Accidents, exhaustion and
The weather was also a possible danger. Pioneers ran into rainstorms, dust storms, snow storms, hail, drought, and tornadoes. Unlike today, they did dot have any warnings. And unlike today there was no place to seek shelter. Dry weather and lack of water was bad for the pioneers, their animals and their wagons. Lack of fresh water could mean dying of thirst for humans and animals. Extended dry weather could cause the wagon wheels to shrink and they could loose their metal "tires". Flash floods could
Indians were not a big threat on the trails despite common belief. In fact, they were often helpful. They showed many travelers short cuts and often helped them by trading for
The terrain along the trails could be flat and somewhat easy going but they could be treacherous as well. Rivers and creeks posed a drowning danger. Muddy trails could be impossible to pass. Going down a hill could be as hard as going up. The speed of the wagon going down hill could be very difficult to control.
Usually plains are easy to cross. But the plains of Nebraska were like traveling through a maze because the grass was so high.
It is true that disease, accidents and supply shortages were real dangers on the trail. The biggest danger was reaching and crossing the mountains before winter began.
The picture below is a painting of the ill fated and infamous "Donner Party" getting stuck in the snow in the Sierra Neveda Mountains.
Many emigrants drowned while they attempted to cross rivers. At times some travelers used ropes to pull wagons across a river, one wagon at a time. Sometimes ferries were available and they would pay a ferryman to load their wagons and take them across.
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The Team at Educator Pages