Taking on the Oregon Trail in Union

Nov 20, 2012
Courtesy of: Nick Buck

Union — Nick Buck of Newcastle will give an illustrated presentation at the next Union Historical Society meeting about a four-month journey in 2011, when he and his brother re-created the experience of pioneer settlers in the 1830s and 40s, heading west in a mule-drawn covered wagon from St. Joseph, Mo. to Baker City, Ore., on the Oregon Trail.

The meeting is Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Robbins House on Union Common.

As the owner of the 10 wagons and three horses, and having grown-up with a family tradition of working with horse-drawn vehicles, Buck was well-qualified to undertake the bone-rattling adventure. With his brother Rinker and Jack Russell terrier Olive Oil, he set out on May 14 in a wagon purchased from a builder in Fortin, Kan., drawn by three mules acquired from an Amish farmer in Jamesport, Mo. They traveled 2,000 miles at the rate of 40 to 60 miles daily, and arrived in Baker City on Sept. 6.

Buck's experience opens a window on the past. He and Rinker struggled with the same uncooperative mules, inclement weather, equipment breakages, heat, altitude, and dangerous mountain passes, as the pioneers of the westward migration 175 years ago.

Buck said in a news release, "It was a months-long endurance test. Our backs hurt for the entire trip." But his enthusiasm about embracing the opportunity for a unique experience remains undimmed.

After the meeting refreshments will be served by hosts Erik Amundsen and Amy Cornell. All meetings of Union Historical Society are free and open to the public.Membership is $5 per year. For more information, call 785-5444 and leave a message, or unionhistoricalsociety.org.

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