The Oregon Trail

By Daniel Zhu

Diary Entry 1

Our family left Independence, Missouri on April 25, 1854. I am a minister from Maryland with my wife, three sons, and a daughter. Our first day on the trail was relatively quiet and peaceful. We didn't meet any hostile Indians, so we were optimistic about our journey. Three days later, our wagon train crossed the Missouri River by fording the river safely, but some people decided to pay the Indian ferryman 25 dollars for a safe crossing. He believed I was a holy man, so he gave me some dried food. Soon, we reached a field with a lot of animals, so we decided to hunt. I broke a gun catching a rabbit, but other members of our wagon train caught a lot of buffalo. The trail seems to be going well so far and everyone is content.

Diary Entry 2

A few weeks later, I was tested by an Indian chief. I failed the test, but we didn't have many negative consequences. Additionally, he also believed me to be a holy man, and gave me some more dried food. Along the way, the trail split. Our wagon train decided to take the safer route, the Cheyenne River Trail. The other wagon trains decided to take the Burial Grounds Trail, which will most likely get them killed.We had plenty of water and our livestock were well fed. Unfortunately, we all had to adopt an Indian orphan after answering "yes" to the question, "Do you have open hearts?" A few days later, we had to cross another river. We all paid for the ferry this time because the river looked very deep and the current was fast. Another member of our wagon train had his leg run over, and we had to slow down a bit. Using the materials we packed, we created a splint for his leg. However, the wagon train is still optimistic about the journey ahead.

Diary Entry 3

After crossing the Cheyenne River, our wagon train had an important decision to make. We could take three trails, the Massacre Canyon Trail, the Long Trail, or the Salt Flats Trail. The Massacre Canyon was the shortest, but also the most dangerous because of the numerous attacks that have occurred on it. The Long Trail is long, as its name suggests, but it's safer and more reliable. The only other alternative is the Salt Flats Trail, which is very mysterious with conflicting accounts of the trail. After a few minutes of discussion, our wagon decided to take the Massacre Canyon Trail because we needed the speed to get to the Willamette Valley as soon possible before the other wagon trains. However, all the wagon trains decided to take the Massacre Canyon Trail as well, except one that made the terrible decision to take the Salt Flats Trail. One day a group of Indians fought our wagon train. I was shot in the arm, but it's just a flesh wound. After a few weeks on the trail, we made it to Devil's Flat. Soon, our wagon train would have to cross the Hades Desert. All of us were well equipped with water, so the desert wasn't too painful, and our livestock were well-fed. The other wagon trains suffered casualties from an outbreak of cholera, but thankfully no one contracted it in our wagon, due to our excellent water filter we created out of fabric and cloth. Some other wagon trains were heavily delayed by their bad planning. Our oxen yoke broke, but we used our repair kit to fix it. We've finally reached Paradise, the last bit of civilization before the Willamette Valley. Hope is slowly fading as we realize how arduous the journey is going to become.

Diary Entry 4

We start the day by lightening our wagons to prepare for the journey across the mountains. As we cross High Valley, our Indian guides tell us some bad news. The winter is coming earlier this year, and we must make a quick decision to survive. We can try to rush to Snow Pass to try to get to Oregon as soon as possible. However, the snows might come too soon and we will die. We could stay in High Valley during the winter, but that will mean loss of a lot of supplies. The third option is to send scouts ahead, but it might take too much time to make a difference. The only other path to take is to go back to Paradise, but most of the good land will be gone by then. After some discussion, we decided to go to Snow Pass before it closes so we can hopefully achieve our manifest destiny. However, we realized that the snow had blocked the pass, so we had no where to go. Soon, our entire wagon either died or was dying.