Windlass Hill

Much of the way Alberta and I followed the old Oregon Trail used by the pioneers. Ash Hollow State Park we saw relics and read stories of the days of the western migration. We were surprised to see wagon ruts still showing that were made by the covered wagons. In one place the old tracks coming down a hill had eroded and washed away enough soil to make a gully eight or ten feet deep. At Windlass Hill the tracks were also visible. The story was that the hill was so steep that a windlass [similar to a winch] was used to help the horses or oxen hold the wagons back. This story may not be true and is still controversial.

Having had experience driving horses I wanted to explore around to see if the pioneers might have found an easier path down the hill. At first glance it seemed to me there were other places that would not have been as steep. We walked up the hill and hiked around a bit, and finally conceded they had used the only practical path. I guess the guides knew what they were doing.

We were probably walking in the same footsteps taken by the wagon trains' advance scouts. It makes you stop and think! It was not that long ago!

Another memorable experience!

Charles E. Page, 2004