July 19, 1997
Location: East Canyon State Park, Utah - Between Henefer and Birch Springs.
Summary: Rest Day at East Canyon Lake -- How to make a highway
Journal entry: The wagons are up on top of a hill overlooking the beautiful East Canyon reservoir. The hilltop is a sea of color: green alfalfa, purple thistle, yellow daisies, red Indian paintbrush, and those white flowers that blow away when you puff on them. And, not to mention, all that beautiful sagebrush. The Wasatch mountains are on all sides, but the biggest is Big Mountain off to the southwest.
To avoid a parking nightmare, the park rangers are making people park at the bottom of the hill and walk up to see the wagons. For a while, people were wending their way through the grass and sagebrush all over the place. But, after 10,000 people had tromped up the same way, you can imagine what happened to all the grass and sagebrush. There is now an indelibly imprinted highway made with thousands of footprints -- at least, that is, until next spring. I can now see how it wasn't hard to do the same thing with wagon wheels across the American West.
The big draw for all of us this weekend was the lake. We put on swimming suits and jumped in the lake. It was a bit chilly at first, but I quickly adjusted and soon we were splashing and having races.
This afternoon, Amy and I were walking over to the hill to get some supper. We both paused to use the "comfort stations" (the PC term for the mobile sanitary facilities), and I got out first. I was totally surprised to see a familiar face: Barb Sawyer, from Fremont Nebraska. Back in Fremont, Barb had joined the wagon train for a day on a whim -- she just felt like she should. After one day, she decided to stay another. Then she decided to stay another week. The ten days we spent together on the trail were very memorable.
Amy and I both met each other and Barb on the same day. We were all helping to push the same handcart. After a few hours, we were laughing like good friends. Barb is a trooper, and she put up with rain and mud and tents and everything just fine. She told us stories about her 8 grandchildren, she cheered us up on hard days, and she watched our romance begin to blossom. Barb's husband, Don, came to Grand Island to pick her up, and we urged them to come to Salt Lake to welcome us into the valley. What a surprise it was to see them again in Utah! Someone suggested that we go over by the cool lake and sit in the shade to talk. We did, and it was a lot like old times.
Tomorrow is a rest day -- All is well.