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

Wendy Westergard Journals

July 10, 1997

Location: Fort Bridger - 96 miles left, Wyoming - (You cross four gushing creeks, within half a mile, before you reach the Fort, and by traveling half a mile beyond the Fort, you will cross three others, and then find a good place to camp.) - 917 miles from Winter Quarters.

Summary: Gerardia from bad water, and a baby born.

Journal entry: Today I slept until 10:45 am. This is the latest I've slept on the train the entire time. I know why too... It was because my body was so tired. I was dragging all day yesterday and it felt really good to have the rest. The pioneers really knew how to plan this. We have had more rest days as we near the end of our journey. This is smart because our bodies need the rest. There is not that much left in them to give. This gives us a slight chance to rejuvenate for the rest of the trek. It has been a blessing. It gives us a chance to relax and socialize with people we don't always get a chance to see on a every day basis.

After waking up I read my scriptures for a while. It was nice to be able to have the ponder time in my tent. I don't get much private time on the trail and it was nice to have a few moments by myself.

I am amazed at how many people out here don't know what gerardia is. I learned about it at such a young age that I thought it was common knowledge. For those of you who don't know what it is: it is a bug that you can get if you drink water from a stream, river or any other body of water that you haven't boiled the water or put iodine into to kill.

About 2-3 weeks ago I did a film shot for the German film crew. I faked drowning for this scene many times. We had to cross a river and then fake drowning around 6-10 times. (With the crossing it would equal about that many crossings or more) The other reenactors only had to cross the river they did not have to fake drowning. The next day after this film day I was doubled over in pain for 6-8 hours with intestinal cramps and such. I though it was because I had the flu.

The next day I wasn't having the cramping so I thought I was okay. I have continued to have other problems since then. Last night as I laid in bed I thought of how I'd been feeling for the last 2-3 weeks. I've had intestinal cramping off and on for that period of time. I finally figured out that this thing was just not going to go away. I decided to go and talk to Margaret, who is a nurse and see what she thought. I did and she agreed with my conclusion that I could have gerardia (Libbie has an ear infection) My conclusion was correct. I have gerardia.

It is not contagious. The only way to catch it is if you drink was that has not been properly treated. I have now been put on the proper medication so that I will get better. I tell you this sure does take a lot out of you. I've lost lots of weight since this time, more so than usual on the trek. From that period I've lost probably around 5-10 pounds. That is not healthy especially out here. I now only have to worry about becoming dehydrated. If I don't make sure I drink lots of fluids I could run into a lot of problems, I had no idea where I lost the weight from, in my opinion. I think I was pretty slender already. Anyway this process took until the evening.

I came back to camp and socialized with friends for the remainder of the evening. Some were playing with the whip that they had bought from the trader souvenir shop that was here for the occasion. This shop was the coolest. It had a ton of neat things. I bought a lot. It was the first tourist trap that totally had all my attention. I visited the shop so many times the employees knew who I was and would tease me about coming in so many times. I bought a blanket coat thing, some Indian woven bowls, an Indian blanket, a pint jug, a leather band for my hair and scrubby for disease for my apartment. (It works better than the modern ones.) It was an old fashion scrubby for dishes. I saw many other things I wanted to buy, but I know I can't spend too much money. It would be really bad to go into debt buying out the whole store. I figured buying as much as I did because I will only do this once in lifetime, although I wouldn't mind doing more. I really shouldn't have spent as much as I did. I figure, hey what the heck. I won't be able to get this any ol' time.

A baby was born on the trail today. He was born in the Dicken's tent. I know that they haven't been travelling on the trail with us. (I don't know if they did for a day or not) They had several midwives there and a couple of assistants. The baby's name is Henry Freestone _______. I don't remember the last name of the baby. What a neat experience for everyone. It's not every day you can say a baby was born on the plains on a wagon train, especially in this day and age. I didn't see the baby, but they say he has red curls.