June 22, 1997
Location: Jeffrey City, Wyoming
Summary: Pam's second journal entry.
Journal entry: Pam says:
DAY 67 of the Mormon Trail Wagon Train in America, and I am still here, alive, and walking!
Such a lot has happened during the last month. We have crossed entirely the State of Nebraska, and are now over halfway across Wyoming. We have climbed considerably in altitude, being now in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, which can be seen tantalisingly ahead, snow-capped.
I am in Jeffrey City, at an altitude of 6324 ft. The "city" has a population of about 150! It is something of a ghost town, since its fortune was based on the mining of uranium ore, which has now ceased. Even so, yesterday the little community provided the entire wagon train with a hog roast meal, completely free, with beer and soft drinks too. Such hospitality has been common and generous all the time we have been travelling. Communities have not only fed us but have also entertained us, and made us feel so welcome.
As mentioned in my first report, Nebraska was very flat and windy. I was surprised that the fields weren't sown or the trees in leaf until well into May.
Wyoming is hilly and windy! It seems we don't easily get away from the wind. Some days it is so strong you feel quite battered by it, but most times it comes as a friend and ally, as wind is infinitely preferable to the clouds of mosquitoes which envelop us on a calm day. It is pure torture! Wyoming has been particularly wet this Spring, so the "mozzies" have proliferated.
We have now walked over 850 miles. We have had up to 43 wagons, 17 handcarts and more than 650 walkers on some Saturdays. Numbers have had to be curtailed now, as we are in "fragile' land looked after by the BLM, the Bureau of Land Management, and there is concern about the environmental impact unlimited numbers of people on the wagon train could have.
What lies ahead? We have some real pioneering days to come, where we will not be allowed the back-up of motorhomes and other vehicles. The area through which we will shortly pass is wild and open, and we will have to bring all we need with us on the wagons and handcarts. We will all have to sleep in tents, under "tarps' or under or in the wagons or handcarts. There are no roads and no towns. Water will be available, fortunately. Horses drink gallons of the stuff, and the walkers drink their share. Mustn't risk dehydration, and the air is definitely thinner now. We can only sing half a line before we need another breath!
We have also passed into another time zone, Mountain Standard Time, so Britain is now 7 hours ahead of me here. It's a good job my husband doesn't mind me ringing him in the middle of the night! It is usually evening before I can get to a phone, if at all.
Well, just over 4 weeks now to the end of the trek. Thoughts? Oh in many ways I can't wait for the wagon train to finish. I miss my family, and simple things like washbasins, regular showers and clean clothes. BUT, the people I have befriended, wonderful, loving, kind people, many of whom I shall never see again. It's going to be so hard to say goodbye. Life after the wagon train is never going to be the same again.
More next month!