Starting the Old Oregon Trail
We started following the Old Oregon Trail just outside Topeka, KS. As mom drove, I just looked out the window and tried to imagine what it must have been like to travel these rolling hills in a slow moving covered wagon. The scenery was beautiful, but at the same time I could just imagine how daunting it might have appeared to some of those traveling. What kind of beasts lurked in the woods? Was there water up ahead? What kind of people might be encountered? I could see how it could excite the adventuresome and bring hesitation to those who fear the unknown.
We crossed the Kansas River and continued north to Alcove Spring.
Alcove Spring was a place where the pioneers stopped to rest before crossing the Big Blue River at Independence Crossing. The wagon trains made camp between the spring and the river, sometimes spending several days waiting for the river waters to recede for a shallower and safer crossing. While they waited they made necessary repairs to equipment, replenished food supplies with wild game and plants, and let their animals rest.
The spring is about 3/4 of a mile from the area where the pioneers camped (above). The hike to the spring, through meadows and woods, is beautiful. The spring itself has never been known to be dry, but the alcove is also fed by a wet-weather creek which creates the beautiful waterfall sometimes seen here. Unfortunately, this late in the season, the waterfall was almost dried up so there wasn't much to see. However, it was a pretty walk and it stirred my imignation!
This is Alcove Spring as we saw it today.
It was 108 degrees outside and 85% humidity, so mom let me go wading and chase water bugs! It was fun and felt good! What an adventure!
Where next, mom?!