July 16, 1997
Location: Henefer, Utah - Twenty miles from "This is the Place' State Park.
Summary: Castle Rock to Henefer -- coasting through Echo Canyon
Journal entry: Today has been a long day. We went 24 miles down Echo Canyon and then along the Weber river to the town of Henefer. Most of it was on hot asphalt in the hot summer sun.
Echo Canyon is beautiful. There are reddish rock cliffs that rise up above us on the north side. The south side of the canyon is more hilly. We walked on an old road that used to be the main highway through the canyon. Now, I-80 runs just across the railroad from us, and even with about 200 yards between us, people pull off the highway and stop to wave and take pictures. Truckers honk the horns on their rigs too, as they go by. Of course, we egg them on by doing that fake "tugging" thing when they come by.
At lunch, Amy was getting weary from the pace, and I was not interested in sitting around in the shadeless lunch area, so the two of us filled up our water bottle and began walking up the road. We met a bonnet-clad woman from Italy who couldn't speak English. Eventually, through broken English, Spanish, and sign language, we figured out that she was trying to meet up with the wagons, which were still 2 or 3 miles behind us. We helped her find a ride back and then we kept walking down the canyon.
The day kept getting hotter, especially on asphalt, and when we reached the very small town of Echo, I jumped into the irrigation ditch. It felt nice. Amy took off her apron and got it wet too. We talked to a few of the people lining the road, waiting for the wagons and handcarts to come by. In fact, we talked for almost a half hour, and the handcarts still hadn't appeared. So we left, continuing down the road to Henefer.
Even though we walked our own meandering pace, the handcarts never caught up. The gravel road we were on was sandwiched between the interstate highway and the rolling Weber River. Just as on I-80, many people on I-84 pulled over and shouted encouragement, honked, or waved. After a few breaks,we finally saw the handcart company approaching. They had been delayed for almost an hour near Echo, waiting for a support vehicle. We waited for them to catch up to us before the grand entrance into Henefer.
The whole town of Henefer was waiting for us. A week earlier, the mayor had declared a city-wide cleanup day. The town was pristine. The 2,000 residents plus another couple thousand people were lining the streets, cheering us in. We haven't had such a warm welcome since Fremont, Nebraska, our third day on the trail. Governor Leavitt is coming tonight to adress the masses and begin the celebration. Tomorrow is a day of rest in a beautiful, green valley. We have showers available in Coalville, and a grassy field to camp in. All is well.