May 24, 1997
Location: Ash Hollow (Lewellen) - 633 miles left, Nebraska - Location: 41:19:53N 102:08:36W (south side of the river. So named from a grove of timber growing on it. It occupies a space of about fifteen to twenty acres, and is surrounded by high bluffs.)
Summary: Most beautiful day of the trek.
Journal entry: When we woke up today it was beautiful. It wasn't freezing-just cool. The countryside was green and lush. I went through a half roll of film in the morning. Nathan stayed behind because his mother asked him to stay with the horses as they were being shoed. He wasn't very happy about that...not that I blame him. I'd rather be on the trail as well.
The first 2/3 of the trail was full of hills and ruts in thick sand. I rode on Paul Merrill's wagon. During our journey the strap on the tail of Pat (our left horse) came off. He asked me to get off and put it back. I got down and had no idea what I was doing.
I unbuckled it and he started to get really antsy. Paul tried to explain what to do next but I didn't understand what he meant and then the horses took off. I had to chase him down for about 1/4 mile. I kept tripping on my hem even though I was holding my dress up as I ran. The outriders just thought it was funny and laughed at me. I'm sure it was a hilarious spectacle.
Not 5 minutes after I got back on his wagon we heard a commotion behind us. We turned around and the Contastoga had tipped over. They were 2 wagons behind us. The contastoga is a large and long wagon. No one was hurt fortunately. One of our docent groups was in the wagon at the time. Rex, Julie and Elizabeth Proud were in the wagon with Max the driver. Elizabeth who is 11 years old wouldn't get back in the wagon because she was so scared.
After lunch when we were leaving our beautiful lunchsite we were going over some good size ruts. Joe Sturdy was thrown off his wagon. He popped off hit his horse and then the ground. This is not a young man either. He was older, probably around late 60's. He wasn't hurt. He just got back on his wagon and kept driving...bless his heart. He is a wonderful man.
Today we got a taste of real civilization because a group of young people went into town to watch the new Jurassic Park movie (part 2). If I look at as just another movie, it wasn't that good. What made it good was that we were in a real theater--surround sound sound and a bigger screen. We needed that break more than we realized. It was like we had lost touch with our real selves. We weren't doing things that we normally did and were not leading the lives that we normally lead. A lot of the habits that we have out here are not the habits we have in normal society. We just wanted to get in touch with ourselves again. It felt wonderful. It has been awesome interpreting the lives and century of another time, but it was great to return to our time for a short while.
Another funny thing is that most of us have never seen what some of the people on the trek look like in normal clothes, normal hair, make-up and such. It will be really odd when we see each other what we look like on a regular basis in the "real world."