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The Oregon Trail, Fort Kearny to Fort Bridger

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Right off, I want to explain that I chose the title for this post based on what I believe most people think of in regard to westward expansion. From Fort Kearny in Nebraska to Fort Bridger in Wyoming, this was also the California Trail, the Mormon Trail and, briefly, the Pony Express Route. Altogether, over half a million emigrants followed this route, mostly on foot, their belongings carried in ox or mule drawn wagons, or in handcarts. Even though  a minority of them actually arrived in the Willamette Valley, the name Oregon Trail has been used so extensively it has come to represent "the way west" in the popular imagination.

I arrived in Fort Kearny on July 7, a bit tardy if I had been coming from Independence, MO or Council Bluffs, IA but I had the advantage that I could travel farther in an hour than the emigrants could in a day. The fort was built to aid emigrants and all the trails from the east joined at this location.

I was disappointed in Fort Kearny as a historic …