The Oregon Trail Journal

By Logan Chan

Day 1; April 23, 1850- Leaving Independence, Missouri

I just left Independence. We are walking there, with a wagon, called a prairie schooner, and a team of oxen to pull our supplies. I have heard that there are many miles ahead on the trail, but I am ready to go and start a new life. I am traveling with my wife, two daughters, and a kid that I promised I would take care of. There will be many hardships, including the possible chance of death, that I will take. We are joining a wagon train to increase our chance of survival. Hopefully we will make it through unscathed, but that may be a bit optimistic. This journal will record my entire journey through the trail and the events that happen there. During this day, I have stocked on food and other supplies. I can only carry a limited amount of things, otherwise it will be to heavy for the wagon and the oxen. I will mostly be making decisions based on the feedback of others who have travelled the trail before me and the reports from locals. If all goes well we should be able to get through. I have an additional $150 for supplies and other things as well as the supplies in our wagon.


Image Citation: Covered Wagon. Digital image. Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia Commons, 18 Feb. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.

Day 2; April 24, 1850- Burial Ground Trail

We travelled more today. The day was mostly uneventful but we did encounter a few things. We had to cross a river and we could either ford it or pay for a ferry. I chose to ford it and we luckily didn't find any problems. After that, we had to either choose between the longer Cheyenne River trail or we could choose the shorter Burial grounds trail. The problem with the second trail is that it is a Native American burial ground, hence its name, and we cannot turn around once we were on it. We did get fair warning of this by some natives but we went ahead anyway. We luckily encountered no problems from natives on the trail.

Day 3; April 25, 1850- Snow Pass

Today is day 3. All the wagon trains met back in front of another fork in the road. We could go on Salt Flats, Snow Pass, or stay back at the Paradise settlement for 6 months while the snows pass. Salt Flats had rumors of being a good, safe shortcut to Oregon but also had rumors saying that there is no water along the way. Snow Pass is the shortest, but also the most dangerous because natives are relatively hostile there and there can be landslides and avalanches. The wagon leader decided to go on Snow Pass for the sake of time. We soon encountered a problem. There was a huge landslide blocking the path and none of us brought pick axes or shovels. We had to clear away the debris by hand and that causes a huge setback. Later down the trail, we encountered another problem. There was a lack of drinkable water and our barrels were depleted. There was a pond near by but the water was stagnant and gross looking. To counter the problem, we filtered the water through fabric, cloth, etc. to clean out the dirt and such. We then boiled the water to kill the germs in it to finally render it drinkable. After that, one of the girls, Cathy, fell under the wagon and was killed. We encountered no more problems for the rest of the day.

Day 4; April 26, 1850- The Final Day

Today is the final stretch of the journey. I don't know if me or my family will make it to Oregon. This journey is hard and taxing and I am wondering if it was even worth it. We had to cross yet another river and I used the ferry as I didn't like the look of this one. I made the right choice. Some of the other wagons in the train didn't make it through unscathed and several people died. Later down the trail nothing happened much. I don't think I am going to make it...