Imagine traveling on the Oregon Trail. You woke this morning beside the Snake River. Tonight's camp will be on the Malheur River.
Sniff the fragrance as wagon wheels roll over the sagebrush and send its pungent aroma into the air. Inhale the scent of sweat on people and livestock. Smell the stench of the dead cattle, rotting in the heat.
The wind blows dust in choking clouds that get in your mouth, making it hard to breathe and stinging your eyes. Listen to the sounds of wind, wagons, livestock, and voices. Imagine how you feel after walking 15 miles today. Then help with the work of cooking, making camp, and taking care of the animals.
Endeavor to cook dinner over a campfire when you are tired and your eyes burn from the smoke. Imagine eating the same plain food every day. Savor your food even though dust and ashes have blown into it.
Imagine being hot, tired, and hungry. Envision your bed tonight.
Is this the trip you imagined when you started?
... We travelled over a great deal of sage brush which was very bad to get over ... The wagons would bend it down but the ground was sandy and the wagons would sink deep into the sand and then rise high on the sage brush ... — Ninevali Ford, Emigrant of 1843
... Travelled hard all day. We are all tired,
yes, very tired. We often ride over the barren plains and under the scorching sun when I feel that I can hardly ride ... and feel if I were at home I should immediately go to bed. — Sarah Smith, 1838
... now ... a peice (sic) of bacon placed between two peices (sic) of bread actually tastes better than the best of cakes and pies at home ... — Abigail Jane Scott, 1852 (I agree, editor)
"Never saw such dust! In some places it was actually to the top of the forewheels! ... Our men were a perfect fright, being literally covered with it. Our poor animals staggered along through the blinding dust, coughing at every step! ... My eyes are very sore. — Ester McMillan Hanna, 1852