On the Trail | TheFencePost.com

On the Trail

Candy Moulton
Encampment, Wyo.

Darla Wynn and Bailey Scott at topographer's camp.

Nearly two years ago, Bob Noll of Boston Productions and I learned that the Oregon-California Trail Association had received a donation from a longtime member to create a documentary about hardships on the trail. We immediately began working to create a film titled “In Pursuit of a Dream.” From our first meeting in Norwood, Massachusetts in early October of 2006, until June 28, 2008, when we were on the ground with a wagon train in Wyoming, we have been planning for this trip. Early on we agreed that the story of the trails has been told before, and well, by other companies, but never before has the story of children on the trails been effectively presented. So we decided to not only give the perspective of 19th century children on the trails, but also to take some modern-day kids out on the trail.

In April we held auditions in Boston, Denver, and Sacramento, visiting with more than 140 students and eventually choosing 24 to head out onto the trail with us. Over the next couple of columns, I’ll bring you, my Fence Post readers, along with us as we traveled In Pursuit of a Dream.

Oh, what a view, July 27

This afternoon Bob, Quackgrass and I went with BLM Archaeologist Chris Arthur down the ridge in central Wyoming where we will take our wagons on the first day the kids travel with us. We have planned a meeting there with a party of topographical engineers. The site Chris took us to is the point of a ridge from which there is a stunning view of the country. The wild flowers are vibrant this year and the grass is green because it has been cold and rainy this spring. We can only imagine the feeling our students will have when they are standing here … it almost looks like you can see the entire world.

The wagons have arrived, July 27

Wow, today was very exciting. Our five wagons pulled into camp this afternoon and it was TOTAL CHAOS. We had wagons, teams, horses, water trucks, feed vehicles (for people and for animals) … and it seemed as if we had no organization at all … But within two to three hours we had the wagons together and in place, dinner was being prepared and the animals were grazing. We have a Wagon Train Camp and now are eager for our students to arrive.

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The planes have landed, July 28

We had a call from Jacqueline … All the kids have arrived safely in Denver. They are with their chaperones and our crew … they will now head north. Best laid plans didn’t quite work out with a rental van, which delayed their departure from Denver so they will be late in arriving at camp. We are still prepping the camp and the delay has actually worked a bit to our benefit. Gotta race now … still much to do.

Sunday, June 29

Delay, but we begin filming

It was too late last night for our cast to arrive at camp, so we had them stay in Casper. This morning they arrived at camp about 9:30 a.m. and we began immediately filming. They had breakfast in camp: bacon, eggs, homemade hashbrowns, muffins, juice, and some fruit. Shortly after breakfast we talked about the wagon train safety rules and took a cast photo with everyone in their In Pursuit of a Dream T-Shirts.

Nearly two years ago, Bob Noll of Boston Productions and I learned that the Oregon-California Trail Association had received a donation from a longtime member to create a documentary about hardships on the trail. We immediately began working to create a film titled “In Pursuit of a Dream.” From our first meeting in Norwood, Massachusetts in early October of 2006, until June 28, 2008, when we were on the ground with a wagon train in Wyoming, we have been planning for this trip. Early on we agreed that the story of the trails has been told before, and well, by other companies, but never before has the story of children on the trails been effectively presented. So we decided to not only give the perspective of 19th century children on the trails, but also to take some modern-day kids out on the trail.

In April we held auditions in Boston, Denver, and Sacramento, visiting with more than 140 students and eventually choosing 24 to head out onto the trail with us. Over the next couple of columns, I’ll bring you, my Fence Post readers, along with us as we traveled In Pursuit of a Dream.

Oh, what a view, July 27

This afternoon Bob, Quackgrass and I went with BLM Archaeologist Chris Arthur down the ridge in central Wyoming where we will take our wagons on the first day the kids travel with us. We have planned a meeting there with a party of topographical engineers. The site Chris took us to is the point of a ridge from which there is a stunning view of the country. The wild flowers are vibrant this year and the grass is green because it has been cold and rainy this spring. We can only imagine the feeling our students will have when they are standing here … it almost looks like you can see the entire world.

The wagons have arrived, July 27

Wow, today was very exciting. Our five wagons pulled into camp this afternoon and it was TOTAL CHAOS. We had wagons, teams, horses, water trucks, feed vehicles (for people and for animals) … and it seemed as if we had no organization at all … But within two to three hours we had the wagons together and in place, dinner was being prepared and the animals were grazing. We have a Wagon Train Camp and now are eager for our students to arrive.

The planes have landed, July 28

We had a call from Jacqueline … All the kids have arrived safely in Denver. They are with their chaperones and our crew … they will now head north. Best laid plans didn’t quite work out with a rental van, which delayed their departure from Denver so they will be late in arriving at camp. We are still prepping the camp and the delay has actually worked a bit to our benefit. Gotta race now … still much to do.

Sunday, June 29

Delay, but we begin filming

It was too late last night for our cast to arrive at camp, so we had them stay in Casper. This morning they arrived at camp about 9:30 a.m. and we began immediately filming. They had breakfast in camp: bacon, eggs, homemade hashbrowns, muffins, juice, and some fruit. Shortly after breakfast we talked about the wagon train safety rules and took a cast photo with everyone in their In Pursuit of a Dream T-Shirts.