an amber sun bathed the gorge in a blanket of light. the warmth felt like arriving home. i don't think i've ever felt such a sense of belonging in a place i had never been before. perhaps i felt entitled after a long journey. but, it was a powerful scene: with the light caressing every nubby fold of the trees, cascading over rocks, down waterfalls, and finally landing upon shimmering water of the columbia river. the setting was doubled in the river's reflection. driving in on i-84's home stretch with the setting sun was like existing inside a watercolor painting that included mirrors and light. it's rare to feel so overpowered by beauty.
my feelings of sheer elation where a product of two combining factors: approaching a long journey's end plus the majesty of oregon's scenery. yet what i felt was a mere drop compared to the well of relief and joy those raggid pioneers must have experienced upon reaching this very destination. i can only imagine their solace. i saw the terrain they traveled, trust me - it's brutal.
i don't think i ever made it to this point in that damn game - my party having been offed long before. undergoing a watered down version of the real thing was way better than any computer game. we didn't have to trade for supplies, fight off snakes, angry natives, or measles. however, seeing the whole of the country in 4 days puts things in perspective. after traveling the modern oregon trail i can say one thing resolutely: oregon, i'm home.