September 9, 2001
On Sept. 24, 1852 twin sisters Cecilia Adams and Parthenia Blank wrote:
“In about 4 miles more over hills came to Snake River for the last time. Here it runs through lofty and inaccessible mountains. so farewell Snake–Traveled over high mount to Burnt River 4 miles. Here we stopped and fed our cattle on dry grass…This river is fine clear water about 20 feet wide on an average and flows between very lofty mounts with just room to pass.”
|We often think of 1841 as the beginning of the Oregon Trail, but this sign shows how many white parties came this way earlier, blazing the way for the wagons.
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And, of course, these trails and camping spots were well known to the Indian tribes for thousands of years.
In the 1860s some emigrants came from Boise via the Payette River, crossed the Weiser River, and eventually the Snake at Olds Ferry ( slightly upstream from here), which was established to serve traffic to and from the gold mines in the Boise, ID area.
“There is a large pack train camped at this place….We have crossed the Snake again & waiting for the balance of the wagons to come over. They make quick trips and drive two wagons with 4 horses on at a time.” (Mary Louisa Black, 1865)
The State of Oregon has a fine State Park here with camping and trail interpretation. There is also a motel, restaurant, and service station nearby.
From the park, go under I-84 to the west side and look for signs leading up to the Birch Creek overlook. To continue the physical journey turn right out of the park onto old Route 30. To continue the virtual trek click on the red dot by the name Burnt River.