“Far in the West there lies a desert land, where the mountains
Lift, through perpetual snows, their lofty and luminous summits.
Where the gorge, like a gate way,
Opens a passage wide to the wheels of the emigrant’s wagon.”
I lie at the side of a mountain road. The mountain is steep, the road is edged with trees. There are the wild-cherry, evergreens, and clumps of ancient shrub-oak. The road is now unused; few pass over it, save it be the shepherds who take their flocks from the high pastures of one mountain range to those of another.
What once had been ruts made by the wheels of wagons are now changed by rain and flood into deep-cut gullies. It is a place where, in the spring time, the air is fragrant from millions of snow-white blossoms, and where now on the branches of the cherry, hang clusters of crimson fruit. The piece of road is historic.
At this, its steepest part, near “The Summit,” and where it is crossed by ledges of stone and littered with boulders and shale that once tore the iron from the cattle’s feet, I found an ox-shoe. The relic had lain here long. Down this road passed the Pioneers.
There is stillness around. Over “The Little Mountain” arches a cloudless sky, the wide landscape is bathed in sunlight. But this place, now so quiet and deserted, may yet become the scene of animation. The broken road is to be a highway, preserved as a piece of “The Pioneer Trail.”
The above quote is part of the preface in The Pioneer Trail. Published in 1913 by Albert Lambourne, it’s a combination of two older books: “An Old Sketch-Book” and “The Old Journey”. It’s purpose was to bring back the writings and sketches from the older books which were out of print. Additional information was added by the author.
Easily read in one evening, it’s a short book, but full of emotion and poignant scenes. The perils, dust storms, Indian attacks, lack of water, death of oxen and people along the way give glimpses into everyday life for the pioneers on the trail.
Short, but not sweet — at least in it’s descriptions, still a good read. I especially enjoyed the sketches of life along the trail.