June 13, 1997
Location: Casper, Wyoming - Location: 42:52:00N 106:18:45W
Summary: Glenrock to Casper -- 30 miles to end the week.
Journal entry: My handcart has been at the very rear of the company for the past week. As a result, I have been able to be more aware of the landscape as we pass through scenic Wyoming. We are beginning to see mountains for the first time. The first set of real mountains was Laramie Peak. As we neared Casper, the mountains to the south reminded me of Provo and Salt Lake -- they are covered with pine trees and still have patches of snow at the top. The weather is cooling off as we get into higher elevations; we are now over 5000 feet.
As we left our campsite outside of Glenrock, I was glad to be back on the trail. I was so sick yesterday. I don't even know what I would have done if I had been in an original handcart company. I might have stayed behind for a day while I regained my strength and tried to catch up the next day. Or I might have tried to stick it out and keep walking. I might have asked for a priesthood blessing.
As it was, I felt useless to the company. All day as I sat at camp, the only thing I could think about was the handcarts. When the wagons pulled into camp (they always arrive well before the handcarts), I couldn't do anything except worry about the walkers. Were they suffering out there in the heat? Did they have some sort of accident out there on the interstate? Did someone have heatstroke or a bad case of blisters? Suddenly, my illness seemed insignificant when I thought of my close friends and sweetheart out there on the trail.
The moment the handcarts arrived in camp, the atmosphere became charged. While the wagon people are quiet and somewhat reserved, the handcart company is a large group of people who are unified by the common bond of pain. Arriving at camp is much more momentous for the walkers. There are cheers and shouts, slaps on the back and hugs. "We made it!" is the usual congratulation.
Our journey today was all on pavement: 30.5 miles. Just when we caught up with the wagons for lunch, they began to pull out so they could make it to Casper in time for the parade (we miss most parades because we are well behind the wagons). We never saw them again until we arrived at the fort. By then, most of the teamsters were someplace else. We gathered for a prayer of thanks, then went our ways to find shelter from the rain and a warm supper. Some people got motel rooms so they could shower and watch the Jazz game. I stayed with Amy and ate a warm meal of lasagna and cobbler cooked on my backpacking stove. It has been a long, wet walk. It has been a long week. I am ready for a long and relaxing weekend. Maybe even a haircut. We are all very tired and worn out.