May 30, 1997
Location: Bayard, Nebraska - Location: 41:45:18N 103:19:25W Elevation: 3753 feet
Summary: Bridgeport to Bayard -- Harnessing horses, mission calls, and Chimney Rock!
Journal entry: I am sitting on the football field at the high school in Bayard. A lady just handed me a box from REI -- my TENT!! Amy and I set it up in a flurry of excitement, and I will be protected from the elements once again. Kudos to REI and UPS for coming through.
Heber and I headed over to the wagons early this morning to help Dean and Chuck harness their teams. One of Dean's horses threw a shoe, so it stayed at camp and Dean used one of John's mules instead. We thought we'd be there early enough to help him more, but he was up at 4:00 AM to feed and water his team. The teamsters call him "the rooster" because he is up so early. We did get to help brush and harness Chuck's horses, and he seemed eager to help us learn. There is an art to getting close to a horse without getting stepped on or kicked.
Halfway through the morning, we came up over a hill and Heber's family was hiding behind a rise, waiting to surprise him. They had driven over from Salt Lake City to bring him his mission call. Heber has decided to serve as a missionary for the church for two years. His assignment came from the president of the church, Gordon B. Hinkley, who we believe is a prophet. We all wanted to hear where he is going, so we gathered around while he got up on a mound and read the letter from President Hinkley. His was called to serve in North Carolina, and will leave in August.
My quest to see Chimney Rock came to an end today. It was cloudy and misty early in the morning, and visibility was very low, but soon the sun came out and the clouds began to clear. I went up ahead of the handcart company, binoculars in hand. We came around a corner and the rock formation suddenly appeared. Most pioneers have recorded that they could see it two or three days away, but we didn't see it until the same day we reached it. Chimney Rock looks like a low pyramid, like those in Egypt, with a smokestack coming out of the top. From one point on the trail, we could see Jailhouse and Courthouse Rocks in the East and Chimney Rock in the west.
A few of us piled into Margaret's "new" motorhome this evening and went to the Chimney Rock visitor's center. There is a lot to see there: movies, journals, photos and sketches, but the most impressive thing to see is the Rock itself. Because of erosion, the spire has decreased in height since the 1840's.
Amy and I had Margaret drop us off at the Suzy Q's to get a milkshake. By the time we were done ordering, we turned around and noticed what seemed like half the wagon train congregating there for the same reason. Ice cream is a hot commodity out here. I have noticed that we will pay almost any price for popsicles or ice cream. Take note all you entrepreneurs out there...