Mile 1: Kansas

“Landing in Bleeding Kansas—she still bleeds—we fell at once into ‘Emigration Road,’ a great thoroughfare, broad and well worn as a European turnpike or a roman military route, and undoubtedly the best and the longest natural highway in the world.

“For five miles the line bisected a bottom formed by a bend in the river, with about a mile’s diameter at the neck. The scene was of a luxuriant vegetation. A deep tangled wood rather a thicket or a jungle than a forest of oaks and elms., hickory, basswood, and black walnut, poplar and hackberry (Celtis crassifolia) box elder, and the common willow (Salix longifolia), clad and festooned, bound and anchored by wild vines, creepers, and huge llianas, and sheltering an undergrowth of white alder and red sumach, whose pyramidal flowers were about to fall, rested upon a basis of deep black mire, strongly suggestive of chills fever and ague. After an hour of burning sun and sickly damp, the effects of the late storms, we emerged from the waste of vegetation, passed through a straggling ‘neck o’ the woods,’ whose yellow inmates reminded me of Mississippian descriptions in the days gone by, and after spanning some very rough ground we bade adieu to the valley of the Missouri, and emerged upon the region of the Grand Prairie which we will pronounce ‘perrairey.'”