More than 150 years ago, pioneers traveled west along the Oregon Trail — from Independence, MO, to Oregon City, OR, — in wagon trains. In early spring, folks loaded their most essential belongings into covered wagons, and their difficult journey took months. They overcame countless challenges along the way, like encountering unfriendly Indians, crossing raging rivers, passing over vast mountain ranges, and dodging herds of buffalo and other wild animals. If and when they finally arrived, they had to start anew just as winter weather set in. But the beautiful, lush and fertile lands of the Willamette Valley offered settlers great hope for a bright future.
Those old covered wagons were probably only slightly more roomy than the space allowed our family of four airline ticket holders bound for Oregon. We packed our most essential belongings into five suitcases, a camera bag, and two small backpacks.
By comparison, our journey west wasn’t difficult at all. It took only a few hours to fly from Minneapolis to Portland. Cruising at 36,000 feet, we safely crossed many a river and mountain without even noticing them. The only challenges we faced were crossing through airport security, hunting for much-loved relatives scattered across the city, and adjusting our stomachs and sleep schedules to Pacific Time.
But like those early pioneers, we found the Willamette Valley lush and beautiful.
During our five-day trip, we rendezvoused with my grandma and lots of other extended family to celebrate her 90th birthday.
Also during our stay, my uncle was ordained and consecrated by the Episcopal Church as the 10th Bishop of Oregon. It was quite an elaborate ceremony, especially for a Baptist like me who rarely experiences “high church” as some call it. His attire included these ornate vestments – a cope, stole and mitre.
On Sunday, our family attended church at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Portland.
The century old building is a work of art, and the beautiful blooming magnolia tree in the courtyard was quite a sight to behold as well.
Come back soon! I’ll share eight things we loved about Oregon in Part 2.