E-News May 14th, 2021

OCTA’s Newest YouTube Video:
Butterfield Pass and the Maricopa Mountains

OCTA’s newest YouTube Channel offering, Butterfield Pass and the Maricopa Mountains, makes its debut today. Join Bureau of Land Management archaeologist Cheryl Blanchard for the third and final time in this series as she explains this site that she manages as part of her duties in Arizona. Be sure to subscribe to our channel so that you get instant alerts the second our videos go live. Once we reach 1,000 subscribers, YouTube will share with OCTA the ad revenue generated by our channel.

Stay tuned  as we continue to roll out all of the videos we filmed over the past year. We have one more video in this inaugural series to share:

Saturday, June 5: How Six Historic Trail Stories Converge in One Small Missouri Town

Next week, we will have a film crew in Shoshone, California developing a short video on the trail near Death Valley, telling stories of the Old Spanish Trail, the Salt Lake to Los Angeles Wagon Road, and other fascinating things that happened in that area. Author and OCTA member Leo Lyman will join our film crew to help tell this story. This project is in partnership with the Amargosa Conservancy and funded via a grant from the California Humanities Council. Stay tuned!


Complete List of OCTA’s YouTube Videos

Click the links below to watch the 18 YouTube videos that OCTA has produced so far. Be sure to subscribe! Once we reach 1,000 subscribers we will start earning ad revenue from our channel. Enjoy and share!


New Jim Bridger Book Now Available!

Even among iconic frontiersmen like John C. Fr mont, Kit Carson, and Jedediah Smith, Jim Bridger stands out. A mountain man of the American West, straddling the fur trade era and the age of exploration, he lived the life legends are made of. His adventures are fit for remaking into the tall tales Bridger himself liked to tell.

Here, in a biography that finally gives this outsize character his due, Jerry Enzler takes this frontiersman’s full measure for the first time–and tells a story that would do Jim Bridger proud. Born in 1804 and orphaned at thirteen, Bridger made his first western foray in 1822, traveling up the Missouri River with Mike Fink and a hundred enterprising young men to trap beaver. At twenty he “discovered” the Great Salt Lake. At twenty-one he was the first to paddle the Bighorn River’s Bad Pass. At twenty-two he explored the wonders of Yellowstone. In the following years, he led trapping brigades into Blackfeet territory; guided expeditions of Smithsonian scientists, topographical engineers, and army leaders; and, though he could neither read nor write, mapped the tribal boundaries for the Great Indian Treaty of 1851.

Enzler charts Bridger’s path from the fort he built on the Oregon Trail to the route he blazed for Montana gold miners to avert war with Red Cloud and his Lakota coalition. Along the way he married into the Flathead, Ute, and Shoshone tribes and produced seven children. Tapping sources uncovered in the six decades since the last documented Bridger biography, Enzler’s book fully conveys the drama and details of the larger-than-life history of the “King of the Mountain Men.” This is the definitive story of an extraordinary life.

OCTA HQ has ordered a limited supply of Jim Enzler’s book.  OCTA membership discounts do apply!  Retail $29.95 plus S/H. 

To order:  Call – Kathy Conway at OCTA Natl HQ at 816/252-2276. If she’s not in, leave a message and she will call you back as quickly as possible. This book is not yet available on our website but hope to have it added to our online store next week.

Ezra Meeker and Howard Driggs:
Protectors of the Emigrant Trails and Their Stories

On Saturday, May 15, a joint event of the Northwest and Colorado-Cherokee Trail chapters, “Ezra Meeker and Howard Driggs” will feature a panel discussion moderated by David Welch and Legacy, a video recently produced by Southern Utah University.

Panelists include:

  • Andy Anderson
  • Roger Blair
  • Camille Bradford
  • David Welch


  • 1:00 Pacific
  • 2:00 Mountain
  • 3:00 Central
  • 4:00 Eastern

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 852 1944 2535
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Southern Trails Chapter Zoom Event: Terror on the Santa Fe Trail

Zoom Event!
Thursday, May 20th 5 PM PDT(AZ)/8 PM EDT
Register at tinyurl.com/KitCarsonApache

The range of the Jicarilla Apache covered a third of the Santa Fe Trail on both the Cimarron Cut-off and the Mountain Branch. At any time, they could cut New Mexico off from the Union striking cold fear in the hearts of leaders in Santa Fe. Three times when angered they closed the trail, but in 1854 they had been at peace for four years. Governor Meriwether predicted a war caused by the policies of his predecessor. But it didn’t come. Then Lieutenant Davidson attacked a peaceful camp of Apaches. They defended themselves with 100 warriors to his 60 dragoons. Twenty-two dragoons died and the rest were wounded while the Jicarilla suffered only 3 casualties. The governor had his war which was officially declared. Davidson became a hero and after almost two years of pursuing and killing Apache, the governor made almost the same peace treaty as his predecessor. Through it all Kit Carson was enemy, neighbor, friend, scout, and their Indian agent and finally, led their last war party.

Presented by the Southern Trails Chapter of the Oregon California Trails Association with award-winning author Doug Hocking.


City of Rocks to Sponsor
Hiking Tour of Pinnacle Pass

Do you want to explore a part of the reserve that is only accessible to the public during a special ranger-led hike? Join a ranger to hike to Pinnacle Pass, an important spot along the California Trail, during Memorial Day weekend. This part of the reserve is on private land, so access is limited except during these special ranger-led tours.

When: Sunday May 30th at 10 am and 4 pm
Where: Meet at the Twin Sisters group parking lot

Details: The hike is fairly level and easy, and less than a mile in length. Visitors will imagine what the landscape looked like as emigrants traveled in wagons over 150 years ago!

Each hike is limited to 15 people. Advanced registration is required so call the Visitor Center 208-824-5901 to sign up.


OCTA to Dedicate Gregory Franzwa Memorial Bench on National Trails Day

On National Trails Day, Saturday, June 5, 2021, OCTA will dedicate the Gregory Franzwa Memorial Bench at OCTA HQ in Independence, Missouri. Gregory, who left us after a short illness in 2009, was a founder of OCTA in 1982. We are working with an Eagle Scout candidate and the City of Independence Parks & Rec Department to beautify the area outside the entrance to our office with new plants and flowers ahead of the bench installation before the dedication at 9 AM CDT on June 5. Plan to join us for remarks about Greg and his contributions from OCTA Past President Ross Marshall, then head out to Black Jack Park west of Gardner, Kansas for the dedication that afternoon of their new walking trails through the deep wagon swales in celebration of the Santa Fe Trail’s 200th anniversary. This event will be livestreamed on OCTA’s Instagram and Facebook pages. If you don’t have either of those forms of social media, we will send out an archived link to the event in the following E-News.


St. Joseph and the Overland Trails

“Jump-off” with us on Saturday, June 12, 2021 from10:30 AM CDT – 12 PM CDT as we learn more about St. Joseph and what this area was like during the days of the pioneers! Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Call 816-271-5499 to reserve your space today! Cost is the regular admission to the Remington Nature Center.


Newsletters From Our
Friends and Affiliates

Alcove Spring, Kansas
Kansas City Area Historic Trails Association


Topographical Engineer Interpretation Course at Bent’s Old Fort NHS
Living History Training
July 26-31, 2021 sy La Junta, Colorado

At our 2009 Loveland Convention, we had a topographical engineer as a guest speaker. Over the years, OCTA member Bruce Watson has queried him on a variety of topographical questions. They periodically hold a six day/ five night class at Bent’s Fort, teaching the technology available to West Point cadets during the period of 1838 to 1850. If you’re interested in learning how to attend these classes, please review the informational packet here and if you’re interested in attending, please download the application here.


OCTA Photo Contest!

OCTA needs your help with outreach on social media. Send us your favorite photos from visits on the trails with a caption of the places depicted. We’ll give you photo credit when we use your photos to accompany OCTA’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts. Your contribution will help OCTA grow its member base and promote awareness of our historic trails. You will also be included in a photo contest with prizes of free books, maps, and other OCTA goodies given out at OCTA’s national convention next September in Elko, Nevada. Winners will be selected based on how many interactions each post gets.

Email isobel.lingenfelter@gmail.com your photos with a caption of where each was taken and include your full name.

A tax break for retirees is back.
Here’s how to use it — and what to avoid

This tax break is a fringe benefit of getting old. It lets some in their 70s use a tax strategy that got canceled for 2020 because of COVID but is now back with us.

The qualified charitable distribution (QCD) allows individual retirement account holders to divert some of their federally taxable required distributions to charity. That lets the IRA holders make donations and reduce their federally taxable income — while still letting them take the standard deduction on their federal tax returns.

OCTA is still accepting donations for its year-end appeal, and a QCD might be a way to both help OCTA and your own bottom line. Some members are even donating a portion of their stimulus checks, so thank you to those who called this week and did so! Read more about QCDs at this article from the Washington Post and consult your tax adviser on how to properly utilize this benefit.


Order Fresh Coffee and Help
OCTA’s Bottom Line

OCTA member Richard Gibson reached out to us with a review of the coffee. He wrote:

“I wanted to say to the group and to the KC ROASTERS that I am thoroughly enjoying my OREGON TRAIL ROAST BLEND COFFEE. It is mellow but full of flavor and is easy to warm back up or drink when cold! Great Idea for whomever came up with this promotion for OCTA! THANKS. I still have another package unopened!”

OCTA Board Member Jean Coupal-Smith added:

“This is a wonderful brew! I love the rich, bold flavor, even though its medium roast and I usually drink dark roast. I rate it up there at the top with my favorite Starbucks blend of Cafe Verona. It is very smooth.”

We concur whole-heartedly with Richard and Jean, though this E-News editor is of the opinion that the Butterfield Bean Medium Roast is slightly better than the wonderful Oregon Trail Medium Roast Blend. We remain excited that KC Coffee Roasters created two specialty coffees with 10% of every purchase being donated to the Oregon-California Trails Association. They are currently featuring Oregon Trail and Butterfield Bean blends. Visit their website at https://www.kccoffeeroasters.com/order-online to order now.