To reach Sapling Grove in Kansas Territory we had to travel down the Missouri River some fifty miles [from Weston in Platte County] and then cross at the place known as Independence Landing. Then to go west about ten miles to the Missouri line and across into Indian Territory. On reaching Sapling Grove no one was there but we saw fresh wagon tracks and followed them to the Kansas River. They belonged to parties who had come, some from Arkansas, and some from different parts of Missouri to cross the plains.
The plan was to meet at Sapling Grove on May 9th. Sapling Grove was a popular camp site on the the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails, just west of the Missouri border. It had an excellent spring and plenty of wood, grass, and water, all necessities for travelers. It was only three miles or so from the Kansas River.
Back in the winter, John Bidwell had journeyed around Missouri drumming up interest in the venture to California. He had even corresponded with interested parties in other states. But when it came time to leave, he was discouraged to see that most people where he lived were dropping out. Still, he stuck to his plans and found when he got to the rendezvous that there were other pioneers ready to go after all.