After four years of blogging, I have invited a guest blogger to post on The Dust for the first time!
Iggy writes at Intense Guy. His posts, which I enjoy very much, are often about his travels. He also has a wonderful sense of humor which his readers especially enjoy when he dabbles in the Alien World of orange (construction) barrels and cones.
His Alien World was my first thought when downloading a batch of our travel photos from Nevada. The two I forwarded to Iggy rewarded me with a most delightful response.
It's all yours, Iggy!
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Thank you Pamela! I really do appreciate getting pictures of "orange roadside critters" and knowing that other people are thinking about me from time to time. Your pictures were very welcomed and unique. I enjoyed reading about the area where you took them - and then writing my own version of "what is going on here?"
About midway between the towns of Reno and Winnemucca Nevada, lies the Forty-Mile Desert.
Before the first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, the life-giving Humboldt River Basin of Churchill County was the last water to be seen by many people slowly heading west to California by covered wagon.
During the height of the gold rush, upwards to 30,000 people annually emigrated west via the "Overland Emigrant Trail" which separated from the Oregon Trail near Fort Hall in Idaho and headed across the empty plains of Nevada to the gold fields in Placer County, located high in the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains and onwards to settlements and cities of northern California.
One of the more northern branches of the California Trail, the Truckee River Route, was used by the ill-fated Donner party. The Forty-Mile Desert route was originally touted as "a better way, being a shortcut."
The sign reads, "The 40-Mile Desert, beginning here, is a barren stretch of waterless alkali wasteland. It was the most dreaded section of the California Emigrant Trail. If possible, it was traveled by night because of the great heat.
The route was first traveled by the Walker-Chiles party in 1843 with the first wagon train. Regardless of its horrors, it became the accepted route, as it split five miles southwest of here into the two main trails to California--the Carson River and the Truckee River Routes. Starvation for men and animals stalked every mile. A survey made in 1850 showed these appalling statistics: 1,061 dead mules, almost 5,000 horses, 3,750 cattle and 953 graves. The then-value of personal property lost was set at $1,000,000.
The heaviest traffic came from 1849 to 1869. It was still used after completion of the Central Pacific Railroad in 1869."
Thanks to photojournalist Pamela of The Dust Will Wait, we can see just who is still using the perilous dusty, hot, desert trail...
Pamela suggests that this straggler has become separated from an Orange Barrel Train, and is very thirsty. We will never know the fate of this particular ORBA, but that nasty dent to the head makes me think this one will become a statistic and join the 1,061 dead mules...
A glimpse of the desert behind the suffering barrel really makes me admire the stamina, pluck, and courage of our ancestors. The overland journey from the Mid-West to Oregon and California meant a six month trip across 2,000 miles of 'difficult' country, traveled mostly on foot.
More Wagon Trail information (here)
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Thanks Iggy. Glad you could visit!
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