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 30, 1997

Location: Parting of the Ways, Wyoming - Where the California/Oregon trail and the Mormon Pioneer trail separate.

Summary: Bre's accident.

Journal entry: Today we travelled around 15-18 miles. We, the walkers, left at 6 am. This was to avoid the afternoon heat. All of the terrain was off road. There were worse ruts than usual. I helped to pull the handcart about half way. It was tough pullin'.

I got on the sag wagon with Cyndi and Amy to do our hair that we hadn't finished our hair that morning. The sag wagon creaked and groaned. We were worried it would fall apart as we sat there. It was bouncing us everywhere. The funny part was my gatorade bottle that was set inthe middle of the wagon didn't move. I had to take a picture of the gatorade bottle. These were the biggest ruts I think we have come into contact with.

This is a day we will not be forgeting, for more reasons than one. After the second break we got out and helped pull. The walkers have invented harnesses for some of the handcarts. I put one of the harnesses on and started off. I like pulling with the harness better than pulling the handcart behind the wood slat. I like having the freedom of moving my arms and not the restriction in front of me.

We got into camp around 12 noon, lunch time. We sat down to eat and heard that Bre had been hurt on the wagons earlier that morning as they had been following us. They said that they had taken her to the hospital and that was it. They made it sound as though it wasn't that serious. We were worried but there wasn't that much we could do considering that the vehicles weren't shuttled ahead.

We decided to take a nap under the handcarts. Nathan woke me up. He is back on the trail with us. Oh happy day. I gave him a big hello hug.

We had heard about the great ice cream in Farson and how humungous they were and had to go check them out. We drove there, now that the cars were back. Everthing was as true as everyone had said. It was wonderful. Luckily we will be in Farson tomorrow for a couple of days---rest days. We will pig out.

It was here that we heard the real news of how Bre really was. She is in ICU. She has three fractured ribs, one broken rib and a ruptured spleen. Bre is part of my family. Even though it is more adopted than anything, sometimes that can be a stronger bond than actual blood relation. She is the most wonderful women who works very hard for this trail. Her heart and soul is in this trail. She does A LOT of behind the scenes of the trail. She is a very vauable player in making this train work. Many people do not realize how much she does. Let me assure you that this 3 full time jobs for her. She enjoys every minute of it. If she has anything to do with it she will be out of the hospital a lot quicker than the doctors expect. We would appreciate all prayers for her. I know the Lord is helping her and will continue to help her. She is the toughest lady I know. She is tough as nails. I saw her in the hospital and all she could think about was how the camp was and that she was going to teach the mules to woah. I guess I should explain what happened.

They were going over these tough ruts and one of the mules, Bobby fell. Snady, the other mule, went flying the other direction. She over compensated and when the wagon hit the rut just a few milaseconds later she was thrown for the driver's seat along with the axle of the bottom of the wagon breaking in the mean time. The mules took off running. She was still holding on to the lines and was dragged with the mules and the front wheels of the wagon.

It was a good thing that she didn't let go because her dress was tangled in the lines and had she let go she would have been run over by the following wheels. The dresses helped to prevent her body from being severly scratched. In fact I did not see one scratch on her from the sagebrush. They were just worried about internal bleeding.

It was the roughest day I've had on the trail. I love her very much. She means the world to me. She has taught me a great deal about many things. I value her friendship and trust. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.