Walk Like an Emigrant

bierstadt emigrants

This is probably going to happen over and over again but right now while we’re camping on the banks of the Columbia River near the Oregon Trail as well as the route that Lewis and Clark used while looking for the Northwest Passage I keep getting flashes of what being an emigrant might have been like.

Be prepared to eat less fresh food.

Be prepared to not have clean clothes all the time. And, as a corollary to that, be prepared to kind of stink because you, yourself, get dirty and don’t bathe as much as you would at home.

Be prepared to buy bottled drinking water because you can’t find a water vending machine much less a working one. They didn’t have LifeStraws way back when.

Realize how lucky you are to have the weather forecast for you. I can easily see how the Donner party got caught in their disastrous situation. We’ve been lucky to have great weather so far.

Be prepared to deal with wild animals such as bears and bison that don’t care about what you care about. They go where they want and do what they want. Don’t think you can dissuade them reliably. Definitely educate yourselves about how you should be around them and then don’t cross the line. And DON’T put your child in front of a bull Roosevelt elk and then tell them to say cheese. I saw someone do this on the Northern California coast. The child emerged unscathed but it might not have been so. The child might have been impaled or lobbed into the next county.

Be prepared to deal with less than sanitary conditions. This does not mean you have to live in squalor. But realize you may not get to a laundromat whenever you want. Hand washing your undies and hanging them on a bush to dry is not a big deal.


Highway 30 aka the Lincoln Highway – all you Marshalltonians can get on Hwy 30 and come see me in Hood River.

Hwy 30

I am remarkably comfortable with being unproductive.

If you want to get in a trailer with someone who is opposite of you (me neatnik vs. him clutter) be prepared to communicate and have patience.

Blueberry, Chia Breakfast Pudding

chia pudding

Like my Eggs in a Nest this recipe is good for camping but also for home. It’s kind of like oatmeal, but not, and it’s easy, too. I’m a lazy camper. I come out here to relax and whomping up a big gourmet meal that is not easy at home is really not easy out here so I don’t even try. Also, the fewer dishes dirtied the better. Water can be in short supply.

For 2

1 C full fat unsweetened coconut milk

1 t liquid stevia or sugar

1 t vanilla

½ c blueberries

¾ c chia seeds

Whole berries for fun (raspberry, more blueberries, whatever you wish)

In a blender process the coconut milk, sweetener and vanilla until it starts to thicken. Add the blueberries and process until mixed. Fold in the chia seeds. Divide the mixture between 2 cups, cover and keep cool over night or up to 3 days before serving.

6 thoughts on “Walk Like an Emigrant”

  1. Renee – thanks for the word visuals. One of the fun mind games I usually play while riding/driving thru a new landscape is try to imagine what was going thru the minds of the early settlers as they were passing thru and seeing said landscape for the first time. For instance, imagine those early settlers traveling westward, rocking along in a covered wagon, as the Rockies majestically loomed up ahead of them. Was it one of those “Oh s**t what have we gotten ourselves into” moments or something else. The Hood River region is one of those areas I vividly remember driving thru after reading Undaunted Courage by Ambrose.

    1. You’re welcome and, yes, certainly. I waded into the water of the Columbia, looked down at my feet and thought, “Those emigrants would have seen the same water when they looked down and, take away the few lights, would have seen the same bluffs and precipices.” For the land changes almost not at all or so very slowly here. I’m sure they said Oh S***t and then, I hope those Indians weren’t fooling with us when they told us the route to take.

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