July 5, 1997
Location: Simpson's Hollow, Wyoming
Summary: Simpson's Hollow to Green River Crossing -- A day with the Prophet in the blistering sun
Journal entry: The handcarts pulled out of camp at 6 AM in an attempt to beat some of the afternoon heat. We walked through Simpson's Hollow and along the old Mormon Trail for about 9 miles until 9 AM. Leaving the handcarts there, we took the bus back to Simpson's Hollow to get ready for the dedication of the monument.
(Simpson's Hollow is a sagebrush-filled ravine that received its name after the October 1857 wagon-burning incident. Brigham Young sent a group of men out to Wyoming to try to delay Johnson's Army as they marched towards Utah. They were sent by President Buchannan, who had recieved false reports of a "Mormon Uprising." The group of men, including my great-great-great grandfather, Lot Smith, met the train of supply wagons owned by an independent contractor. Carrying a cocked gun, Lot rode right up to the wagon master, looked him in the eye, and told him to quickly salvage any supplies they might need to survive the winter before his men torched the rest of the wagons. This was promptly done, and the wagons were set on fire. Brigham Young had told the men to shed no blood, and they came back to Utah without firing any shots. The army was forced to stay at Fort Bridger (which the church had previously bought and also burned) and survive the miserable winter there.)
We waited around for about 2 hours in the hot sun until President Hinkley arrived. The only shade came from hats, umberellas, and an awning for the podium. Under the awning sat a few BLM officials, a Wyoming congresswoman, a historian named Dr. Kimball, President Hinkley and his son Clark, President Hill from the wagon train, local church leaders, and Elder Ballard. The BLM, expecting as many as 30,000 people, had set up a first aid station and restroom facilities. The first part of the meeting was rather unenventful, but after a few BLM presentations, the primary chorus sang.
Then President Hinkley spoke. He honored the various government agencies for helping to make the event possible, and the wagon train for their efforts to reenact the original trek. It was wonderful to have a prophet in our midst. We were sitting with the choir right behind the stand, but I felt bad for the wagons. They were up on the hill, and couldn't hear anything. Elder Ballard was also on the stand. Although it was very hot, everyone I talked to was happy to be there. [We believe] that president Hinkley is a prophet of God.
We are now right by the Green river. The mosquitoes are horrendous. I think they are about as bad as they were in Jeffery City. The horses are constantly swishing their tails, shaking, and rolling in the dirt to try and get them off. It will be a blessing to leave the river area.
Hi. This is Amy. The poor horses will be tired when we get out of here from stomping and swatting all night. I think it is better to be here in the Clark's van with a few mosquitos than out there with thousands. Mercy!