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CANTINA: Pockets on the four corners of the mochila where mail was carried.

CONTINENTAL DIVIDE: High area where the rainfall and snowmelt are divided.  On one side of the Continental Divide, water flows to the east and on the other side water flows to the west. The Pony Express rider crossed two Continental Divides – one in the Rocky Mountains and one in the Sierra Nevada.

DESERT: Area of very little rainfall.  Not many plants can grow in a desert.

EXPRESS: Quick delivery of mail or messages with many stops along the way.

FORT: Place occupied by soldiers who protected the settlers.  The Pony Express had stations at some of the forts.

HOME STATION: Pony Express station where a new rider took over.  Home stations were usually 80 to 100 miles apart.

INDIANS: Natives who lived in the land crossed by the Pony Express Trail.

LETTER: Message addressed to a person or organization.

MOCHILA: Leather piece placed over the saddle.  It had four corner pockets to put mail in.  The mochila was traded from horse to horse all across the trail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California.

MORMON: Religious person from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  As a large group they moved to and settled in the Salt Lake Valley in the 1840s.  Some Pony Express Riders in Utah and Nevada were young Mormon men.

PLAINS: Large area of treeless small hills.  Short, brushy plants such as sagebrush grow on the Plains.

PRAIRIE: Large open area of grassland.

RELAY STATION: Pony Express station where the rider got a fresh horse.  Relay stations were approximately 10 miles apart all across the Pony Express Trail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California.

RUTS: Sharply cut track in the ground made by wagon wheels.  Over ½ million people traveled west by wagon train just before and during the time of the Pony Express.  The trail they left could be clearly seen.

SIERRA NEVADA: Mountain range in the Western United States.  The Pony Express riders crossed the Sierra Nevada on the Nevada-California border. 

SWALE: Sunken area which is left after the ruts have been worn down by weather over time.

TELEGRAM: Message sent by telegraph to the end of the wire and then carried the rest of the way by Pony Express.

TELEGRAPH: Machine used to send messages over an electrical wire by tapping out the message in code.

TERMINUS: Location for the beginning or ending of the Pony Express Trail.  Sacramento, California was the terminus in the west and St. Joseph, Missouri was the terminus in the east.

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