What Were Their Lives Like on the Trail?
When Was the Best Time to Leave?
When the pioneers decided the time of year to leave on their journey, they needed to consider several things. They had to plan ahead. Some of the things they had to consider were possible bad weather along the trail, food for their livestock, and a supply of water.
How Far Would a Wagon Train Travel in One Day?
On many days the caravan would only travel ten to fifteen miles. On rainy and muddy days they might only travel one mile! It would take them five to seven days just to travel the distance we can drive a car in a single hour.
The people would have to get up very early each morning in order to prepare for their daily travels. It was usually dark on these mornings. They would have to start the fire, prepare breakfast, gather the livestock, reload the wagon, and hitch the oxen or mules before getting started.
What Did They Do Each Day On the Trail?
Each morning the pioneers would get up
before daylight and gather their livestock and cook
breakfast. Many times they would go ahead and prepare lunch
as well. After breakfast around 7:00 a.m. they hitched up
the oxen and started down the trail. Since the wagon was so
bumpy the pioneers who were not driving the wagon would walk
behind or next to it much of the time. They would stop at
lunchtime and rest for an hour or two. After a rest period
they would travel down the trail until about four or five
p.m. At night they would circle the wagons for
protection. The women would fix the dinner and the men
would prepare the livestock for the night. After supper
they would gather around the campfires and sing songs, dance,
tell stories and visit. Sometimes they slept inside the
wagon but they also slept under the wagon, in a tent, and
sometimes under the stars.
What Types of Chores Did Children Do?
Children had lots of chores that included milking their cows, fetching water from a stream or a river that was nearby, helping their parents cook food, washing dishes, collecting buffalo chips or wood for the fire, shaking out dusty blankets and quilts, and hanging beef jerky to dry in the sun.
Go to these pages to learn more about pioneer life on the trail:
|Cooking||First - Aid on theTrail|
|Fire Building||Pioneer Pastimes|
|Crossing the Rivers||Dangers on the Trail|
|Who were the Pioneers?|
|Why did they travel to the frontier?|
|Where did the pioneers travel to?|
|What are some of the trails they used?|
|What did they take with them?|
|How did they travel?|
|What were their wagons like?|
|What was a Wagon Train?|
|Who led the Wagon Train?|
|What did they do after reaching their new homes?|
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