Date: September 10, 2007
CONTACT: Mike Brown, (775) 753-0386
ELKO FIELD OFFICE NO. 2007-107
CALIFORNIA TRAIL CENTER TAKING SHAPE
Elko, Nev. — The California Trail Center plaza water feature was completed during the first and “approximately 40 percent of the plaza pavers have been put in place,” week of September said Dave Jamiel, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) California Trail Center Manager. “It is very exciting to see the design plans for the Trail Center become a reality.”
Jamiel added that Jackson Drywall completed the installation of the drywall on all of the interior walls and Copeland Electric installed the remainder of the electrical conduits and boxes throughout the exhibit areas. In addition, Venture Allglaze are installing the framework support for the ceiling in the south exhibit area and will soon begin window glazing and the installation of the Trail Center entrance doors. Frazier Masonry installed stone veneer at the west interpretive walls and placed stone caps on the masonry walls in the plaza.
STORIES FROM THE TRAIL
Getting There - by Will Bagley
Going west was an expensive proposition requiring a large amount of supplies, hardware, livestock, and money. Most emigrants used light farm wagons that could carry about a ton of freight, but almost every sort of wheeled vehicle imaginable - from wheelbarrows to heavy Conestoga-style freight wagons - made the trip. Single men sometimes favored “packing,” or going by horseback or in mule-trains, which was quicker than wagon travel but was both riskier (you couldn’t ride a horse with a broken leg) and more work (since the animals had to be packed and unpacked each day).
As long as wagons crossed the plains, emigrants debated what made the best team - oxen, horse, or mules. Most relied on oxen, which were slower than horses but cheaper, easier to manage, harder to steal, and more reliable. Oxen fared better on a diet of prairie grass than did grain-fed horses and mules. The need for grass and water for animals was the prime factor in choosing which route to follow. Overlanders became closely attached to their oxen and horses. Often, their lives depended on the health of their animals.
In many ways, day-to-day life on the trail resembled an extended camping trip. Many emigrants actually enjoyed the trek - one editor even found them as “merry as a marriage bell.” Overlanders often noted the difficulties of the trip, but most recalled the boredom of walking endless miles and never-ending chores. Yet almost everyone who made the journey remembered it as the great experience of their lives.