Melanie Dobson shares how her family's faith was tested and ultimately strengthened.
by- Posted on Jul 15, 2013
Dobson is the author of the novel Where the Trail Ends about the Oregon Trail; it is part of the American Tapestries Series from Summerside Press, an imprint of Guideposts Books.
In 1843, more than 900 men, women and children began what is known as “the Great Migration.” During the next 20 years, approximately 300,000 Americans traveled West on the Oregon Trail.
With Where the Trail Ends, I hoped to shed a light on the determination of American men and women who made this difficult journey, as well as the Native Americans and British who aided them along the way. These pioneers lost loved ones and possessions along the way, yet many of them arrived with a renewed faith and a determination to create thriving lives in this new world. Their diligence and strength in the midst of incredible hardship remains an inspiration.
In the winter of 2007, my husband and I packed up our home and, with our two young daughters, moved to Oregon. While we were sipping soft drinks on the airplane and soaking in the hot tub at our hotel in Portland, my saintly father drove our moving van filled with furniture and boxes over the icy pass into Oregon.
There were no oxen for him to feed or rivers to forge, but when our moving van struggled to make it over the mountains, he probably felt like discarding a few pieces of furniture along the trail. Then the fuel line sprang a leak, and he had to wait for the delivery of a new moving van—from San Francisco—before reloading all our things so he could finish the journey.
When we arrived in Oregon, we didn’t have to build a house or plant a field before winter, but like those first pioneers, we enjoyed the beauty around us. It’s been seven years since we arrived and we still love exploring the lush green forest next to our house, watching sea lions play off the coast, hiking the rocky cliffs and picking organic fruit each summer. We love the warm days when our neighborhood emerges en masse to soak up the sunshine together, and we enjoy those rainy days cuddled up with books or playing games by the fireplace.
It’s been almost 200 years since the first wagon train floundered through the Blue Mountains. Because of the hard work of its people in taking care to preserve its fertile land, Oregon continues to flourish. And the Dobson family is honored to call this beautiful state our home.