Awhile back I’d read the book Rescue on the Oregon Trail by Kate Messner. It is the first book in the Ranger in Time Series that is written for 8-10 year-olds. You can read my review here.

The basis of this book is about a a dog named Ranger that finds an old first aid kit buried into the garden. The next thing he knows is that he is transported to the start of The Oregon Trail.

Ranger is a sweet Golden Retriever that had managed to wash out of the rescue program. He had a lot of potential, however, he was easily distracted by squirrels.

Once he arrives at the beginning of The Oregon Trail he hears a boy crying out that his sister is missing. Ranger helps to find the little girl and continues to stay with the family until he is able to get back to his home in the present.

When I was a child I use to play the computer game that was based on The Oregon Trail. Although that game was sometimes rather difficult to complete, it had a lot to do with the choices that the individuals had to make while traveling the trail at the time. Have you ever really wanted to be able to experience the Oregon Trail for yourself? I know I have and I have been working on this post ever since I’d decided this was going to be my next bookish travel post!

The Oregon Trail
The Oregon Trail was a 2,000 mile route that many families and individuals choose to travel in hopes of a new beginning. The route began in Independence, Missouri and ended in Oregon City, Oregon. In the mid-1800’s this was how hundreds of thousands of American Pioneers decided to emigrate to the west. This was a long trail that went through Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, and eventually Oregon. The Oregon Trail was a turning point in giving American Pioneers the ability to settle in the American West in the 19th century. It had also led to the passing of the Oregon Donation Land Act in 1850. This Land Act helped to encourage families and individuals to settle in the Oregon Territory. Without this particular Land Act the American Pioneers wouldn’t have so willingly jumped at the opportunity to move their entire family across the United States.

{The National Frontier Trails Museum} – The Oregon Trail begins in Independence, Missouri. It was founded in 1827 and became a well known trading post. One of the most important stops is The National Frontier Trails Museum, which is at the start of the trail. The National Frontier Trails Museum is a great place to stop and learn about the Oregon Trail. This museum helps to tell the story or the exploration, acquisition and settlement into the American West. They have many tools that are used in order to help you better understand history and how it had all taken place. There are films that visitors can watch that will help to prepare the visitors for the exhibits they will encounter as they explore the museum. There are also many quotations from first hand account diaries of many that had traveled the trail.

If you are interested in further information about The National Frontier Trails Museum – Be sure to click this link!

{The Courthouse and Jailhouse Rock} – The next stop on the trail as you are traveling is The Courthouse and Jailhouse Rock. These are two well known rock formations that were located between Bridgeport in the Nebraska Panhandle. There were a number of trails that ran past this particular rock formation and they were known as The Oregon-California Trail, The Mormon Trail, The Pony Express Trail and The Sidney-Deadwood Trail. These rocks served is a landmark on the trail and many of those traveling the trail would stray as much as 5 miles at times in order to hope to get a glimpse of the beautiful rock formation.

{Chimney Rock} – Chimney Rock is a well known landmark in Bayard, Nebraska. This monument had made a strong impression of many of the pioneers that had been traveling the trail. Most individuals that think of the Oregon Trail usually reference this particular monument when discussing the trail and it’s landmarks. Many of the pioneers were fascinated by it and spent a lot of time sketching it, as well as describing it in their diaries and journals. It is said that many saw it is both a welcoming site and a warning that the path they were on was about to become much more difficult to navigate. If you’d like to see this historic landmark first hand you can take a guided tour and see it up close by going to Chimney Rock National Historic Site. There you can learn more about it and what it truly meant to all those that had the opportunity to travel and see it up close and personal.

{Fort Laramie} – The next stop on your journey is going to be Fort Laramie in Fort Laramie, Wyoming. This Fort served is a major trading spot for much needed supplies for those traveling the trail. Many of the building have since been restored to the original shape thus allowing present day travelers to visit and stroll around the building and ruins and imagine what it may have been like to have seen it when all the pioneers were experiencing it for the first time as they were traveling West with all their family, friends and those they’d gotten to know simply by participating in the same journey. It is now a preserved park that is located in Southeast Wyoming. If you’d like to learn more about it or intend on stopping there while your traveling you can visit The Fort Laramie National Historic Site.

{Independence Rock} – Independence Rock is a well known Landmark on the Oregon Trail. It became known as the Independence Rock because of an Independence Day celebration that had taken place at the rock back in 1830. When many individuals reached the rock they’d spend a couple of hours searching it for the names of their loved ones, adding their own names to it and admiring how wonderfully enormous it was. The rock is a 1,900 foot long formation that still stands in modern day Wyoming. Today many people enjoy looking at the rock, climbing on it and hiking around it. If you’d like to learn more about or are planning to make this site one of your stops you should visit The Independence Rock State Historic Site.

{Fort Bridger} – In 1842 this fort become a main trading post. However, in 1847 there was a disagreement between the Mormons and the U.S. Government and a Mormon Guerrilla burned the fort down. Once it had been rebuilt it become a very important stop for the Pony Express and Overland Stage Routes. When visiting this landmark visitors will be able to find a wonderfully put together museum and many of the other building restored to their former glory. This is a wonderful additional stop while on the trail because of how much information can be learned by just visiting and exploring the historical site. If you’d like to learn more about it or plan on stopping while on your own personal journey of the Oregon Trail you can visit The Fort Bridger State Historic Site.

{Soda Springs} – Pioneers had often stopped at these Springs to enjoy a nice bubbly bath. Some however, became sick by trying to drink the water. Today travelers are able to see one of the springs called Hopper which still to this day has naturally carbonated water, due to ancient volcanic activity. If your interested in making this a stop on your journey or simply wanting more information about Soda Springs you can visit Geyser Park & Visitor Center. .

{Fort Hall} – In 1834 this Fort was turned into another trading post along the Oregon Trail. The terrain usually became more difficult once this point in the trail was reached. Many pioneers were forced to leave their wagons behind as it wasn’t possible for them to be traveled with beyond this point. The pioneers would continue on the trail with their animals and hope that they’d be able to carry what they’d need in order to complete their journey. In 1843, a Dr. Marcus Whitman found a way to travel around the terrain by going more westward and managed to take his wagon with him. This helped to show more pioneers that they could take their wagons with them all the way through to Oregon. If you’d like to make this one of your stops or are interested in learning more information about Fort Hall you can visit Fort Hall Replica.

{Whitman Mission} – Dr. Marcus Whitman and his Wife helped to found this Mission in 1836. Back in 1847 there was a measles outbreak among the American Indians. Because of it the Cayuse tribe had killed 12 white people at the mission including Whitman and then they burned it down to the ground. In modern day it has been rebuilt and features a Museum and many activities for children and adults alike to experience. There are storytellings, hiking, and the options to explore and camp nearby. If you’d like to make this one of your stops or are wanting more information you can visit Whitman Mission National Historic Site.

{The Dalles} – This was a path that had went down the Columbia River. The Pioneers that had managed to reach this point in the trail had to use wooden rafts and such to get their families, friends and wagons across the water. It was the only way to continue through the path up until 1845 when The Barlow Toll Road was made. That road helped to give pioneers a much safer way across the river. In modern times many travelers like to be able to enjoy boating, windsurfing, and camping in The Dalles. It is a beautiful location with a breathtaking view. If you are interested in making this one of the stops on your trip or are simply looking more information you can visit Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum.

{Oregon City} – The very last stop on this particular trail is of course Oregon City. Oregon City was established in 1829 by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The city is located on the Willamette River near the Southern limits of Portland. Most pioneers and Indians were smart when it came to Oregon City. They both chose to wisely use it as a mean of trade for supplies. They also used the river as a means of powering up the local mils. In modern day, the Clackamas River Trail runs through the city and so does the Clackamas Park which is one largest parks within the city. If you’d like to learn some more information about Oregon City and the End of the Oregon Trail it is suggested that you visit The End of the Oregon Trail Historic Oregon City.

As you can see there is a lot to see and a lot to learn while traveling the Oregon Trail. As I was reading the book Rescue on the Oregon Trail by Kate Messner it made me want to experience what it would be like to travel the trail the way the the Pioneers did back when the Oregon Trail was widely popular. I think that this could make for a wonderful family trip and as well as an incredible living history experience for children and adults alike.