What life was like on the Oregon Trail

After stocking up on supplies, some settlers striking out from Independence, Missouri, may have been relieved to leave the bustling city. Many were rural pioneer folk — farmers, loggers, miners, and ranchers — ready to risk everything for Manifest Destiny, their chance to lay claim to a slice of the new American frontier west of the Continental Divide. They were simply passing through to find a new life in the unknown of the Northwest Territories. Their relief at leaving civilization was tempered with trepidation as they began an often harrowing journey.

The Oregon Trail proper was nearly 2,000 miles of rugged, barely charted terrain that took settlers on an arduous route from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon. From its first heavy use in the mid-1800s, the trail served hundreds of thousands of pioneers emigrating westward. Winding its way from Missouri through present-day Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and — finally — into Oregon, the trail pushed pioneers, their horses, oxen, mules, and cattle through extremes of broiling summer on the plains to frigid high-mountain winters.

The National Frontier Trails Museum is devoted to the history of the three major routes of westward expansion used by early settlers: the Santa FeOregon and California trails. Especially gripping are narratives and diary excerpts from pioneers about life on the trail. However much fortitude it took to make the trek, the case can be made that without the Oregon Trail, and the Oregon Donation Land Act in 1850 — which encouraged settlement in the Oregon Territory — American pioneers may have been far slower to settle the American West.

Striking out for the New Frontier

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Depending on the size of the party, weather conditions they encountered, and delays for broken down wagons, the cross-continent trek could take anywhere from five months up to a year. Having left their old lives behind, most settlers piled everything they needed for the trip into covered wagons, loading up on supplies including staples like flour, sugar, bacon, coffee, and salt. Rifles and ammunition were packed along for hunting and protection from wild animals and skirmishes with Native American tribes. The wagons were also weighed down with extra wheels and axles for repairs along the route.

Early obstacles and endurance

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The best-planned trips had settlers departing Missouri in April or May in order to try and reach Oregon before snow started to fly in winter. That timing also meant there would be ample grass for grazing livestock along the way. Whether headed to Oregon or California, travelers shared the same initial trail as they crossed the Great Plains. Averaging 10 to 15 miles per day, they eventually reached Fort Kearney, Kansas, where their paths diverged. Those with “gold fever” headed to the Gold Rush in California to the south, while others headed northwest into Oregon.

The final push: into Oregon at last

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Originally laid out by trappers and fur traders starting around 1811, the early incarnation of the Oregon Trail was only wide enough for foot and horse traffic. However, by the time the first wagons rolled out of Missouri, around 1836, a wagon-friendly thoroughfare had been cleared to Fort Hall, Idaho. Continually extended and improved with bridges, cutoff routes, and ferries, the wagon trail eventually reached the verdant Willamette Valley in Oregon, delivering settlers to the rich farm and timberland of the Pacific Northwest.

Towns sprung up along the route, making re-supply possible along the way and the trip much faster and less dangerous. About the time things got dialed in, though, the first transcontinental railroad was completed, in 1869, making wagon travel obsolete. The trail remained a main route for cattle drives and other uses for many years, and although train technology cut short the trail’s use by settlers, its high historical importance is recognized and commemorated by the National Park Service, which declared the Oregon Trail a National Historic Trail in 1978.

Blooms of Love

NIV 365 Devotional 1

(Isaiah 27:1–6)

My husband makes our yard look good. Both of his thumbs must be green, because we have an explosion of color around our house. I have flowers in the house virtually the whole year round. In the late winter David forces early daffodils and tulips in our little greenhouse. That’s followed by a constant parade of garden flowers—irises, peonies, poppies, roses, dahlias, asters and the like—until the first freeze in late fall.

Gardening takes a lot of work. David regularly waters our flowers. Sometimes he takes a minute or two to quickly yank up a pile of weeds. Other times he’ll set aside a whole morning or afternoon for yard work and for making a mysterious concoction of fish guts, mouthwash and dish soap that he sprays over his plants so that the bugs and bunnies will leave them alone. His blooms look good enough for the county fair.

It’s a blessing for me that my husband cares as much for cultivating the fruitfulness of our marriage as he cares for cultivating the fruitfulness of our garden. Some of this cultivation takes place in a couple of minutes of “pulling weeds,” making sure we’re on the same page on financial decisions or parenting issues. We build our relationship in daily courtesies, affection, attention and joint prayer. Sometimes we give a whole evening (date night!) to marriage cultivation.

In Isaiah 27, God talks about cultivating the fruitful garden that is his chosen people. He keeps an eye on that garden. He waters it. He makes sure that nothing can harm it. His intention to go beyond protection and provision to fruitfulness is evident.

David and I like to share our garden blooms. This year flowers from our garden helped make a glorious, enormous Easter cross of flowers for our church sanctuary. Flowers from our garden end up on coworkers’ desks, neighbors’ kitchen counters and sickroom bedside tables. People walking their dogs wander up our driveway to get a glimpse into the backyard.

We don’t want to be stingy with the fruit of our marriage either. The point of cultivating our marriage goes beyond simply protecting ourselves and our togetherness. We want our marriage to bear fruit. Some of the fruit it’s now bearing is the secure, God-directed home environment that we’re creating for our children. But our marriage bears fruit in our careers too; neither of us would have the creativity and energy required for work if we were emotionally drained by a damaged marital relationship. Our marriage also bears fruit in our church family life, as we live a testimony of faithfulness before others and as our support for each other enables us to serve in various ways.

David and I are determined to take time, whether it’s five minutes or five evenings, to cultivate a marriage that keeps bearing fruit.

—Annette LaPlaca

Taken from NIV Couples’ Devotional Bible

New life in Christ

Dallas Willard

But the new life in Christ simply is not an inner life of belief and imagination, even if spiritually inspired. It is a life of the whole embodied person in the social context. Peter’s great revelation of Jesus being the Christ was genuine. But subsequent events proved that it alone did not transform his life. What he lived through did that, as was also the case with our Lord, who “learned obedience by the things he suffered” (Heb 5:8-9). An adequate psychology of redemption must make much of this crucial point, and St. Paul’s writings, as well as the rest of the Bible, must be read in the light of it.

From The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. Copyright © 1988 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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5 Places That Are Now Off-Limits Thanks to Tourists

Overtourism is a problem in a lot of places around the globe. Natural places, especially, are susceptible as they can easily see negative human impacts. Some places simply aren’t built to handle so many people, and can be effectively ruined by our simple presence. Of course, littering is another big reason certain places are heavily impacted. Here are five places that are now off limits thanks to tourists.

Mt. Everest Base Camp, Tibet

Mt. Everest Base Camp, Tibet

Credit: Scott Biales/Shutterstock

The Chinese base camp is accessible by car, and has been closed to tourists without hiking permits because of the increased amount of waste left by visitors. The Nepalese base camp is only accessible by a two-week hike, making it difficult to reach for a typical tourist. That’s why so many head to Tibet. Or that’s why they did, at least. Only 300 permits will be issued each year, and with the recent deaths of 11 climbers, it’s not unreasonable to think that number could be chopped down.

Boracay Island, Philippines

Boracay Island, Philippines

Credit: haveseen/Shutterstock

While this island in the Philippines has reopened, it’s still undergoing restoration and is under the threat of closing once again. It closed in 2018 to visitors for about six months to recover from heavy tourism and utility issues like sewage running into the ocean from nearby hotels. It was used as a party island, essentially, since the 1980s, and saw 1.7 million visitors in a 10-month span in recent years, many of them from cruise ships passing through. It has strict new rules like “don’t vomit in public.” There are also bans on pets, grilling meat, fireworks after 9 p.m., casinos and single-use plastics.

Komodo Island, Indonesia

Komodo Island, Indonesia

Credit: Thrithot/Shutterstock

With the island’s famous inhabitants, the Komodo dragons, being stolen and sold on the black market in recent years, Indonesia’s Komodo Island has been closed to tourists through at least January 2020. Millions of visitors to an island that can’t handle that impact has also been an issue. Other islands that are part of Komodo National Park remain open.

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Maya Bay, Thailand

Maya Bay, Thailand

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Famous for being in Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Beach (2000), Thailand’s Maya Bay saw a massive increase in visitors after the film. Before, it only had some 100 people on its shores every day. By 2018, it was 5,000 a day. In June 2018, the country’s department of national parks, wildlife and plant conservation announced they would be closing the beach temporarily — maybe a couple of months. However, the damage was so severe that it’s still closed today, having been indefinitely off limits to visitors since October 2018. Authorities may not have a set reopen date but are working to determine the true capacity of the beach, which will make human impact more minimal.

Fjadrárgljúfur Canyon, Iceland

Fjadrárgljúfur Canyon, Iceland

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The most recent victim of overtourism is Iceland’s stunning Fjadrárgljúfur Canyon. Blame Justin Bieber. More than 1 million people visited the area since the pop star released a music video filmed there in 2015. The country itself has also received a massive uptick in visitors — up to 2.3 million in 2018 from 600,000 just eight years ago. With that in mind, Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson, the Minister of the Enviroment, said it is “a bit too simplistic to blame the entire situation on Justin Bieber.” But we’re going to anyway, because he added: “Rash behavior by one famous person can dramatically impact an entire area if the mass follows.” And it did. The canyon also requires only a half-mile or so of hiking to reach the panoramic views. Fences, signs and park rangers are in place to keep people out, but the number of people who try to go is still overwhelming.

Get Moving! (2)

 

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Also…add to your faith…  2 Peter 1:5

In the matter of drudgery. Peter said in this passage that we have become “partakers of the divine nature” and that we should now be “giving all diligence,” concentrating on forming godly habits (2 Peter 1:4-5). We are to “add” to our lives all that character means. No one is born either naturally or supernaturally with character; it must be developed. Nor are we born with habits— we have to form godly habits on the basis of the new life God has placed within us. We are not meant to be seen as God’s perfect, bright-shining examples, but to be seen as the everyday essence of ordinary life exhibiting the miracle of His grace. Drudgery is the test of genuine character. The greatest hindrance in our spiritual life is that we will only look for big things to do. Yet, “Jesus…took a towel and…began to wash the disciples’ feet…” (John 13:3-5).

We all have those times when there are no flashes of light and no apparent thrill to life, where we experience nothing but the daily routine with its common everyday tasks. The routine of life is actually God’s way of saving us between our times of great inspiration which come from Him. Don’t always expect God to give you His thrilling moments, but learn to live in those common times of the drudgery of life by the power of God.

It is difficult for us to do the “adding” that Peter mentioned here. We say we do not expect God to take us to heaven on flowery beds of ease, and yet we act as if we do! I must realize that my obedience even in the smallest detail of life has all of the omnipotent power of the grace of God behind it. If I will do my duty, not for duty’s sake but because I believe God is engineering my circumstances, then at the very point of my obedience all of the magnificent grace of God is mine through the glorious atonement by the Cross of Christ. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 1-3; Acts 2:1-21

 

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The measure of the worth of our public activity for God is the private profound communion we have with Him.… We have to pitch our tents where we shall always have quiet times with God, however noisy our times with the world may be.

from My Utmost for His Highest, January 6, 736 R

 

 
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7 Richest Neighborhoods in the World

It’s no secret that living in the city is an expensive proposition, but you may be surprised by just how expensive it can get. Take a look at some of the richest neighborhoods in the world and see where some of the wealthiest individuals in the world call home.

Kensington, London

Credit: Nirian / iStock

Kensington is in the heart of London and is the neighborhood where you will find many famous London institutions, including the Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall, the Imperial College and the Victoria and Albert Museum. It is also home to British royalty such as Prince George and the Queen of England herself. However, if you want to call the Queen your neighbor, be prepared: Homes in Kensington can cost as much as $14 million dollars.

Upper East Side, New York

Credit: OlegAlbinsky / iStock

New York’s notoriously brutal housing market reaches a zenith in the Upper East Side. This neighborhood contains Fifth Avenue, one of the most celebrated shopping centers on the planet. It is also bordered by Central Park and the East River, making it one of the most desirable places to live in the city. However, the median home price is nearly $6.5 million, and the price gets higher every year.

16th Arrondissement, Paris

Credit: Pascale Gueret / iStock

The 16th Arrondissement is one of Paris’s 20 arrondissements and is considered the most expensive. Contained in the neighborhood is the Arc de Triomphe and a wealth of beautiful 19th century buildings. But if you want to call one of those historic buildings your home, you will need deep pockets. It is estimated to cost over $10,000 per meter to buy property in the 16th Arrondissement.

Los Altos, California

Credit: NNehring / iStock

This city, on the border of San Francisco and the edge of Silicon Valley, has been transformed from a quiet cottage community to a symbol of modern tech-industry prosperity. The median home price is over $7 million, and according to some sources, the city of Los Altos Hills is indeed the wealthiest city in the country.

Oud-Zuid, Amsterdam

Credit: Frank Cornelissen / iStock

The Oud-Zuid borough of Amsterdam was formed in 1998 when two already-wealthy neighborhoods, the Amsterdam-Zuid and De Pijp, were merged together. In Oud-Zid you will find the Vondelpark, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Heineken Museum. The Amsterdam canal runs through this neighborhood, making it an even more sought-after place to live.

Piper Point, Sydney

Credit: narvikk / iStock

Situated about four miles east of downtown Sydney, Piper Point is home to Wolseley Street, said to be the most expensive street in Australia and the sixth-most expensive street in the world. It wasn’t always so costly, but home prices rose over 150 percent since 2012, making the median home price about $10 million.

Fisher Island, Miami

Credit: franckreporter / iStock

This man-made island had humble origins. It was constructed in 1905 from sand that was dredged up from various construction projects around the Miami Beach area. However, that harbor floor sand that forms the base of Fisher Island has become some of the most expensive land in the United States and has been home to individuals such as President Nixon and Oprah. The island can be reached only by boat or helicopter, and the median home price is $4.3 million dollars.

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