FIRST-BORN ON OREGON TRAIL 167 made of the skins of two horses, possibly in the vicinity of Old's Ferry, "on the 24th of December they turned their backs upon the disastrous banks of the Snake River, and struck their course westward for the mountains" (Chapter XXXVII), ascending the Burnt River, called "Woodvile Creek," in Chap- ter XLIV. On December 28th, "they came upon a small stream winding to the north, through a fine level valley," the Baker Valley, and it is interesting in this connection that near the junction of Sutton Creek with Powder River, where they probably camped that night, there is black sand resembling gun powder, which probably suggested the name for Powder River. The "chain of woody mountains to the left [west], running to the north, and covered with snow," is the beautiful Elkhorn Range, the most striking feature of the Baker landscape. "They kept along the valley for twenty-one miles on the 29th, suffering much from a continual fall of snow and rain, and being twice obliged to ford the icy stream" of the Powder River. Their encampment that night must have been almost at the present site of the village of North Powder, where "early in the following morning the squaw of Pierre Dorion, who had hitherto kept on without murmuring or flinching . . . enriched her husband with another child, as the forti- tude and good conduct of the poor woman had gained for her the good will of the party, her situation caused concern and perplexity. Pierre, however, treated the matter as an occur- rence that could soon be arranged and need cause no delay. He remained by his wife in the camp, with his other children and his horse, and promised soon to rejoin the main body, who proceeded on their march." A few miles beyond the village of North Powder the river enters a canyon, and here the party "finding that the little river entered the mountains, they abandoned it, and turned off for a few miles among the hills, . . . thus, with difficulties augmenting at every step, they urged their toilsome way . . . half famished and faint of heart, when they came to
Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/175
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