Oregon Trail in 1839

“Each spring [after 1836] an increasing number of small emigrant wagon trains plodded westward from Independence, over the route which had become known as the Oregon Trail. As each train passed, the roughest stretches along the trail were improved; chutes cut into gulch banks, boulders rolled aside, wider openings slashed slashed through woods and thickets, and the roadway along steep hillsides leveled enough so that wagons would not tip over. By 1839, a very passable wagon route exrended from Independence to the present site of Portland.”