Idaho 1989: The Oregon Trail in Idaho

In 2006 I bought a Nikon slide scanner and began digitizing my 30 years worth of slides. I thought it would take two years. Well, it’s now nine years later and I’m still scanning! But I only have a couple of trays left and soon the project will finally be over. One of the few remaining trays I processed recently was filled with photos from a trip to Boise, Idaho in August 1989 where I attended my first Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA) convention.

OCTA conventions are held every year somewhere on the Trail. They usually last for five days and consist of a couple of days of lectures that balance well with a couple of days of bus tours. And there are lots of opportunities to mingle with old friends you haven’t seen since the last convention. And what do you do on the field trips? If you are an OCTA member then you call yourself a “rutnut” — walking along the ruts made by wagon wheels years ago — and there is absolutley nothing in your life that you would love to do more than take a hike on the Trail.

You can still see a lot of the Oregon Trail in Idaho. Trail emigrants usually started their trek in Missouri and then meandered their way across present-day Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming. Soon after entering present-day Idaho from Wyoming they would reach Fort Hall on the Snake River. Then they would follow the Snake all the way to Fort Boise, after which a few miles north and west and they would be in Oregon. You can easily follow in the footsteps of these pioneers by driving across southern Idaho on Interstate 84. Take just about any exit and you will likely find a segment of the Trail.

Map of the Oregon Trail in southern Idaho (thanks to Idaho Public Television).*

Map of the Oregon Trail in southern Idaho (thanks to Idaho Public Television).*

From Fort Hall the Pioneers stuck to the south side of the Snake until they came to Three Island Crossing. Then they would cross over to the north side and usually stay there all the way to Fort Boise near the Oregon border.

Three Island Crossing.

Three Island Crossing.

We were lucky to witness a reenactment of the crossing on our bus tour.

We were lucky to witness a reenactment of the crossing on our bus tour.

If you walk for at least a mile or two along the river you will likely come across a Carsonite trail marker that was probably put there by an OCTA  member. Markers on the California Trail were installed by another trail organization called Trails West. Some of the most dedicated trail buffs I met back in the day belonged to both organizations.

Trail marker.

Trail marker.

In my next posting I will write about our bus trip to the California Trail which starts a few miles west of Fort Hall and goes south to Utah and then west across Nevada to California. Some of my photos will be in monochrome and one will be my entry to this week’s Monochrome Madness Challenge.

*see http://idahoptv.org/outdoors/shows/pathwaysofpioneers/index.cfm

See here for more information on OCTA and here to find out about the OCTA Idaho chapter.

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About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
This entry was posted in History, Idaho, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Idaho 1989: The Oregon Trail in Idaho

  1. Ann says:

    Beautiful shot of the Snake River! Though, I imagine that the sight filled many hearts with trepidation, knowing they had to get their wagon across it somehow.

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