A Major Challenge
Soaring Temperatures In The Santa Fe Trail
William Becknell discovered the Santa Fe Trail from Missouri to New Mexico. Here he made large profits from New Mexicans willing to purchase new merchandise. Payments of gold and silver made many others want to go to New Mexico to become rich. This spring many made the trip West only to encounter difficult weather. Temperatures reached a scorching 120 degrees F in the desert. With the water supply running low, little Mary Logan said "My throat felt like sand paper, and I would do anything just to get a drink of water." Desperate in need for water, the travelers killed their animals to drink the blood until they found a stream. Once they reached Santa Fe the temperatures subsided to 80 degrees F, this first experience should make the journey a little easier for the next group.
Lightning Strikes The Oregon Trail
The Oregon Trail started in Missouri and ended in Oregon. It has been has been known to be a dangerous trail for those who dare to brave the weather and its fierce lightning storms. The first people to go on the trail were Marcus and Narcissa Whiteman in 1836 in an attempt to convert Native Americans. They were only able to convert a few but their discovery of Oregon's rich land and sunny weather made people want to travel there. In 1843, 1,000 people began this 2,000 mile journey. They travelled in wagon trains because of the dangerous trail. Thunder storms would make this journey difficult. Roads became very muddy, which made it hard for wagons to move through. There was no place for the travelers to take cover during dangerous lightning storms. Lives were lost not only due to the weather but also to other hardships. Illness such as "camp fever" killed many people, children lost parents and parents lost their children. Although they faced difficult challenges, many of the travelers made it to Oregon safely.
Religion Trek Takes The Mormon Trail
Most pioneers ventured west to find riches and wealth, but one group made the journey for religious reasons. In 1844, Mormon founder, Joseph Smith was murdered by enemies in Illinois. Brigham Young, the next leader, decided to move his people out of the United States, toward Utah . In 1847, the Mormons followed part of the Oregon Trail to Utah. Over 1,600 people made the journey, only to come across difficult weather. Traveling during the winter was extremely harsh with bitter cold for the travelers. Flooded rivers delayed the travelers for a few days until the water levels went down. Weather conditions really started to hit them hard in Iowa. Weather in Salt Lake City was much milder and was huge relief for the travelers. They settled near Great Salt Lake and worked together to build dams and canals, to provide water for their new farms. Through their faith and hard work, they turned a part of the desert into an oasis.