Chuck’s 2010 Post-ConventionTour

The 2010 annual convention of the Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA) will be held in Elko Nevada, August 10-14. After the convention, Chuck will lead a post-convention tour along the Applegate-Lassen Trail.

The tour will run four days through a primitive area that offers no amenities. No potable water or supplies of any kind are anywhere along the trail. We will camp three nights, at sites on the trail. Participants must have high clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles, and must provide their own food, water, and camping gear. Each vehicle must carry enough gas to travel about 200 miles. Good tires and a cb radio are essential for every vehicle. The tour will be limited to 15 vehicles. Dogs, trailers, firearms, and campfires are not allowed. Hats, insect repellant, and sun block is strongly advised. Contact chuck if your rig has a tall camper shell.

Participants are warned that it gets cold on the desert, even in August; warm clothing is essential. In fact, participants must be prepared for all weather extremes, from really hot to really cold, and from rain to snow to sun. Until the last day of the tour, we will pass only one shade tree along the route, but we won't stop there.

The tour will focus on the experience of the emigrants who traveled this section of the trail to Oregon and to northern California, not just the physical remains of the trail. (See the Emigrant Experience Tours web page for general information.)

About two weeks before the convention, Chuck will send each participant a copy of an account (diary, journal, or reminiscence) of an emigrant who traveled the Applegate-Lassen Trail. The participants will be asked to “represent” his or her emigrant during the tour, by relating to the group what was seen and experienced by the emigrant, and by asking questions raised by what the emigrant wrote. Thus, throughout the tour, participants will collectively allow everyone to hear what fifteen to twenty (or more) emigrants experienced as they traveled the trail in the 1840s.

Chuck will start each day with a review of what was seen the day before, a brief description of what will be seen that day, and interpretation that will place the day’s trail segment in the historical and geographical context. Tour participants will be asked to join in, representing their emigrants. Chuck will provide interpretation at each trail site visited on the tour; participants will be encouraged to ask questions and to relate the observations and experiences recorded by their emigrants when they were at the site. Chuck may read from diaries or journals, or may ask participants to read passages from the account of his or her emigrant.

The critical scheduling for the tour requires a full first day, to cover the distance from where the trail leaves the Humboldt River (near Imlay, NV) to Black Rock Springs. Thus the tour must start at 8:00 a.m., Monday, August 16.

At some point during the convention Chuck and participants will gather to introduce themselves both as participants of the tour and as representatives of his or her emigrant. In addition, Chuck will lead the “start-the-day” discussion appropriate to the first day of the tour, to allow the tour to start early enough to ensure a timely completion of the relatively long first day.

For those who are interested, on Sunday, August 15, Chuck will lead participants along I-80 from Elko and Imlay, stopping at interesting trail sites not visited by convention tours; this will end in Winnemucca, where participants can pick up the supplies (and ice) they will need for the tour. Chuck may also show interested participants some of start of the Applegate Trail that will not be included in the tour itself. Sunday night participants can camp with Chuck near Imlay, or can stay in Winnemucca or in the motel at the truck stop at Mill City.

The tour starts at Callahan Bridge (near Imlay, Nevada) at 8:00 a.m., Monday August 16. It ends around 4:00 p.m., at Davis Creek, CA (20 miles north of Alturas), August 19. Chuck will provide you with directions for reaching Callahan Bridge during our "get together" meeting at the convention.

The tour will be based on Chuck's Guide to Traveling the Applegate-Lassen Trail. OCTA will provide participants with a convention tour book that includes a one-page map, an itinerary, and quotations from emigrant accounts. If they want, participants can purchase a copy of Chuck's guide through this web site, or directly from Chuck, in the book room at the convention, for $18.00 (a little more than 20% off of the list price). Just to clarify this: you do not have to purchase Chuck's guide to go on the tour. Obviously, Chuck thinks having the guide will enrich your experience, but the guide is not required.

Chuck's co-leaders will be Alison Portello and Terry Hardwicke. Jon Willers will also help.

See the Emigrant Experience Tours web page for general information on Chuck's "Emigrant Experience" tours. Contact Chuck ( if you have questions.

You must be an OCTA member, registered at the Elko Convention to take this tour. (OCTA membership only costs $45 — join.) Sign up for the tour when you sign up for the convention.