June 30, 1997
Location: Parting of the Ways, Wyoming - Where the California/Oregon trail and the Mormon Pioneer trail separate.
Summary: Pacific Springs to Parting of the Ways -- pristine sagebrush, accidents
Journal entry: Our 12 mile trek today took us through some pristine sections of the Mormon/Oregon trail. It is mainly sagebrush, but it is inaccessible to most vehicles. We feel grateful that the BLM would let us pass on the original trail. In parts, the ruts are three across. If you walk perpendicular to to the trail, you go over five or six ridges, marking the ruts.
The scent of sage is strong. Unless you are the lead wagon or handcart, the vapors waft through the air and almost suffocate you as people and animals ahead of you step on it and kick it. Those with allergies are suffering.
There have been two accidents in the past week: last Friday Larry "Turbo" Stewart was thrown from his horse and suffered a dislocated collarbone. He now drives until the pain gets too much and then hands the reins to Elizabeth, a teenager from Colorado.
Today was the second accident: Brenda "Bre" Cornell, the brains behind the wagon train, was up on a wagon driving a team of mules when as they went up a steep incline. The mules tugged and the wheels buckled, and they bolted, pulling Bre. She gripped tight to the reins, and fell onto the tongue, cracking a few ribs. The wheels actually broke free from the wagon and the mules continued to run, pulling Bre a good distance through the sagebrush. She is in the hospital in Rock Springs with broken ribs and a ruptured spleen. We all hope and pray that she will have a swift recovery.
One last note. Amy and I, after talking it over with each other, friends, and leaders, decided that we ought to change our rules a bit. I mentioned before that we would only try to kiss each other on the cheek. Well, that has changed. If you come on the trail and happen to catch us using our lips more often, that is the reason.
Hi this is Amy -- I was overjoyed to get a letter from my dear, old high school buddy, Dead B, today. I'm glad to know that she's alive, and I've thought about her many times on this trek. Thank goodness for good friends. (Like B.C.)
The wind has not ceased, and we are moving back into mosquito country. The sun and the wind dry me out, making me feel like a dried-out sponge. Now and then dust devils blow through camp, picking up stray pieces of plastic and other strange objects and hurling them through camp. But, we will hold our ground!