Before 1849 most emigrants on the Oregon Trail traveled all the way to Oregon. Then gold was discovered in California in 1848 and afterwards the majority of the emigrants turned left a few miles west of Fort Hall where the Snake River meets the Raft River. The place is now called the Parting of the Ways and is the begining of the California Trail that heads south into Utah and then west across Nevada to California. On one of our bus tours during the 1989 Oregon-California Trails Association convention we drove down Interstate 84 from Boise to explore the California Trail along the Raft River.
Tom Hunt is one of the founders of OCTA and was the first president of our local California-Nevada chapter. He was one of the guides that day. The weather was fine for most of way down Interstate 84 from Boise but by the time we reached the Raft River it was getting gloomy and at one of the trail overlooks we could see that it was raining over the mountains. We stopped for a short while to observe the surroundings and listen to Tom’s story of the emigrants and their struggles on the trail. Tom was in the middle of his narration and pointing towards Granite Pass when all of a sudden the sky opened up and sun rays appeared marking the way. Some of us cheered. Some of us took pictures. Here’s mine.
And here’s a monochrome version of that picture with the foreground darkened. Which picture do like best?
I was going to send this last photo to Leanne for her Monochrome Madness Challenge this week but decided to send the following picture instead. It’s a shot of a herd of cattle we passed a few minutes after the Granite Pass incident. The photo is a little blurry but I like the way the monochrome version turned out. I shot that photo in 1989, the year I turned 50. But it could have been taken in 1939, the year I was born. Or yesterday. Timeless. By the way, the sign in the foreground reads “Please keep gate closed.”
Why don’t you mosey over to Leanne’s website to see what other photographers have contributed this week to Laura and Leanne’s Monochrome Madness Challenge?
Note: Trails West is the organization that marked the California Trail. They also publish driving guides for all of the trails that enter California. See here for more information on this organization.
Note 2: I managed the OCTA California-Nevada chapter website for eight years but retired from these duties in 2008 when my wife and I decided to become world travelers. The chapter is hosting this year’s OCTA convention at Lake Tahoe this September. See here for more information.