Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Margaret Clark Journals

June 27, 1997

Location: Pacific Springs, Wyoming

Summary: Claudia's experience on the wagon train.

Journal entry: Claudia writes:

Yahoo!! Today was the best!

We arose at 4:30 a.m. to the clank of 2! cowbells. The night before, we started lunch, breakfast, and layed out our clothing so we could meet the 6 a.m. starting time.

We were told it would be a 22.3 mile trek over two track road, sometimes sandy and some rock with rolling hills and only one big hill at the beginning. What an understatement. Yes, we had a steep hill in the first few miles. We made 4.3 miles in one hour 15 minutes.

The handcart company walks very fast. A man carrying the American flag leads the way. Sometimes Stewart Glazier (our CES historian) walks with him. We had no media or other vehicles with us. Hurray!

The wagon train was behind us, and sometimes not around at all today. So, we had that genuine, almost pristine, experience of walking in expansive, quiet Wyoming in the dust and the heat just like the real pioneers. It was what we were all longing for... what we all wanted all along. Our expectations were realized.

And it was very very hot until the wind picked up about 9:30 or 10:00. It helped a little. The trail today was long. We curved up toward South Pass over gentle rolling hills. The way was either very rocky (it reminded me of Rocky Ridge) or sandy.

The sand is a challenge to push through and the hand cart people were getting very tired in the afternoon. One sister had to sit down beside the trail as she could walk no longer. We all felt bad for her. The water truck picked her up. Most of us kept pushing really hard, and faster than we wanted with blisters and sore legs, feet, and joints.

Finally, to get up to camp where the wagons were already circled, we had to climb another big hill. But on both sides of the trail, on that hill, were people cheering us on and applauding. Some young people even came down the hill and helped us push the carts up. They made the pull much easier, and I couldn't help but think of when the angels helped the ailing Saints push the original carts. These folks made us feel really good, and we were happy to be appreciated and to have reached the end of the trail for that day.

By the time we waited for the shuttle to deliver us back to our cars at the previous campsite, and fixed dinner and set up camp (in gale force winds), it was late. We were very tired and a bit grumpy.

It's a beautiful view up here on the South Pass Overlook. Tonight we are even more appreciative of the efforts and sacrifices our ancestors made.

Claudia Slater Vinton is on the wagon train for one week with some family and friends. They built their own handcart in Littleton Colorado where they live. All of Claudia's 5th generation ancestors were Mormon pioneers so she is here to honor them.