June 7, 1997
Location: Guernsey, Wyoming - Location: 42:16:11N 104:44:28W Elevation: 4361 feet
Summary: Beautiful scenery.
Journal entry: Today we traveled 13 miles. It was a beautiful day. By the end of the day there were small plateaus. They were gray and tan rock. There was a grassy field in the middle of all the plateaus. We traveled down the trail in the middle. It felt like we were heading into more familiar territory. We have missed the mountains so much. The flat country has its own special beauty, but we have all been homesick for our snowcapped peaks. Plateaus just give us little more of feeling that we are home.
In the distance we can see a peak in the Rocky Mountains. We are excited to reach that point, yet apprehensive. We know it will be tough. We have now been going on rougher country. We have been climbing in altitude. The horses and walkers are working hard. We are adjusting to the thinning air. Some of us are used to it because we've gown up with it, but some of the horses and people are not. Some horses and people are breathing harder. It takes more energy to do everything for those who are not used to the thinner air.
The people who are going the whole way have become a funny group, (not that we weren't before, but oh well). There are several ways to tell if someone has been on the whole way. The first is the extremely tan face and arms. The second is how the hair looks. The meals are the next best time to catch us at our funniest or worst. Everyday we have floaties in our drinks. The difference is the full-timers do not care anymore. You tell a greenie by the comments they make, which are "Eww, there is a floaty in my drink!!!!" as they toss a good drink in the grass. All the way people will make comments like, "Oh look another bug has drown in my water." As they either leave the bug in their drink and comment about more protein or pick it out with our extremely dirty hands and continue to drink. Another way to tell is when the greenies start to play with their food, the full-timers will notice what they are doing. We will ask that person, whether or not we know that person, if they are going to eat it. If they say no, we ask "Can I have it?" Four weeks ago we only used to do this to the people sitting directly next to us. Now, it doesn't matter if they are 20-40 feet away from us. We will ask anyway. Another way is if a greenie drops something on the ground they will not eat it. It doesn't matter to us anymore. We will eat it anyway as long as it didn't land in horse manure or it is sticky and has an extreme amount of dirt on it. Everything we eat has dirt on it. We call it prairie pepper. We never need to season our food. The wind and land has already seen to it that it has already been done.
Fort Laramie was a really awesome place to stay. The Fort was incredible. Right above our camp were two old buildings that reminded me of Greece. The looked like ancient ruins. One was an old hospital building 1888. It was fun when we walked by because there was one small part that still had it's roof. When we walked by a ton of pigeons flew out of the building. It startled us. Amy and Cyndi screamed. I didn't know they were bats or what until I looked. The other old ruin was the higher ranking married quarters. It was fun to try and imagine what life would have been like for them. We continued to explore. We went into an extremely large building and climbed one fight of stairs. In the top of this building was the barracks for the soldiers. It was like looking at the barracks, in real life, in the movie North and South. It was the Union barracks. There was a bed were allowed to try and see what it would have been like. It wasn't so bad. In fact it was actually comfortable. Maybe that was just because I've been sleeping on the floor, then again maybe not. Needless to say that was one of my favorite exhibits.
There were two houses that were for the extremely high ranking officers. They were incredibly nice. The contrast was very plain to us. The barracks had around 40-50 people sleeping in one big room. The soldiers did not have much room for personal belongings or for themselves for that matter. There was no privacy in the barracks. The higher officers had two story houses with expensive beautiful things inside. The beds were hand carved and stained. There were hides on the floors and beds. Some of the hides were even rare- at least at that time, from Africa.
One of my favorite places to visit at Fort Laramie was the camp set up right next to the Platte. It was a small A-frame tent with an almost set up teepee There were parcels wrapped up in the authentic way. It had a fire pit outside the camp. It was a pretty camp. The sun shinning through the trees, as the birds chirped. The sun glittered on the Platte as it gurgled by. What a place to meditate!!!