The Oregon Trail, a 2,000-mile trek from Independence
, MO to the Pacific Northwest, was the longest of the great overland routes used in America's westward expansion. The physical strength and endurance required to survive this six month journey by covered wagon was a severe test.
The Oregon Trail was a series of hops between rest stops at supply points along the way.
The geographical hops were complicated by numerous obstacles. At times flooded rivers had to be crossed (by covered wagons) at fords where whirlpools formed. Indians attacked the wagon trains, often at inconvenient times, and in poorly defensible locations. Inclement weather and poor roads were hard on the wagons, and on those who had to repair them as well as those who had to ride in them. Food, water and wood were generally scarce at the best of times, and water holes along the way were frequently contaminated.
Actual ruts left by the wagon trains can still be seen.