Back in 1993, Linda Lochard decided she wanted to ride into town on a wagon to commemorate the then 100 year celebration of the Oregon Trail.
“I climbed in on the wagon and I never wanted to get off,” she said.
Lochard spent the next 3 years preparing to live life as a pioneer. “We did become pioneers, we did become settlers.”
She says her experience began in Winnemucca, Nevada and ended in Independence, Oregon.
Modern day objects and clothes were not allowed, as she wanted the experience be as authentic as possible.
“[Everyone] got a list of what they needed to have and things they could use and couldn’t use. Like they couldn’t use modern day sunglasses, they had to use something with a wire frame that looked older.”
Lochard says reality of life as pioneer set in quickly.
“We didn’t take baths everyday, we didn’t shower, you know, we didn’t have 3 squares a day… it was an apple handed to you or whatever. There were days you were sleeping on the hard ground and its cold outside and you can’t go anywhere. The wagons were 36 inches wide by about 8 feet long, that’s not much room to carry everything you have and plus, sleep in,” said Lochard.
She says the trip inspired her to share her story and she’s spent the last 2 decades writing the book.
“I decided I was gonna publish this book and see it done and it’s just something I’ve wanted to do since I finished the trip,” said Lochard.
The book is currently being published.
The western fiction Life Along the Applegate Trail will be available for purchase in March.
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology.
In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she’s not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.