Map making and desert crossings

Map making and desert crossings

Map making and desert crossings

ELKO — Create a pioneer map, learn how to square dance and learn how pioneers dealt with treacherous desert crossings at the California Trail Interpretive Center.   

The Trail Center is presenting a variety of family friendly programs throughout July. The following programs are free and open to everyone:

July 6, 10: a.m.: Rigging a Prairie Schooner: The Anatomy of a Wagon

The iconic covered wagon was an indispensable means of transport along the California Trail. Join Tim Burns and learn the parts and features of the common covered wagon, and appreciate why this humble wagon has become an enduring symbol of American history and the pioneer spirit.

July 7, 2 p.m.: Junior Ranger Program: Pioneer Clothes and Clothespin Dolls 

What did pioneer kids wear? Join Southern Nevada Conservancy Interpreter Jordan Thomas and learn about pioneer clothes. Following the talk, learn how to make clothespin dolls like pioneer kids. Create clothes for both boy and girl dolls with scraps of fabric and thread. Ages six and up.

July 13, 10 a.m.: Pioneer Square Dancing

Bring your dancing shoes to the California Trail Interpretive Center and learn how to square dance just like the pioneers did. Dave and Dixie Starbuck will be the instructors for the dance. No experience required. All ages and abilities are welcome to participate. 

July 14, 2 p.m.: Junior Ranger Program: Map Making: Filling in the Blanks 

To find their way to California, emigrants needed reliable maps. The first Euro-American explorers of the West, like the mountain men and John C. Fremont, made these maps. Join Interpreter Tim Burns and enjoy a map-making activity and game.

July 20, 10 a.m.:  Going for Broke: Gold Rushes throughout American History

The famous California Gold Rush of 1849 is one of many gold rushes that have occurred in the United States. From North Carolina to Alaska; hopeful prospectors traveled far and wide to strike it rich. Join expert Don Lemons as he shares a history full of gold, greed, fortune and failure.

July 21, 2 p.m.:  Junior Ranger Program:  Pioneer Art Walk

Join Volunteer Susanne Reese for a guided tour of the Trail Center. Kids will have the opportunity to dress up like pioneers, explore a wagon, build miniature log cabins, and learn about history through the Center’s beautiful, brilliant murals. Ages four and up.

July 24, 7 p.m.: Woman’s Voices from the Trails 

With readings taken from contemporary women’s diaries, journals, and reminiscences, this presentation by Doris Dwyer provides a fresh perspective on what life was like along the emigrant trails. These literary excerpts have been specially selected to shed new light on both the ordinary, everyday experiences that the women underwent, as well some extraordinary and exceptional happenings.

This program is produced through a partnership between the Trail Center and Nevada Humanities, and supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

July 27, 10 a.m.: A Bone at Every Step: Desert Crossings of the California Trail

Desert crossings were some of the most difficult sections of trail for the emigrants to traverse. Scorching temperatures and lack of water forced many to abandon their livestock, personal belongings, and even their wagons on the arid plains. Jordan Thomas will discuss how emigrants managed to cross the Forty Mile Desert, Black Rock Desert, and Utah Salt Flats on their journey to California. 

July 28, 2 p.m.:  Junior Ranger Program:  Serpents in the Sage: Snakes of the Great Basin

Join Southern Nevada Conservancy interpreter Becky Stanton and learn how snakes use adaptations to survive in the high desert. Jr. Rangers will have to chance to create their own snake and see how well it can blend in with its surroundings. Participants will walk on uneven ground in the brush. Closed toe footwear required. 

The California Trail Interpretive Center is located eight miles west of Elko on I-80, Hunter exit 292. The Center is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free.