Thursday, July 16, 2009

Donner Party, Alcove Spring, Kansas and a Copperhead

Most people have heard of the Donner Party from 1846.  They are the group of 87 pioneers heading west that got trapped in mountains in California. Their story is tragic and horrific.  Not many people know this same group passed through Marysville, Kansas.

We took the hike to Alcove Spring near the Big Blue River.  It is the location where many of the wagons took a ferry across to continue their journey west. If the water was high the wagons and people would wait until it was safe to cross, which could mean days upon days of camping in the fields surrounding the river.

The Donner party was one of hundreds that passed through this area on their trip west.

The hike to Alcove Spring was easy and a great historic experience.  We got to see original carvings made by some of the pioneers and see the spring that many of them frequented.

It was so amazing to get to walk where the pioneers walked and see what my husband called, "their graffiti". But, on the way back to the van things weren't as pleasant.  We had to cross a bridge. Shae was carrying Josie, I was walking with Gabriel and Naomi and had Tytus in the sling. Cody and Hanna had taken a different trail back to the van. The rest of us went back the way we had come. Shae was in the lead. He had to go potty and found the perfect tree. He set Josie down and began to walk off the trail. He suddenly began yelling at Josie to get back. I started to run towards her. Shae jumped and then kicked his leg towards the ground. I saw grass, weeds, dirt, and a copperhead poisonous snake fly through the air in the opposite direction of Josie. I grabbed Josie by the arm while trying to hold Tytus’ in the sling. We ran back to the bridge and as far from the grass as possible. Josie was crying loudly. Shae began searching for a large stick to kill the horrible creature with. All he could find was branch with lots of small branches on the end. He stabbed at the snake over and over again. The snake kept striking at the branch and trying to come towards us instead of getting away.  Finally, Shae got it to head down a hill away from us. He chased that thing down the hill with that branch. Gabriel stared at his daddy with awe and respect. He talked about the incident a lot that night. We praised God over and over for protecting Josie and Shae. Shae said he has never kicked a poisonous snake with his foot before and especially in sandals!

Here are some links for more information.

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