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

June 18, 1997

Location: Martin's Cove - 302 miles left, Wyoming - Not mentioned in Clayton's journal. Fifty-six members of the Martin Handcart Company died here while waiting out a fierce storm, November 1856. - About 707 miles from Winter Quarters.

Summary: the best day---Martin's Cove

Journal entry: Today was a short day. We only travelled 10 miles. It was the most incredible day. We started out singing songs. We had many greenies joining in. Since today was a shorter day we had most of the kids from the reenactment camp walking. Many of the children were very young. The spirit of service was strong. I gave Libbie many piggy-back rides because she was so tired. Libbie finally got on the bus because she couldn't go any further. I met many new and interesting people today from all over that came to join the train. We started out originally on time, but were then informed we had to wait for the appropriate signage (flashing lights with "wagon train ahead...slow") we left late around 10:45 am. I think that is why many, especially greenies, were in such good moods. We started out awake.

After nearing the last couple of miles Wendy Sorenson was running out of energy and was in extreme pain because she had had knee surgery. Bonnie and I put our arms around her and helped to support her. Wendy and my hips were attached and on the same rhythm. It felt good to be able to help someone else. This is what this is all about.

About 4 miles before coming into camp we became aware of a different feeling. We were doing everything the way we usually do. There was nothing different about our daily patterns. I didn't know anything about Martin's Cove until I came here (camp--Martin's Cove) and learned. I don't know how to explain the feelings felt as we walked into this wonderful area. I know that I feel the strong presence of the people of the Martin Handcart company. Their sacrifice was amazing and so touching. I KNOW that I do not know how to communicate the difference of this campsite from any other--I just know that it is. I doesn't look different in the physical sense.

The mosquitos are REALLY bad here. They are killers. We, the authentic camp, have been drinking vinegar water to save ourselves from the mosquitos. We have been told by the locals that vinegar water keeps them away. It is the most awful tasting stuff. It is the most hilarious thing to watch someone else down the awful liquid. They make the most funny faces and sounds. We make sure that we have something reasonably nice tasting nearby because I hate myself if I don't. We will continue to drink this stuff until we aren't worried about these awful bugs anymore.

We will have to oil our tents tomorrow on our rest day because the water tightness of our authentic canvas is gone. We had a short , heavy rainstorm this evening and our tents leaked and soaked everything that was in the tent--which was all our gear. We are learning all sorts of things about the authentic tents--or at least I am.

[editor's note: You can read about Peter Howard McBride's handcart trip in 1856.]