About this Adventure

There are hundreds of diaries recounting the Gold Rush and adventures along the Oregon Trail. But only 60 or so diaries exist that tell the tales from the southern route to California. The William P. Huff diary is the most comprehensive diary of this route. In it, Huff reflects on the trials of the travelers. He observes the geology of the land, making drawings of significant landmarks. He tells stories from his friends, like Jim Bowie, Steven F. Austin and William Travis. We learn more about the battle of San Jacinto. His diaries contain a rich and sometimes untold history, yet the question emerges: Is this diary real?

Thirteen California students, mostly sixth-graders under the guidance of teacher Bill Coate, went on the trail to test Huff's diary. Texas students joined them along the way. Several of Huff's descendents accompanied the group. Can they corroborate his observations? And what will the children learn about being on a real-life wagon train? Would YOU be tough enough to be on a month-long wagon train across Texas??

Each evening the students added to their personal journals and created a daily update for the web. And the end of the journey, the students will publish a bound book about their experiences and William Huff.


This educational project is a partnership venture of Madera Unified School District, Madera, California; the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; the Texas Historical Commission; and the many generous and gracious communities along the route.

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