April 26, 1997
Location: Columbus, Nebraska - Location: 41:25:47N 97:22:05W Elevation: 1441 feet
Summary: Schyler [pronounced sky-ler] to Columbus.
Journal entry: Remember Joseph? He is the head of the walkers and he hurt his leg a few days ago. He is much better now. He is back as captain of the walkers, keeping us back, shouting orders, grinning grins. He is a little less enthusiastic. He uses a walking stick. His leg still hurts. Joseph has a great pioneer look. Besides having the pioneer clothes and hat, he has spent the last two years growing out his hair. It is way past his shoulders and is straight and a brownish color. He is 25 years old, attends the University of Utah and for his major is interested in church history (the Mormon Church). I asked him why he let his hair grow. He said his grandfather was a Mormon pioneer and always had long hair. It truly is beautiful hair. His plan is to cut it after the trek is over.
Joseph was very much needed today. We had close to 500 walkers and handcart people. There were 100 Scouts from the Columbus area. There were also 250 youth from the Salina, Kansas Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have also had about 50 Young Adults from the Lincoln NE area of the church. Then we have our regular walkers and handcart pullers. It was a healthy sized group.
Today was Schyler to Columbus. The road was flat, a little dusty, and mostly dirt. We had a few sprinkles of rain to cool us. At lunch break I met Dave and Gina Sheehey with sons Joseph and Benjamin. They are driving between Omaha and California and just stopped to visit with the trek. Dave noticed my sandals and made my day. He told me that he and Gina walked across America in the 1986 March Across America for Nuclear Disarmament and he wore sandals the whole way. With sandals today my feet aren't quite so sore.
There are still no leaves on the trees. Will Spring ever come? Columbus greeted us with hundreds and people and hundreds of American flags. Each flag was held by a person. The smiles and greetings were again wonderful. I met a soulmate. We looked at each other and were friends. Within an hour I had met her parents, brothers and sister, nephews and children. We talked and laughed and visited and I felt as at home with them as I do with my own family. They are just wonderful Nebraska farm folk. Shirley, I don't even know your last name.
It is becoming quite easy anymore to spot the walkers and handcart pullers who are here for the long haul. Besides the easy-to-identify limp, we have the feed-me-I'm-ravenous look. It is not the thank-you-one-bowl-is-enough comment, but the yes! I'll take a fourth serving!! We can be identified in large crowds.
I was asked today by a local if we had seen any actual wagon ruts yet. She said that one of the farmers here has a set of the original ruts crossing his land. She thought he should enclose it in a building to preserve it. HappyNetTrekking!