Monday, February 15, 2010

Oregon Buttes in Winter

Oregon Buttes seen from the road near the Continental Divide.  This is the route of the Oregon/Mormon Trail.  For those travelers whose destination was Oregon, South Pass marked approximately the half way point in the journey from Independence, Missouri. 

"A major landmark, the Oregon Buttes marked the passage beyond South Pass into the Oregon Territory. In this region, many emigrants felt a sense of disappointment. Having reached one of the key destinations, they were now struck with the seemingly endless trek still ahead. Theodore Talbot in 1843 probably expressed this sentiment best when he wrote: "Today we set foot in Oregon Territory, the land of promise. As of yet it only promises an increased supply of sagebrush and sand."

About twelve miles southwest of Oregon Buttes lies the Tri-Territory site where Spain, France, and Great Britain all had a common boundary as the Mexican Territory, Louisiana Purchase, and Oregon Territory converged."

For more on South Pass and the Oregon Trail, go Here.

Red Canyon looking toward Lander, WY.

Saturday afternoon we drove over South Pass and on to Pinedale to visit over night with Howard and Heidi.
It is amazing to see the herds of antelope grazing on the high desert in the middle of winter.  Tufts of brown frosted grass poke up through the sagebrush dotted snow.  It hardly seems a landscape that would sustain animals through the cold and bitter months.
A bald eagle kept watch on a power pole near Farson, hawks of several varieties hunted their small hapless prey.
"Springtime in the Rockies" is nearly three months away.  The only sign that the year is slowly creaking toward the vernal equinox was the fact that when we reached our destination a bit before 6 PM there was still daylight.


  1. What a wonderful link - I have just been lost in history!

    Hows the packing coming along?

  2. Wow, antelope! Are they farmed or wild? Do people use their skins or their meat? I am fascintaed to know.

  3. What an interesting post ...had a quick look atthe link and will dip in again,later. There are names of places that were only part of 'Western' Oregon Trail and Fort Laramie but now they are real.

    I listened to the news last night and they are worried about the wild deer in the Scottish Highlands. The winter has been harsher than in recent years and they are finding many have not survived. They will not know the true extent of the winter's damage until Spring has arrived, leaving the carcasses exposed.

  4. BB; History of the white man's settlement in this area is relatively recent compared to the east coast. Of course we are still a young land in relationship to the antiquities of Europe!
    Kath; the antelope are wild. Elk herds are given supplemental feed in winter in several locations, Jackson Hole and Red Canyon are the two where I have seen elk on winter feeding grounds. I don't know of any special care for the antelope. I was told that about 15 years ago an early winter storm caught the large "Jackson herd" during their migration and many perished. They are beautiful graceful little creatures. The antelope are hunted by permit like the other game animals, but unless the meat is handled very carefully, it is unpleasantly "gamey."
    Angie; Now that we have lived here, J. recognizes scenery in some of the classic vintage "western" movies. The old stand-by "Shane" was filmed near Jackson Hole, WY.
    I grieve for the animals which don't survive the harsh winters. Slow starvation seems such a cruel way to go.
    The Packing: we have reached that stage where all is disruption and unfinished tasks. I surely hope we are doing this for the last time!

  5. Hullo MM,

    Sorry not left a message before now. Don't know why I didn't at the time - just a rush I imagine.

    Lovely post - and your so right about the landscape {and the names of places around you} - they are highly evocative. I almost expect J to be packin' a pistol!

    Got your comment too this morning and don't worry, I understand you're busy........

    Hope it's all going well.


  6. Just thought I would pop by and check out your progress ...I hope for your sake that it is the last time you move and that you both find the ideal place to enjoy your autumn years together xx
    ps ..if J stopped building I think he would have to become a local handyman other wise he would have withdrawl symptoms and you will have to have a quilt makers shop nearby so you can have some 'Me Time' ...LOL