June 13, 1997
Location: Casper, Wyoming - Location: 42:52:00N 106:18:45W
Summary: The train moves into Casper - We are scattered! [Ted the walker.]
Journal entry: Today the wagon train moved out of Glenrock and into Casper, Wyo. Our campsite in Glenrock was just beautiful. We had lovely grass and the trees are tall and shady. It was a very pleasant camp. The train moved on out at the usual time.
It was a long way to Casper. I helped shuttle vehicles and such today, since I do not feel well at all. I have been avoiding the cough, laryngitis, thing that has been moving around camp, and I guess it was just my turn. I managed to get a nap in this afternoon.
We are centralized at Ft Caspar. I say centralized because really the only people there are a few tenters and the wagons. Otherwise, we are scattered all around the town. I think that most of us are at a loss. We have spent the last 8 weeks basically in the same general areas. Since we are so large we do take up a big area, but we have always been together in this big area. And now, no one knows where each other is. It is a strange feeling. Several of us went looking for others last night and no one was anywhere. There were a few clusters of folks, but it is weird!!!! If this doesn't pull us together, nothing will. We all feel lost.
I watched those tough, hardy walkers and handcarters pull into Casper. It was such an inspiring thing. They had just pulled another 30 miler and they were strong and energetic and....inspiring. There was a rumor out that a bus was going to go out and pick them up since they were a few hours behind the wagons, and the police were worried about getting them through the town safely. I had to laugh. There is no way some of those people are going to get on a bus and ride. They have walked every step of the way and there would have been a major riot!!!
When Gordon was in the hospital in Scottsbluff, Ted basically never left his side for the first three days. That meant that Ted missed three days of walking. We did keep his handcart with the group (this handcart is the only one that has gone all the way from Nauvoo). So, Ted spent double days re-walking those miles that he had missed. Ted's longest day was 43 miles. He would get up at 3 in the morning, drive back to the places he missed, and walk double days.
When we had such a terrible rainstorm in Mitchell, Ted was on the road, walking. He took shelter in an old abandoned shed and when the floor flooded to the foot and a half level, he had to climb up on a manure spreader to keep out of the wind, rain and hail (it hailed three times) to keep dry. He said he waded out of the shed after it slowed raining. Although it was still raining, the lightening and thunder and hail seemed to have ended. What frightened Ted the most was the lightening because there was only a second between the flash and the boom. That is scarey!!!
Ted said he spent three and a half hours in that shed. He said it was COLD. He would get up and walk back and forth in the spreader to keep warm. He said he was sharing the shelter with a few birds and every time he got up they would fly, and when he sat down, they would set again.
Ted said that it was quite peaceful walking alone. He saw animals, deer, turkey, birds. He was out early in the morning and watched the world come to life---the sunrise, the birds awake and start chirping, the turkeys come off their roost and give their morning gobble, the thousands of worms on the road after a drenching rainstorm. He said following the trail got to be a little tricky. You see, he was a few days behind the wagons and it had also rained---a lot. He said he watched for the wagon ruts/trails in the dirt. And when it rained, he could see the little indentations with water in them. There were occasional horse droppings that gave the trail away.. One time he lost the trail for about 3/4 of a mile and asked a local fellow if the train had come that way. They said no and he had to retrace his path. His usual pace was about three and a half miles per hour, but coming in that last day of double miles he was going about 4 mph. He said he felt good and was strong that last day.
Then, after Gordon got out of the hospital, Ted drove Gordon the entire distance over the trail that he had missed while in the hospital. There was one place that they could not get through because the rain had washed out part of the road. Ted drove all of the way around and came back to the other side of the wash-out (about an additional 8 miles) so Gordon could still say he had travelled the entire distance.
There are 15 people who have walked every step of the way and possibly 3 more. I have to ask them. We have another 20 of the walkers who started in Omaha and are going to the Valley, but have ridden in a wagon or on a horse, but are basically put in the category of "walkers." So we have a nice, cohesive little group. And I can tell you that there would have been major rebellion out on the freeway if they had tried to tell those people they had to ride a bus. That would have been a great picture watching them trying to get them on the bus. These people are determined, folks. Determined!