Colonel Ezekiel Moreland

This is the second installment in the Wilderness Lodge Saga

Last time we took the “turn toward adventure together”…today we continue our journey.
If you missed the first installment you can find it here





The Back-story of The Wilderness

The Imagineers created an elaborate back-story of the Lodge. Sadly, many have never heard or are familiar with the story.

The first time I remember hearing about it was finding it written in an old newspaper. I read the paper on a visit to the Wilderness Lodge years ago.

A newspaper you ask? Well, let me explain.

If you were an early guest to the resort you had the chance to read it for yourself.

They gave out a commemorative newspaper , The Silver Creek Star Vol. B, No. 28,928.
Now if you have ever stayed at a WDW resort you know you always get, upon check-in, a packet that tells you about guest services and other info you need for your stay. This was where all of that information was shared…but easily missed…but an essential item in this edition of the paper was the Imagineers back-story telling the history of the Wilderness Lodge.

So, just in case you missed or lost your edition of the Silver Creek Star, settle in and get ready to hear the story of the Wilderness Lodge.

Hello, Colonel Ezekiel Moreland

The Colonel is the mover and shaker behind the history of the Lodge.
This creation of the Imagineers became the focal figure in creating the mythology about the creation of the resort. According to the story…

It was he who discovered a magnificent beautiful valley in America’s Northwest in the early 1800s. In a letter he wrote to his daughter, he described it like this: “a tranquil valley along the shores of a splendid lake…a cathedral of trees that touch the sky, a stream that glitters with radiant light, rocks and minerals of every color and description…I call this sweet valley—Silver Creek Springs.”

Later, he would return to make this Silver Creek Springs area his new home along with his daughter Genevieve (who was a young art curator that most called “Jenny”) and her traveling companion, a young Austrian artist, Frederich Alonzo Gustaf, who came with a desire to paint this new frontier that so many had been telling stories about. (Both of these characters play a strong role in the back story of the lodge as well)

A Chapter Closes and a New Chapter Begins

Before we get to far ahead of ourselves, let take a moment and meet the Colonel.
He was a veteran of the War of 1812 according to the legend.

The Colonel’s story begins finding him widowed and inspired by the accounts of Lewis and Clark, the retired colonel mounted a westbound expedition in 1823 starting from the Missouri River. On a quest for adventure, discovery, and perhaps wealth and a new beginning…it didn’t take long for an adventure to find him.

His party of adventurers quickly met with disaster.

As they traveled they felt the ground began to rumble.

A  puff of dust in the distance began making its way toward them.

The noise from within the cloud drew closer and closer.
It was then too late and they faced a stampede of more than 10,000 buffalo. The buffalo trampled, rumbled past, and destroyed nearly all their provisions just 80 miles from their starting point. The men limped back in retreat to St. Louis, and all but Moreland gave up on the expedition. In a letter to daughter Genevieve he wrote:

“I take to the wilderness alone. The good earth will provide me with everything I need to survive. I have my gun. I have my courage and I have my determination. What need I of anything else, especially of cowardly scoundrels who turn ashen in the face of the smallest adversity.”

It was during his explorations, he stumbled across a wilderness paradise that captured his imagination and heart. Amassing a large collection of beaver pelts and valuable furs he acquired on his travels, he emerged from the frontier two years later a very wealthy man.

Time To Turn The Page

Even in the back story of The Wilderness Lodge and it’s founder Colonel Ezekiel Moreland we find something that connects to each of our lives. If you go back and reread the history we find the Colonel widowed, fascinated by the exploits of explorers, recently retired from the military, and facing the next chapter of his life.

The next chapter in the story involves him moving off in search of adventure, in search of something new, and not willing to sit and do nothing. Sometimes life can be very, very real. We lose people we love, we face unforeseen circumstances (think herd of buffalo) that come trampling through our lives, and we face moments were we need to find a new direction for us to go in.

You have two options at that moment…you can sit and gripe about what is not right with your life…or…you can decide to turn the page and find out what is in the next chapter of the book of your life.

Perhaps even in this back story of The Wilderness Lodge we can remember there is always something new to discover, some new adventure waiting for us, and something else that we are supposed to do. Don’t sit around and do nothing…you might find something beyond your wildest dreams. But you will never find it if you quit looking.

The Colonel pressed on…even when those around him quit, gave up, and left.

You can give in…you can give out…but you cant ever give up!

As you face a new day, decide that it is a new opportunity for you turn the page…don’t be afraid, lean into it…the adventure awaits.

(This is installment two in a series on the Saga Of The Wilderness Lodge)