If I wanted to I could write forever on this topic because there’s so much and I find it so FASCINATING.
Pathfinders. That’s the nickname for Kit Carson and he was famous in his day in dime novels, the stuff of legends.
These men who opened the west.
I’m researching a book right now that I want to set near Lake Tahoe and it’s just led me down bunny trails until I’m reading all about these bold men.
Do you realize there really was no way across the Rocky Mountains? I mean sure, there were many Native Americans who lived there and knew how to avoid falling off a cliff, but it was completely unexplored territory when Lewis and Clark set out. Much is made (in my world) of Sacagawea meeting by purest chance, her brother, who showed Lewis and Clark a way across the Rocky Mountains. And this way was treacherous, no good path, they did get their horses across but no wagon could have made it.
Lewis and Clark were going in blind and found their way.
This is just one example of the bravery and curiosity…and the near miracle necessary to get across those mountains.
What caught my attention just now was The Mullan Military Road. I just bought a book about it and, let’s face it, this has NOTHING to do with Lake Tahoe, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to get background out of it. I can’t wait!
I know, I’m weird. Or maybe writers are weird, that this book about a 180 year old road has me excited.
The Mullan Road was the first road built across the Rockies in the Pacific Northwest. Lieutenant John Mullan, a surveyor and engineer was put in charge of making a narrow trail across the Rockies passable by wagons. This was in 1852, after the Oregon Trail had meandered north to a less treacherous pass.
Lt. Mullan went in with a wide view of what he wanted to accomplish. He was already, in 1852, thinking of a trail that could handle a railroad. Highly educated, a West Point Graduate, highly honorable, his clear, detail records of his explorations were invaluable to the others exploring the area.
I just included this map of another pass Mullan found called Lo Lo Fork or Lo Lo Pass because of Hell Gate…what in the world did that river do to earn that name? Yikes.
Anyway, back to Mullans. He was able to learn the Flathead and Pend d’Oreilles languages quickly and worked well with the Indians in the area. He had the assistance of a guide named Gabriel Prudomme who was the son of a a Cree woman and French-Canadian trapper. Prudomme had been adopted into the Bitterroot-Salish tribe, at the time called Flatheads. Lewis and Clark had been so focused on a water route through the Rockies that they hadn’t asked the right questions of the Indians, who knew of other, less difficult passes, but never mentioned them because there was no river. Then later kept secret out of distrust and dislike of the explorers. (and seriously, who could blame them?)
Prudomme trusted Mullan enough he led him to passes that Native people had previously kept secret from white explorers. The Mullan Trail led from Ft. Benton, now in Montana, at the time in Dakota Territory, and led to Ft. Walla Walla in Washington. And one of these days I’m going to set a book along here!
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Big John Conroy is a Texas Ranger asked by a friend to assist Carrie. He catches up to Carrie and her brother Isaac and races away from a dangerous man who will stop at nothing to make the beautiful young woman his wife. Soon Big John’s feelings for Carrie turn to more than simply protective, and Carrie finally feels that she’s in the presence of a man she can respect–something she’s never known. Fans of Mary’s
The Kincaid Brides and Trouble in Texas series will enjoy catching up with those characters.
Runaway Bride is my contribution to the already released novella collection With This Ring?
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After the death of his wife, prosperous businessman Chance Boden heads west along the Santa Fe Trail with his son to escape the powerful, controlling hands of his in-laws. He has plans to establish his own ranch, but instead he finds work with Frank Chastain, owner of a vast amount of land.
Chance doesn’t want to work for anyone, but Frank’s beautiful daughter gives him reason to delay buying his own holdings. With winter coming, no home in which to live, and Veronica’s offer to care for young Cole while Chance learns the ways of successful ranching in the desert, Chance has little choice but to accept the Chastains’ offer to stay on.