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Dundee’s Passage: The Oregon Trail Revisited

The morning of Wednesday, April 27, a man was seen walking PWF Road, entering Fairbury and pushing a handcart dressed up to look like a smaller version of the sort of covered wagons that pioneers used to cross the countryside in the early days of this country’s history.
That man is named Don Martin, though he told FJN his “trail name” is Dundee. He is currently traversing the once well-trod path that is now known as the Oregon Trail.
Dundee is also keeping an online journal of his journey at https://trailjournals.com/oregontrail. In his journal, he noted, “Between three and five hundred thousand folks headed west in the trail era, from 1842 through 1866. Unlike the movies, for the most part they walked. Oxen were by far the most common draft animal (horses were not tough enough, and mules were expensive) and they were led from the ground, not driven with reins from a wagon seat. Over rocks and without springs, riding was a last resort for the very young or old and those too sick to walk. Most people who visit the Trail today travel by car. No one really keeps track but at most a few people each year complete the Oregon Trail on foot (it is likely that more people summit Mt. Everest in a good year than have walked the Oregon Trail in the last hundred years).”
According to the Himalayan Database, somewhere between 700 and 800 people attempt to climb Mount Everest each year.
During a conversation with FJN, Dundee pointed out that his other trips are also documented on the Trail Journals website, including his account of walking the Appalachian Trail. He told FJN that he had originally hoped to take the Camino Frances, also known as the French Way, but the COVID-19 pandemic made such an overseas journal impractical.


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