April 25, 1997
Location: Schuyler, Nebraska - Location: 41:26:50N 97:03:33W Elevation: 1346 feet
Summary: Schuyler coming up.
Journal entry: A thousand helicopters are landing on my head. I threw my covers back....oh, stars, a full moon, a jet flying over. That's right! I'm sleeping in a field, with the trek--and a long, noisy train is passing by. Well, it sounded like helicopters.
Look at the frost on my tarp! Wow! But I'm warm and dry. I wonder about those pioneers. Did they stay warm at night when the frost was thick? And their feet...did their feet hurt too? Did they just wrap them with rags when the blisters got too bad and their feet swelled up and they couldn't walk? What ever did they do to keep going? The walkers in our camp are spotted quickly. We all have a similar appearance and walk.
While I'm talking about walking, let me give you my fourth-day-is-over lesson on walking. Walking on this trek is an art. If the road is muddy, then you walk in the wagon tracks because that's the smoothest place. The sides and the middle are too soft and you sink. If there's gravel, you walk in the wagon tracks because that's the smoothest place. The sides and the middle have piled up gravel and you sink. If the road is dry and rocky you walk in the wagon tracks because that's the smoothest place. The rocks have been brushed aside or pounded down in the dirt. If your feet are sore, it doesn't matter where or how you walk. They're still sore.
The storm that was supposed to come today went to the South. Hurrah! Our camp last night was situated by the pioneer cemetery. This was supposed to be very near where the original Mormon trail was and according to North Bend's postmaster, the field we stayed in was probably the very campsite. Chris, the computer teacher at North Bend High School, wrote a wonderful history on this area. In it is the story "When Nine Grown-ups and Seven Children Invaded Nebraska With Ox Teams". The story goes how a family, originally from Scotland and temporarily in Illinois, moved westward with their clan of 9 adults and seven children. The year was 1856. Their destination was Nebraska. They arrived at Omaha and then headed west. At a place, probably where we camped last night, this family stopped on the 4th of July. The sun was hot and they made a shade for the children to play under. Jean, a happy five year old child played with her little brothers and cousin. Her heart was happy and she ran to her mother with a new-found treasure. She found her a little apart from the company, sitting upon the tongue of one of the wagons and, to the child's amazement, her mother was crying. Many of you know the years of selfless devotion which this mother gave to her family, of the courage which was hers, of her heroic endurance of hardships, yet even her dauntless spirit quailed on that first day in the new land as she looked back over that vanishing road, as she realized for the first time, perhaps, the stupendousness of their undertaking and the helplessness of her little brood.
Thanks Chris for your writings and your help with my computer. Farewell North Bend. A great American community with a lot of pride in what they do!
We trekked on. Everyday people join us for whatever they can trek. Usually it's a day. Some folks stay two or three. Parents and teachers bring their kids along to teach lessons and values in pioneering. I marvel that we all want what is good and right. The love and spirit of humanness is strong. The people here give us encouragement and wish us well and in return I wish you well and thank you for your love.
So how can things get any better? As we entered Schuyler, the crowds cheered and waved. Our reception was grand. The dinner was superb. The turn-out was marvelous. It's a three month party that I've gotten involved with. And it just gets better.
Tonight I met a group of Boy Scouts from the PetahLa Shauro District near Columbus. A group of 100 Scouts from 4 different troops will be pulling handcarts tomorrow. There are about 10 carts and the boys built them themselves. They are beautifully crafted carts. One of the troops from this area also marked a lengthy part of the Mormon Trail as an Eagle Project. Chris Dixon who works with the District office gave me a patch of the handcart trek of tomorrow and wants me to give it to my husband, who is also a Scoutmaster. He also made darling little handcart scarf ties for the boys. Thanks Chris.. I wish you well and I hope you find your Mormon army buddy, Fred Lundeen (a dentist).
Our newest Scout troop is from Lindsay, Neb. They were chartered only last August and so far are making a real mark for Scouting in this area. Their Catholic priest is an avid scouter and has sparked the interest in this little community. You are a great man Father. I haven't met you but I know how much your people adore you. My condolences to you with the loss of your brother.
Morning does come early. Happy NetTrekking!