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

Margaret Clark Journals

June 20, 1997

Location: Split Rock, Wyoming

Summary: Martins Cove to Split Rock/Eaten alive!!!!!!

Journal entry: Today was a tough road. I walked again with my children. Nica has bad blisters on her feet, but she just doctors them up with band-aids and mole-skin and takes off. As a mother, it is hard for me to see her go through this pain, but I have great respect for her desire to try.

My son, Dallin, came here with no confidence at all at being able to walk 5 miles. He had never walked for more than 3 miles at a time, and he has been doing very well. I think he has really surprised himself. It is really a joy for me to watch him. Maren is doing great. No blisters yet!

Today as we walked out of Martins Cove we were all checked by employees of the BLM to make sure we had proper identification. We are allowed only a certain number of people to be on BLM land. Also, only a certain number of wagons, horses, people etc. We are trying to comply to their desires, so we were all issued the proper ID. We walked a few miles on the highway pavement, then we took off onto the dirt roads and onto this restricted area of land.

Much of the area we were on today was the actual Oregon/Mormon Trail/Pony Express. It was a huge expanse of land. The mountains to the north are these great, smooth mountains, and ahead of us all day was Split Mountain, our destination for the day. We got onto some of the trail that was very sandy and very difficult to pull the carts over. It was a very skinny, narrow trail, and there was no room to pass anyone ahead of you. We basically walked in two single files behind the wheels of the cart or wagon in front of you.

The walkers led for the day and the wagons came behind. The terrain and vegetation is absolutely pristine, I,m sure, and I would guess that not much has changed over these last hundred years. There were several spots we could stop and survey the scene, and not see any evidence of the 20th Century. It has a lot of low-lying scrub-type sage and lots of cactus: prickly pear, yucca. Because of the rainfall this year, much of the vegetation is very green, and there are some beautiful flowers.

We kept our sights on Split Mountain and it gradually got closer and closer. At one point, we looked down on camp from a high hill. It lie straight ahead of us toward the west. All we had to do was get there. There was a deterrent between them and us...a ravine with a stream at the bottom. Because of this, the wagons took a detour to the right to a better crossing. The walkers and handcarts were able to keep on going, straight ahead.

When we got to the wash, we had about a 12 foot drop down to the stream, through the stream which was about 5 feet wide and a foot deep and back up the other side. It was really a lot of fun. Some of us took off our shoes to wade the stream and push the carts on through. But it was a fun sight to watch each group of handcarts come through the wash and the water and push their carts back up the other side. We cheered each other on and made it a fun time. We,ve got a great group today.... a lot of spirit. Not only was this a beautiful part of the trail, but we really got the feel for the authentic pioneer feeling.

We did have a treat at lunchtime to have Mr. Bernard Sun come and visit with us for a short time. This land is his ranch. His grandfather was the original homesteader many years ago, and he is now the man who allowed us to follow the original trail, through his land. We really thank you, sir, and want you to know it was a great experience to be allowed to follow the trail here. It is a beautiful part of Wyoming.

Today was great except for one small detail.....the mosquitoes!! They were and are awful!!! We had them all down the trail, and when we got to camp (at the restricted area) they were horrible. Although the wind was blowing, they are still everywhere. You have to be careful about eating, or breathing, or sniffing, or anything, because they come in your mouth and your nose and buzz you. We tried to find refuge in our motorhome by closing all the windows and using screens. We would fit everyone in our RV that we could, just to get out of the bug area. And the wind. Unreal!!!! When the early pioneers complained about the mosquitoes, they weren't kidding.

I had a fun surprise tonight to have my cousin, David Hamilton, here with some of his famiy and a few folks from his ward in Jerome, Idaho. They are here doing an historical tour of Mormon sights, and decided to stop and visit the wagon train. It was really nice to have you here. Thanks for the Idaho Spuds (a candy bar.)!

A ward from the LDS church in Rawlins, Wyo, fed us tonight and boy! was it ever good. And there was a LOT of food. I don't think anyone in camp went away hungry and when they found out they had plenty of food, they invited anyone to come and eat. They were handing out food to everybody. This will make for some good eating for a few days. I,m sure they do not even realize what a wonderful thing they did for us. There are a lot of people who walk who provide their own food and meals, and sometimes they do not eat very well, if at all. Thank you so much, our dear friends.

Well, other than fighting the mosquitoes, this is really a lovely place. The full moon tonight is truly beautiful. We are situated sort of on a higher ridge for the night and the view around is really awe- inspiring. Because of the restrictions on the land, many of our support vehicles drove on to tomorrow,s campsite at Jeffrey City. Although we still are large in numbers, I really miss those others when they are not here with us. It is sort of strange, but I do.

It is so nice to have my family with me. And I so appreciate my husband who carried on at home with the children and home chores, so that I could do this trek. Now they are here and I am resting better, and feeling better, and sleeping!!! I feel I have not slept for 2 months, and now I am. He is also helping with the wagon train as a shuttler during the day. He does odd jobs here and there, too. So HappyNetTrekking, friends!!