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

Margaret Clark Journals

July 1, 1997

Location: Parting of the Ways, Wyoming - Where the California/Oregon trail and the Mormon Pioneer trail separate.

Summary: A cold windy night---A cold windy day

Journal entry: We were camped out in the sagebrush close to the Parting of the Ways on the Mormon Trail. It is so desolate. We have been over two weeks now in the Great Desolation. I can't imagine the Pioneers thoughts as they came through this area. The anticipation of "getting there" must have ruled their thoughts constantly. I know it does mine. We sort of talk about "the end" amongst ourselves, but there isn't that Great Desire yet. But it's coming!

Last night in the middle of the night the wind came up and it was a wind storm. A bunch of the "kids" just slept out under the stars, and when the wind came, since Danny and Aaron's tent wasn't staked down, it blew away. Maren said she looked up once in the night and saw it bouncing along the sagebrush. Well, this morning it was long gone. The kids wouldn't get up when the cowbell rang, so Art went out and pulled the tarp out from under them. They got up. Art had already gone out looking for their tent with no success, so Danny and Aaron wrapped their sleeping bags around them and went out looking. Where do you look when there is miles and miles of nothingness that goes on forever and ever?

They were gone about 45 minutes when I looked out and saw them coming back, way down country aways. Lo and behold they found the tent, sitting upright, with a broken rainfly and zipper. So much for that new tent. They had gone about as far as Art had and were about to give up when they saw a Mike and Ike wrapper sitting on the ground. It had been in their tent. So, they went over the next ridge and there was the tent. This is totally amazing because this country is so vast....that tent could have been anywhere! Aaron feels badly cause he did lose his wallet with all his money for the trail....$20.00.

The handcarters took off early...6AM. It was cold all day long with a tortuous northern wind. Maren laid down at lunch time and fell asleep. She said the earth was warm, but as soon as she stood up the wind was freezing. This will be an interesting memory...pulling in the handcarts to Farson in freezing wind on the first of July.

Art and I drove to Rock Springs to restock the pantry. We went to the hospital to inquire about Bre Cornell. She is still in ICU, but doing OK. They anticipate her moving onto the medical floor tomorrow. We are grateful she is recovering. Her accident could easily have been fatal. We are all grateful it was not.

Farson has prepared for crowds of people to come and visit the wagon train. There are wonderful vendors and food wagons set up everywhere. There is only one thing lacking.....people. Perhaps people do not come because of the hype and media, and want to avoid crowds. If this is the case, that is too bad because they are throwing a party, and no one is here to enjoy it. Farson, we appreciate your preparations and are sorry things are so quiet. The hamburgers and fry bread and ice cream cones are some of the best I have ever tasted. If only more people knew about you. This is too bad. Thank you for your good intentions.

Tonight feels as if it will be cold. We plugged our RV into an electrical outlet and watched a movie. This is my first TV movie since April 17. I don't know if I feel deprived or relieved I have been away from the news. I have no idea what movies are playing, what songs are popular, what the world events are or even if there is a ten o'clock news program anymore. Certainly the world will go on without us knowing what is happening.

I do know that I am stronger and can walk farther without becoming fatigued. I know that we care about each other and feed each other and take care of each other. I know that it takes everyones help to push the handcarts through the sand and up a steep hill. I know that washing in a cold stream feels great on a hot day. I know that when the moon isn't out, you can see billions of stars on a clear night. And I know that Wyoming is full of sagebrush and wide expanses that go on for days and days and days when you walk the Mormon Trail. And I know that the Pioneers had to be strong and tough to do this. Our trek has been so easy in comparison with what they had to do. They had to be strong.