot. I don’t remember why I agreed to a wild boar breakfast<br />

burrito before getting on my bike, but you do what you must to<br />

survive out here.<br />

I thought we’d be pedaling rural paved roads and for no more than<br />

a few hours in a loop that included the Old <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail. Honestly<br />

though, I’m not an accomplished mappist. I prefer getting lost and letting<br />

things happen.<br />

Zach has the mapping gene, but no true sense of scale. You can see<br />

why this combination often leads to desperation. Map distances seem<br />

much more feasible in inches than mountain miles. What could go<br />

wrong? Our ancestors didn’t have Lycra and tubeless tires. They had<br />

denim and ox-pulled wagons.<br />

Last time I went on an expedition with Zach was two years prior.<br />

We were with a group camping on the Umpqua River and decided<br />

to head out on a quick sightseeing ride just before dinner. We rode<br />

back into camp in time for lunch the next day after committing to the<br />

wrong side of the mountain and ending up 50 miles away in Oakridge<br />

with no cell service.<br />

I had forgotten all that until we hit the sign “Primitive Road Next<br />

22 Miles.” Over the next four hours, and what turned into 35 miles, we<br />

rode over dirt roads that wound and climbed and descended through<br />

some of the most stark and beautiful country. It was indeed the Old<br />

<strong>Oregon</strong> Trail, but not what I had expected. The paved roads from my<br />

expectations became a gravel road winding south and west of Farewell<br />

Bend State Park that looped back through dry ranchland. The<br />

temperature climbed into the 90s and our water supply was inferior to<br />

the heated effort. The ground alternated between packed gravel, where<br />

you could get up to speed, and sharp, rocky terrain where your hands<br />

and jaws clenched in a downhill clatter.<br />

Cows behaved oddly when they saw us on bikes. Some scampered<br />

uphill and beyond our reach, just to be sure. We were neither<br />

conquerors nor butchers, just half-crazed passersby. Likely the only<br />

humans they’d ever seen had arrived on four wheels and in pickup<br />

truck shapes.<br />

At one point, I found my wheels above me, my feet still clipped in<br />

and the soles sunny-side up, with Zach far ahead. Lying on my rocky<br />

bed yet unwounded and in no particular hurry, I took out my camera<br />

and snapped a photo to record the absurdity of it all. Even at 175, the<br />

<strong>Oregon</strong> Trail still gave you hell.<br />

At this arid point along the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail, the verdant farmland of<br />

the <strong>Oregon</strong> Territory must have seemed a lifetime away for weary<br />

emigrants. After two flats perpetuated by goatheads—thorny barbed<br />

landmines that thrive on desert gravel—we rode back into camp, eager<br />

for the civilization of Baker City.<br />

BAKER CITY<br />

Baker City is a lovely outpost along the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail. Its history<br />

has been well preserved in its handsome downtown buildings. While<br />

posing as a turn-of-the century movie set, Baker City is also bubbling<br />

with new life and nostalgia.<br />

Among other things, Baker City was the founding home of the<br />

modern-day Airstream. A young shepherd named Wally Byam sought<br />

a better-wheeled shelter for his cold nights. Eventually, that experience<br />

led him to build the first Airstream travel trailer. A nation of rugged<br />

explorers, clad in silver and riveted throughout, took to our roads.<br />

We found a berth for the Airstream in front of a Methodist church in<br />

downtown Baker City. Bless all 38 feet of this truck and trailer. We took<br />

the dogs for a walk through neighborhoods with historic Victorian<br />

homes. Two blocks east on Main Street stood the Geiser Grand Hotel,<br />

another beautifully restored Victorian building with an airy two-story<br />

Palm Court, topped by a sprawling stained-glass ceiling. A little farther<br />

up Main Street, we found Barley Brown’s Brew Pub.<br />

Zach and I had first encountered Barley Brown’s en route to a hut-skiing<br />

expedition in the Wallowas in 2011. Since then, Barley Brown’s has<br />

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER <strong>2018</strong> A NEW FRONTIER 8


opened a tasting room next door with more than twenty of its beers on<br />

tap, national awards hanging around the necks of many of them.<br />

I took to a hazy IPA, and Zach, a pint loaded for bear. Next to us<br />

were a couple who had moved from Portland to get away from it all.<br />

Their days are now spent more on bikes and trails, they said, than<br />

commuting in cars. In the early evening light, they had a healthy radiance<br />

about them and gave us local trail details.<br />

A pint later, we ambled down Main Street to Latitude 45 Grille. The<br />

menu was a delight, with locally sourced meats and handmade pasta<br />

sauces. I had the baby back ribs with house made barbecue sauce.<br />

Zach went for pork Milanese in a cremini mushroom and brandy<br />

cream sauce.<br />

The next morning was overcast and lightly raining. Main Street is<br />

also home to Lone Pine Cafe, the best little breakfast spot in town.<br />

Wide wood floorboards were aged and soft to the step. Where one era<br />

of bricks ended along the walls, another picked up fatter and lighter<br />

in color than its predecessor. On a Saturday morning, Lone Pine was<br />

the place to be.<br />

Our friends from the night before had mentioned the little local<br />

museum nicknamed The Nat, for the 1920s natatorium building in<br />

which the Baker Heritage Museum is housed. I promised myself I<br />

wasn’t going to get bogged down in history on this trip and instead<br />

celebrate the outdoors, new beers and the avant garde—the updated<br />

<strong>Oregon</strong> Trail. But it was raining, and I was procrastinating before a<br />

long run.<br />

The Nat was a true hidden gem, literally. Inside was a Smithsonian-quality<br />

collection of gems that could have been at the Museum<br />

of Natural History in New York. I was enamored with the old typeset<br />

printing press, whose word clusters—Allies Agree On, No Casualties<br />

Reported, and my favorite, Treat Them As Traitors—were cast in steel<br />

and last used during WWII.<br />

Upstairs, we found a small case and display dedicated to Wally<br />

Byam. Photos showed the prolific traveler in Egypt and South Africa,<br />

leading Airstream caravans like columns of benevolent tanks through<br />

the countryside. A beret, corkscrew and bottle of Happy Camper<br />

wine with an Airstream label were also in the case.<br />

While it was still raining, we packed up the Airstream and drove 6<br />

miles northeast of town to the National Historic <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail Interpretive<br />

Center. The center sits on 500 acres at the top of a hill overlooking<br />

a vast valley, where wagons once crawled along the lower<br />

regions. The well-worn ruts of the twenty-six years of migration were<br />

still baked into the ground, a reminder of how young America is and<br />

of the relentless yearning for a better life.<br />

This institution is an icon for the state and a foundational piece of<br />

<strong>Oregon</strong> history. Anyone driving in the vicinity owes it to themselves<br />

to stop in. What struck me most was the number of people who set<br />

out on the journey from Independence, Missouri, 175 years ago, and<br />

the support many of them received from Native Americans, unwitting<br />

of what it all could mean for their own future.<br />

After a dose of solemnity and history, we emerged from the building<br />

and the rain had stopped. We put on our running shoes and ran<br />

off down the trail. Every June, the BLM organizes a Run to the Ruts<br />

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT The National Historic <strong>Oregon</strong><br />

Trail Interpretive Center has trails and exhibits dedicated<br />

to the famous trail. Follow the Barlow Trail by foot today.<br />

Side A Brewing in La Grande is based in a historic firehouse.<br />

Baby back ribs and pork Milanese in cremini mushroom and<br />

brandy cream sauce from Latitude 45 Grille in Baker City.<br />

10K. We would retrace those footsteps a week later in perfect running<br />

conditions, cool and overcast.<br />

We took our dogs and plummeted into the valley below, where a<br />

single wagon stood in the tracks as a symbol for all who passed this<br />

way. As we climbed back to the parking lot to end the run, the rain<br />

came again, as if permitting us that allotted time.<br />

There were a few more stops for us along the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail, but<br />

none so momentous as running in the ruts.<br />

LA GRANDE AND THE DALLES<br />

We buzzed into La Grande for lunch and found another hidden<br />

gem in Side A Brewing, a new brewery set in a historic firehouse a<br />

block off La Grande’s Main Street. Good food from local ranches and<br />

farms were on the menu, as well as good local beer. We regretted not<br />

having more time to spend on another beer.<br />

We drove west along I-84 with the fading western sun laying flat<br />

along the surface of the Columbia River and into The Dalles. At this<br />

point on the trail, our predecessors faced a dilemma—pay a hefty fee<br />

and raft down the mighty river past the Cascades or make an equally<br />

arduous attempt and pay a toll to surmount the Cascades by way of<br />

the Barlow Trail.<br />

We arrived late in The Dalles and dined at Clock Tower Ales, the<br />

former Wasco County courthouse. Clock Tower’s burgers are very<br />

good and come with the choice of regional beers on thirty-two taps.<br />

We camped that night outside the newer Wasco County Circuit<br />

Court, where the big love dreams of the Bhagwan Rajneesh and his<br />

zealous followers came to an end in charges that ranged from immigration<br />

fraud to attempted murder.<br />

9 A NEW FRONTIER SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER <strong>2018</strong>


“At one point, I found my<br />

wheels above me, my<br />

feet still clipped in and<br />

the soles sunny-side up,<br />

with Zach far ahead.<br />

Lying on my rocky bed<br />

yet unwounded and<br />

in no particular hurry,<br />

I took out my camera<br />

and snapped a photo<br />

to record the absurdity<br />

of it all. Even at 175, the<br />

<strong>Oregon</strong> Trail still gave<br />

you hell.<br />

The Dalles may be small, but there are options for a place to lay<br />

your head after a long day on the trails. Try Celilo Inn, which has<br />

some of the best Columbia Gorge views in the region.<br />

In the morning, we walked down to Kainos Coffee, a bright newcomer<br />

on 2nd Street. Out front, in two parking spaces, Kainos had<br />

created a small covered deck area with tables. Down the street, my<br />

favorite <strong>Oregon</strong> bookstore (and the state’s oldest), Klindt’s Booksellers,<br />

wouldn’t open for another hour. Few cars passed by as we drank<br />

our coffee, but a horse and buggy did, adding to the ambience of the<br />

historic downtown core.<br />

BARLOW TRAIL, CASCADE LOCKS AND OREGON CITY<br />

Zach and I and the dogs decided to forgo floating the Columbia<br />

and take our chances on the Barlow Trail instead. First, though, we<br />

had to make two quick stops along the Columbia. At Cascade Locks<br />

is the Bridge of the Gods, a stunning crossing of the river and the<br />

lowest point on the Pacific Crest Trail. Those who have never gotten<br />

a visual from Bridge of the Gods should put that on their to-do list.<br />

Our second stop was to load a cooler up at Brigham Fish Market, a<br />

family-run tribal market and restaurant whose fresh fish brings me<br />

back every time I’m in the area.<br />

From Cascade Locks we drove around Mt. Hood into rain and, at<br />

higher elevations, sleet pounded the windshield. We pulled off Highway<br />

35 at the Barlow Trail trailhead as snow fell around us. The dogs<br />

were in heaven. We were prepared for hell. We improvised our outerwear<br />

to prepare for a 5.5-mile, 1,200-foot descent down to Klinger’s<br />

Camp and beyond.<br />

As the snow fell and we ran past wooden signs proclaiming <strong>Oregon</strong><br />

Wagon Route, I thought about the relative hardships I had faced in<br />

only a few days out on the Trail—two flat tires, intense heat, dwindling<br />

water supply and now June snow and winter temperatures. Any<br />

child who came across the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail 175 years ago likely faced a<br />

lifetime of suffering in those four to six months.<br />

Slowly we climbed the elevation we had lost and, after two hours,<br />

had made it back to the Wally Byam-mobile. We quickly hightailed<br />

it to Ratskeller in Government Camp for recovery pizza and beer.<br />

In the span of three days, we had experienced 90-degree heat and<br />

freezing snow. If we hadn’t had access to our Airstream, we would<br />

have spent the night at Timberline Lodge—that stalwart atop Mount<br />

Hood built by the Works Progress Administration during the Great<br />

Depression—or Mt. Hood <strong>Oregon</strong> Resort down the road in Welches.<br />

Our final leg was a ceremonial stop in <strong>Oregon</strong> City to cap our updated<br />

<strong>Oregon</strong> Trail road trip. We pulled into town too late to visit<br />

the End of the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail Museum, but fitting to end at the first<br />

territorial capital of the <strong>Oregon</strong> Territory. Staying on the theme of<br />

updating the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail, we popped into Coin Toss Brewing, a<br />

relative newcomer to the <strong>Oregon</strong> City scene. The brewery is named<br />

for the toss of a coin between Asa Lovejoy of Boston, Massachusetts<br />

and Francis Pettygrove of Portland, Maine, that determined naming<br />

rights for Portland in 1845. Soon after, the journey of the <strong>Oregon</strong><br />

Trail would be replaced by train travel.<br />

This road trip, retracing the <strong>Oregon</strong> Trail at its 175th birthday,<br />

brought together many of the best parts in life—an amazing outdoor<br />

challenge, the vitality of small towns expressed through brewing and<br />

culinary pursuits and a dash of history to ground it all. Though the Trail<br />

did give us some hell, we did more than survive on this journey. 175<br />

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER <strong>2018</strong> A NEW FRONTIER 10


Free-range mountains may contain traces of wheat.

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!