June 24, 1997
Location: Silver Creek, Wyoming
Summary: Sweetwater Station to Silver Creek -- The mountains get nearer, singing on the trail
Journal entry: I am about to turn in for the night, but there are a few things I wanted to write. The nights have been warmer and I have been sleeping under the stars with more frequency. The skies are clear and the mosquitoes few, so tonight should be a great night. Last night I slept in the trailer where everybody stows their sleeping gear, which was great until someone threw their duffle bag on top of me. I decided then that it was a good time to get up before I became the bottom of a large pile of luggage.
Sleeping in the trailer, I could look straight up and see the sky. The stars are so bright out here, and I don't think that they have changed very much since my ancestors passed this way. I used to be able to identify most of the constellations, but suddenly I felt overwhelmed by stars. There are so many!
The snow-capped Windriver mountains are so close. We have risen in altitude to over 7000 feet. The air is cool and the mosquitoes few. Tomorrow we will go over Rocky Ridge -- a steep and rocky incline that was mentioned in lots of pioneer journals. The air around camp is filled with talk about tomorrow's trek. Many people are nervous about the long distance, steep incline, and their lack of endurance. Others, including many of the long-term walkers, speak with confidence. Personally, I think tomorrow will be a challenge, but not the insurmountable struggle that some people make it out to be. By the time they reached this point, most pioneers were conditioned and ready to face a hill like Rocky Ridge. I think we are too, with the Lord's help.
Our days on the trail are often filled with music. We sing anything from hymns to camp songs to tunes we make up ourselves. Singing on the trail has a way of making you forget your aching feet, sore legs, and the heat. Smiles emerge on peoples' faces as they sing a favorite tune between panting breaths. Amy and I have memorized all 6 verses to the "Handcart Song" sung by the original hancart companies. The chorus has the well-known "For some must push and some must pull" refrain. The only difficulty with this song is that there is no place to breathe -- it keeps on going -- which is a problem when you really are trying to go "marching up the hill".
Another song we sing was invented by two handcart pullers, Kathy Stickle (reporter for the LA Times) and Sarah Robinson (walking home from her mission in Iowa). It is called, "The Handcarts Go Rolling Along". It is sung to the tune of "The Cassons go Rolling Along":
The Handcarts Go Rolling Along Over hill, over dale, as we hit the Mormon Trail And our handcarts go rolling along. Step and shout, turn about, you can hear the captain shout As our handcarts go rolling along. For it's Hi Hi Hee in the Handcart company Shout out your numbers loud and strong: two...three... Four where'er we go, people always know That our handcarts go rolling along. An optional replacement for the third line is:
"Scream and shout, don't wimp out, cause we're only four miles out!"