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On May 16, 1842, a group of more than 100 pioneers left Elm Grove, Missouri, on the 3,500-kilometer (2,200-mile) Oregon Trail. 
 
The Oregon Trail stretched from the banks of the Missouri River to western Oregon. The route crossed through the states of Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon. 
 
Pioneers packed up all they could in covered wagons, as well as pack animals such as horses, donkeys and oxen. Travelers had to be prepared to cross flat plains, steep mountains, and dry deserts before reaching the fertile valleys of Oregon.
 
The wagon train that left Missouri in May 1842 arrived in Oregon in September. The next year, more than 1,000 pioneers left Missouri for Oregon! By the time people stopped using the Oregon Trail in 1869, more than 400,000 people had used it to move west.
bank
Noun

a slope of land adjoining a body of water, or a large elevated area of the sea floor.

crucial
Adjective

very important.

decade
Noun

10 years.

depart
Verb

to leave.

Noun

area of land that receives no more than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of precipitation a year.

destination
Noun

place where a person or thing is going.

disease
Noun

harmful condition of a body part or organ.

embark
Verb

to leave or set off on a journey.

establish
Verb

to form or officially organize.

fertile
Adjective

able to produce crops or sustain agriculture.

fur
Noun

thick hair covering the skin of an animal.

Great Basin
Noun

enormous watershed region in the western United States with no drainage to the ocean, including most of the state of Nevada, and surrounding areas in California, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah.

hostile
Adjective

confrontational or unfriendly.

Noun

the geographic features of a region.

migrate
Verb

to move from one place or activity to another.

military
Noun

armed forces.

obsolete
Adjective

useless or outdated.

pack animal
Noun

domesticated animal used by humans for transporting goods.

pioneer
Noun

person who is among the first to do something.

Noun

flat, smooth area at a low elevation.

route
Noun

path or way.

tracker
Noun

person or animal that follows the traces (tracks) of another person or animal.

transcontinental railroad
Noun

railroad that spans an entire continent.

valley
Noun

depression in the Earth between hills.

wagon train
Noun

group of pioneers traveling in covered wagons, often those emigrating to the American West in the 1800s.

Noun

state of the atmosphere, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloudiness.

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