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 27, 1997

Location: Pacific Springs, Wyoming

Summary: Practice drowning for the German TV crews.

Journal entry: Today we went 22 miles. I first rode in Glen's wagon. Someone had brought copies the Internet things from our web site. Amy and I sat reading them in the wagon. It was really hard because we were being bounced more so than usual. I felt like I was going cross-eyed. I read up until and past first break. Being jostled around so much gave me a headache.

By lunch I switched to Allan's wagon to be with the Sorenson family. I hadn't seen them for so long, a couple of days, but I missed them. We played games and sang songs. After a while, I sang more mellow songs. It put everyone to sleep, despite the bumpy conditions. They needed the sleep. I felt a little like a mother hen.

When we got into camp, which is again in the middle of nowhere----covered with sagebrush. We unloaded and started to wait for the walkers. As we saw them, I started to go help them the hill to camp. Today was a large haul. We were off road all day and it was hilly to boot. About half of the time it was sandy as well, which makes it twice as hard to pull.

We are eating a gallon of dirt a day. It makes it feel as though we are grinding our teeth as we put our teeth together or chewing something. A lot of dirt goes up our noses. It makes a sneeze more often than usual.

The German film crew then wanted us (Sorenson's and I) to do some film work again. We got in their motor home and started to go to where they wanted to film. Steve and Wendy fell asleep. We were all in our period clothing. It felt a lot like what I imagine movie stars feel like. We were all 19th century clothes in a 20th century motor home. We all looked so trail worn and tan it looked like makeup. When we are on the trail it looks completely normal, but in some place modern --- we look out of place.

There was film things packed in the motor home. We were just resting before we had to act. I imagine that is what the movie stars feel like. I imagine each time they have to move to a new set that they sleep in their motor homes. It was kind of nice to experience something akin to what they would experienced. I'm just glad that I don't do it for a living because acting takes a lot out of you. It takes a lot of energy to act different than you normally do. Worrying about how you did something and having to remember how you did it for the next take and you have to do the exact same the next time is really hard.

I hadn't been looking outside as we travelled, so when I did I was dumbstuck. It was beautiful. There were red rock (sandstone) cliffs all around contrasted by long green grass and cottenwood trees. As the children started to skip rocks I sat down and started to just ponder things. I thought about how the pioneers would have done the same crossing and had to move on. I thought of this wonderous beauty that God has made for us. It brings such peace to my soul to be a place as breathtaking as that. It was like coming home. (I lived in a place where the terrain was very similar, so it really was like coming home.)

The birds were chirping, the river was rushing by like it had somewhere to be in a hurry, the flies and mosquitos were buzzing about. Just sitting there helped to remind me how much a part of the earth we are and it of us. We depend on the earth for everything we have on this earth (the physical things). We have to respect it or it will not respect us in return. The Native Americans had the right idea on how to go about things with mother earth.

It was a swift river. Steve crossed the river ad tied the other end of the big thick rope to a huge stump. We then proceeded to cross the river. The river was so swift that we kind of looked like superman because our feet were swept out from underneath us. They were straight out behind us. One hand over the other, as we sputtered a lot of the water from the river. Libbie and Sarah were quite frightened. They got some good panic shots. On the way back from the other bank I had to pretend I had a problem and let go. I then had to pretend to drown or get caught on a pile of wood in the river. I had to do this 4-6 times. It was so cold.

After we were done with all of the shots they needed we got into their camper and drove to where the authentic group was staying, which was different than the train. When we got there they had stew that was almost done. They were so nice in helping me to get warm clothes, because my things were with the train rather than with them. Within 20 minutes we were in new dresses standing by the fire with our skirts and petticoats pulled up so that our bloomers could dry. Many of the authentic people took picture, unfortunately I did not have my camera. It was a sight to behold.