July 30, 2001
|These ruts are in the eastbound Deadman Pass rest area on I-84., looking back on the trail. Several tracks come together here. On August 8, 1866 S.B. Eakin, Jr. wrote:
“Marching as usual. Roads very rough. traveled all day on the top of the mountains. Road hilly. Camped at about 4 o’clock on the top of the mountains on the extreme west. A spring close up to camp. we are now through the timber and can see around us. Umatilla River is in sight. It lays north of us running west. Mount Hood directly west; also the Three sisters; all in the Cascades We are now very high up on the mountains.”
In this photo we are facing the right direction of emigrant travel. Ruts were verified by Jack Evans (Powerful Rockey).
This was Crawford Hill until July 12, 1878 when four freighters were killed in the Bannock War. Ever since it has been Deadman Pass.
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was the name given to Deadman’s Pass by Riley Root, an 1848 emigrant. The view is magnificent and the name a good one, but it never took on.
“Wednesday, Oct. 4th. Weather stormy; rain and hail. we got under way and traveled twelve miles down the west side of the Blue Mountains, when we struck the Umatilla River. went three miles down it, and encamped near some Cayuse lodges.” (James Nesmith, 1843)
OAG = DeLorme’s Oregon Atlas & Gazetteer
Once down from Deadman Pass there are no longer visible ruts because the city has taken over. Gregory Franzwa has proposed several possibilities in his Maps of the Oregon Trail. What I have labeled Rieth Rd. on the map is labeled Old Pendleton River Rd in the Oregon Atlas & Gazetteer. Take Exit 207 from I-84.