June 11, 1997
Location: Ayres Natural Bridge State Park, Wyoming - Location: 42:44:03N 105:36:42W
Summary: Douglas to Natural Bridge -- Dust, wind, and only 13 miles.
Journal entry: I woke up this morning refreshed but still weary after walking almost 60 miles in two days. There were various rumors running around camp as early as 4:30 AM. One rumor was that we were going to leave at 8:00. Another rumor said that the walkers would still leave at 7:00, as normal. By the time I was up and around, I had talked to enough people to determine that there is no good source of information.
We began our walk and soon found the road very hilly. The wind was blowing incessantly, and my hat kept blowing off. Mine was not a unique problem -- there were many hats blowing off. (A fallen object in a handcart company is not very safe; the wave of people and wheeled vehicles is comparable to a stampede of wild buffalo. Don't try to stop and pick it up; rather, run and get out of the way. Pray that someone behind you will see it and pick it up.) The smart people had strings for their hats. The women are the smartest -- they always tie their bonnets.
After about 4 miles, we got onto a dirt road. Now the wind was picking off not only hats, but topsoil. The dust was tremendous. I can still taste it on my teeth and lips. It is gritty and gets in your hair and ears and nose and eyes and all over your face.
We are camped in a small field full of sage brush. The wagons are circled very tightly, because there is not much room. Most of the support vehicles are parked out on the dirt road.
A few of us piled into Margaret's motor home to go back to Douglas and do laundry. On the way back, we stopped at the natural bridge. It is the only natural bridge in the US that has water running beneath it. It was a quite a sight -- bright red rock, a peaceful stream, green grass and flowers around. We would have stayed there to camp, but we talked to the caretaker, and he said that he couldn't let us out in the morning until 8 AM. That would not work, you know, because we have to get up at 4:30 and leave by 7 AM. So, we resorted to go back to the dusty patch of sagebrush for the night.