June 3, 1997
Location: Henry, Nebraska - Location: 41:59:55N 104:02:49W
Summary: Mitchell to Henry -- Sunshine, Prayer Circle Bluffs, and the changing of the Wagon masters.
Journal entry: The sun dried up the rain really fast. Apparently, there were flash flood warnings last night, and a stretch of the railroad was washed out too. They announced late last night that we would not travel today due to the rough road conditions. This morning, though, they changed their minds and decided to go for it. We stayed on the highway all day and finished our 14 mile trek by 2 PM.
We stopped after lunch on top of some bluffs overlooking the North Platte river. President Hill told us about how the vanguard company with Brigham Young stopped here to pray. They had been rebuked earlier by Brigham for being too light-minded, and they some of them climbed up for a prayer circle to ask for forgiveness. We listened to this bit of history and then sang, "The Spirit of God."
Tonight there was a ceremony by the wagons to mark our passage from Nebraska to Wyoming. The governors from both states were there, as well as Elder Pinnock from the LDS church. They made brief "politician" remarks and then we sang, "Come, Come, Ye Saints." Our new wagon master will be Ben Kearn. He has a snow white beard and wears a greyish hat.
The town of Henry is small. Very small. There is an antique shop, a post office, and a gas station. And there is a field where the wagons circled up. The handcarts and "tent city" are in the city park, a block away.
As I walked through the maze of tents, I was reminded of the children of Israel camped in the wilderness. There is a constant commotion of people erecting tents, cooking and eating on the grass, babies crying, and children running around. Some people are doctoring their blisters, others are disciplining their children. Privacy is not very available, so I can hear about 4 or 5 conversations simultaneously as I sit in my tent. There is a squeaky swing set and slide in the park, and kids are busy playing and yelling. Sometimes I think to myself, "If only those kids understood that they will be waking up at 4:30 and walking 15 miles tomorrow, they might save some of their energy."
Tomorrow we cross the border into Wyoming. Our trek will become increasingly more rugged as we approach the Rocky mountains. The mosquitoes and daily temperatures are also increasing. We are halfway through our journey, but the most difficult part still remains. Because towns will be few and far between, and we won't be able to buy groceries, do laundry, or get animal feed and water as easily.