“Jack’s soccer game was cancelled this weekend,” Tammy said, “and I think we should go to Pendleton.”
“Of course,” I thought to myself, “Isn’t a trip to Pendleton what everyone does when a weekend opens up?”
Now, Tammy and I have been together for quite a while, but you can still imagine how this could catch a person slightly off guard, since neither she nor I has ever been to Pendleton before, nor ever really shared a burning passion to go there. But, “Why not?” I asked myself, and I rallied – “Sure,” I said, “but…Pendleton?”
It turns out that there was only one cabin available in the entire Oregon State Park system for that weekend, and it was in Pendleton. Actually, it was a little farther – we were headed to Emigrant Springs State Historic Area, located about thirty miles past Pendleton – so we packed up and headed out!
The trip was great, and the highlight, by far, was walking along a section of the actual Oregon Trail as it went through a meadow and around boulders. Everyone’s heard of the Oregon Trail, and there are many interpretive centers designed to help explain the rigors of the trail, but I guess the reality of that journey hadn’t fully sunk in for me until that weekend.
I think the lack of pretense was what made it real – the actual trail itself wasn’t awe-inspiring to look at. There weren’t a ton of signs telling me what I should think, and there weren’t any other people aside from Tammy and Jack and myself. We really had the chance to take this all in, and, as corny as it may sound, to actually feel the history. To think about how many people and wagons had to walk along that trail for the trail itself to still be there – about a foot deep and four or five feet wide – after all this time.
In the business world and at RDF,we constantly challenge one another to grow, to take risks, and to be brave. And we are. But the folks who made walked along that trail had a whole different level of bravery, one that is truly impressive.