“That section of the Oregon-California Trail commonly known in emigrant days as the Independence Road was first used by trading expeditions out of the Kansas City area in the 1830s. . . While trees are plentiful today, they were scarce in 1849 as the result of frequent prairie fires. The lack of wood and the numerous stream crossings were the biggest problems faced by the emigrants. . . .
The prairie road itself, ever winding to take advantage of contours, led Richard Hickman to explain, “A more crooked road never marked this green footstool.”