Welcome, I am Bart Smith, a photographer/avid walker. I have walked and photographed all eleven of America’s National Scenic Trails culminating is several coffee table books showcasing the remarkable natural heritage along our trails. More recently I have been walking and photographing our National Historic Trails. This media journal (using a blog format) documents my 2012 Oregon Trail walk-a-bout via movies and images. Not a lot of folks walk the Oregon Trail these days. In fact, I was surprised when a motel proprietor in Nebraska mentioned that another fellow was walking the trail ahead of me. Eventually I caught up with that gentleman, Jan Boog, in Eastern Oregon and we shared the trail for a few days before I paced ahead. Jan, a Dutchman, was carrying his love of history and all his wares on his back whereas I was carrying my love of history but pushing my wares on a baby jogger which provided for a spring in my step. But between 1840 and 1869 some 400,000 intrepid souls carried their hopes, dreams and entire world belongings along the 2000 mile journey West. The Oregon Trail era was pivotal to our history. All those hopes and dreams walking through months of dust represented the largest voluntary human migration ever recorded. America as we know it was being created. It was humbling walking in those footsteps and wagon ruts still in evidence along those long beige miles over the Great American Desert. Even with the stroller it was a rough walk. My pedestrian journey was mostly along rural road and paved road and I had periodic access to motels and restaurants. But even with modern amenities, walking all those endless exposed miles instilled in me a profound respect for the hardships the immigrant endured and an empathy for the plight of the Native American heritage. As you will see, the movies are on the fly but I am hoping they will convey a sense of the history along the trail as well as allow me to share my personal journey west. A quick apology to Oregonians, I am one of those dastardly nincompoops who never learned how to properly pronounce Oregon. It should be be pronounced “Oregen” rather than “Oregoooone”. On Ward!!
P.S. All the photographs displayed on this blog were taken by myself and are under copyright of Bart Smith. If you choose to share any of them on the internet please give me credit. Thank You.