I looked around for pictures of the Oregon Trail in Missouri, starting at Independence. I could find nothing that showed anything about that short part of the trail.
We are starting in Kansas.
The Missouri part of the trail was sixteen miles.
The distance the travelers went was about one to two miles an hour and around one hundred miles a week.
I read a lot of times that Kansas was the easiest part of the trail. It has gentile slopes. Well, that may be true now, but a wagon that weighed about one thousand pounds was no picnic getting up or down the hills. Also, the company of travelers were new to each other, new to their wagons, the animals and new to the trail. And new to the sounds of the hens in the coop inside of the wagons complaining every time they hit a bump. The trail was very bumpy.
It was all new and they were going into the unknown. Some of them would never see their relatives again.
One aspect that is important, is that the travelers didn’t bathe or wash clothes too often. There were also the hens in the coops in the wagons, the oxen, mules and horses. The cows followed the wagons. It was a smelly trip.
Let’s say that the travelers got to the Kansas border the first day. The distance of the Oregon Trail was 165 miles.
The Maps. Most of the pictures are from Wikipedia Commons. I will label those that aren’t.
The travelers would get up at about four in the morning. They would start moving at seven. Lunch was at noon and back on the trail at one. They stopped for the day at five.
Depending on the start date, the early mornings could be frosty.
This is an example of the bonnets women wore to protect their faces from the sun. From 1909 by, Percy Wenrich and Stanley Murphey.
A map of the rivers in Kansas.
This is a picture of the Kansas River by, US Geological Survey, USGS.
They had to ford rivers where there was no other way to get across. The scouts would find the best place to cross. The banks couldn’t be too steep. The good wagons were built to float when the water got high enough.
Here is a picture of cowboys fording a river. The word fording means crossing without a boat of some kind. The picture is by National Park Service.
The trail followed rivers as much as possible. They needed the water and lush grasses to feed the animals.
The two other rivers of note were the Big Blue and Little Blue Rivers. They went close to the Little Blue. This is the river they followed when they entered Nebraska.
Here is a picture of the Big Blue River. It is from the Gutenberg Organization.
I had a hard time figuring out where in Kansas the trail went. I only have a general idea.
They followed south of the Waukerusa River. This was also used for the Santa Fe Trail.
This is a picture of the Waukerusa Valley, south of Lawrence by, Alexander Gardener, Boston Public Library.
After crossing the Kansas River near Topeka by ferry, the next spot that was appreciated by the travels was Alcove Spring. The travelers named it that because it was a lovely sheltered place to camp.
Here is a modern road map showing where Alcove Spring is located. I drew the circle on the map. It is by National Park Service.