Antoine of Oregon - James Otis

Difficult Traveling

The trail was heavy. The rain had so softened the ground that the wagon wheels sank several inches into it, and many times before nightfall we were forced to hew trees and cut large quantities of brush, in order to fill up the depressions in the way where the water stood deep and the bottom was much like a bog.

Again and again we found it necessary to double up the teams in order to haul the heavy wagons over the spongy soil, and after we had traveled eight miles with more labor than on the previous day we had expended in going twice that distance, we decided to encamp.

[Illustration] from Antoine of Oregon by James Otis

We were on reasonably high ground, or, in other words, we were not in a quagmire, and after camp had been made I counted that we would spend the following day in getting as much hickory and oak timber as we might need when we came to the mountain ranges, where axletrees, wagon tops, and even the wheels themselves, were likely to be splintered because of the roughness of the way.

Next morning while the men were hewing trees and shaping them roughly into such forms as might come convenient, the women took advantage of the opportunity to churn, and at noon we had fresh butter on our bread, which was indeed a luxury.

[Illustration] from Antoine of Oregon by James Otis

We were yet eating slowly in order the better to enjoy the butter, when we saw in the distance, coming toward us, what appeared to be a large body of soldiers and emigrants.