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UGA Tifton Assistant Dean Joe West speaks at Len Lastinger Primary School

  • 3 min to read

The Oregon Trail enters the high desert of southeastern Idaho and winds northwest along the Bear River. It passes through Pocatello before turning west to meet the Snake River. Most wagon trains followed the south bank of the Snake as it carved an arc across the southern portion of the state. The Snake is now tamed with a series of dams, but it was once a swiftly flowing river that cut deep canyons, making water access difficult for pioneers.

During the summer of 2010, the two of us drove from South Georgia to Rushville, Indiana, for a 50th high school reunion (David’s). Afterward, we headed west to Independence, Missouri, the starting point for a three-week, 2,000-mile westward journey following the Oregon Trail to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. After arriving in Oregon City, we spent several weeks exploring the Northwest before heading back east along the route taken by Lewis and Clark as the Corps of Discovery returned to St. Louis.