The pioneers who traveled the Overland Trails often used the phrase, "I've seen the elephant" when describing troubles along the trail. The Elephant was anticipated at the beginning of the trail as something wondrous and exciting, but after miles and miles of hardship, the novelty had worn thin.
Yesterday we stopped at the California Trail Interpretive Center near Elko, Nevada and spent two hours there learning more about the great western migration of the 1800s.
Having traveled almost all the way across this great country in a comfortable, air conditioned car, with convenient roadside restaurants and hotels, we have only glimpsed the Elephant. And most of that glimpse was at the Interpretive Center.
There's a little trail outside the building that wanders through the sagebrush with old wagons and cast-offs depicting life along the trail. Inside, the displays describe the conditions and hardships of the journey with maps, dioramas, and old photos. Our visit really increased our understanding and admiration of the early pioneers.
Our earlier stop at Twin Falls, Idaho was interesting too. High above the Snake River along Highway 93, is the Perrine Bridge that folks use for base jumping! Who knew?
The view up the river is gorgeous, and the view down the river is riveting because you never know when someone will step over the railing, take a deep breath, and leap off!
In this photo you can see the shadow of a parachute coming down, but the actual chute is hard to see against the rocky gorge.
Today we will cross the Sierras in luxury (compared to the pioneers), and slide down into the Big Valley and home. It's been a good trip full of wonderful experiences, gorgeous scenery, and interesting people. What a great country we live in!