The Pioneer Falls

Extending upstream from where you stand is Inspiration Point and the monuments to the so-called Christian Pioneers. Funded and dedicated by an ecumenical collection of local churches, the monument was meant to inform visitors at Expo 74 of the contributions of the earliest Christian residents of the Inland Northwest. But, like many monuments to the pioneers, the plaques try to squeeze whole, completed lives into a few sentences.

The journeys of the early Protestant missionaries over the Rockies predated cameras, so when you look at Cushing and Myra Eells of Tshimkain, they appear perpetually old. But, when they crossed the American continent, they were young adults who kept diaries and notes of their journeys. Soon after their departure for the Northwest, Myra began to note and comments on the presence of Indians. In late April and early May, she marvels at the Indians coming to see them cross rivers. Writing tersely on May 1, "Meet Indians at every encampment." Despite meeting Indians to share her religion being her purpose, their appearance seemed to pique her curiosity even until the end of the crossing.

By contrast, Mary Walker dwelt on the natural world frequently and even interpreted it in a fanciful light. Passing through the country around Chimney Rock at the end of May, she writes, "Scenery beautiful. The bluffs resemble temples, castles, forts, &c. As if nature tired of waiting the advances of civilization had erected her own temples &c." Thus, she hopes that the natural world anticipates her own work.

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