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 11, 1997

Location: Ayres Natural Bridge State Park, Wyoming - Location: 42:44:03N 105:36:42W

Summary: Short day and a practical joke.

Journal entry: We traveled 14 miles today. It was a short day. We got into camp around 12 o'clock. We are camped in a field. There are hills all around us. They are green and full of sage brush. Today a lot of people are on an emotional low, including myself. I think it is because we had two 30 mile days right in a row and it has drained us all. It had drained all the sugar out of our blood.

Finally after half the afternoon had gone by Laura and I went to go and visit Heber. We picked up his snake. Laura who is around 9 or 10, wouldn't hold the snake but she suggested that we go and show (scare) her mother. Little did I know her mother, Jane, was deathly afraid of snakes.

I put the snake up in my shirtwaist and headed off to their camp. The snake started to crawl around in my shirt. It felt very weird and cold and slithery. I squealed a little bit. When we got to their camp Laura asked Jane to close her eyes and hold out her hands, because we had a present for her. She closed her eyes and held out her hands and not 5 seconds later pulled them back and opened here eyes and said that we were up to something.

Laura looking as innocent as a 10 year old can said, "But mom we want to give you a present." She looked a Laura and said "No bugs." Laura said that she wouldn't give her any bugs. She started to close her eyes again and put out her hands and then changed her mind. I suggested she hold out her apron hand close her eyes. Jane agreed to do this she held out her apron and closed her eyes waiting for her great big surprise. I put the slithery 5 foot animal in her apron.

As soon as she felt the wait in her apron she opened her eyes. The first thing she did was scream. She even forgot she was holding her apron. She just screamed. She looked at me and said something like "you sphink." Then she said "That's a rubber snake isn't it?" The funny thing was it wasn't. I told her wasn't. This whole time she is still holding the snake in her apron. I looked at her and said it's a real one.

She looked at me like she didn't want to believe me for a couple of seconds. She then realized that I was telling her the truth. She started to scream again, only this time it was louder. I took the snake out of her striped apron. I held it out to her and asked her if she wanted to hold it. She backed away of course telling me no. She still in a way didn't believe me in that it was real. I had to hold out the snake so that she could see the split tongue of the snake slither in and out for her to believe me.

It rained a little bit in the evening. My best friend's family, who is on a mission, came to stay on the train for a day. I didn't know that they were coming. They had a care package from my mother which made my day. It was wonderful to see them all, especially so unexpectedly. The kids were great. We had tickle wars and laughed a lot. We seem to have a lot of tickle wars out here. The great thing is no one wins and no one loses.

It is amazing how much we are interdependent on each other on this train. We each are given many ways to serve. Usually when you are the one serving you don't notice as much. That night I had my opportunity to give many people the opportunity to serve. My things never made it to camp, so I'll I had were the things on my back. My friend's family donated an extra sleeping bag to sleep in for the night. Lisa donated her extra pair of pajamas and a blanket for me to use that night and the Anderson's kindly let my take shelter in their tent with then because the authentic group had leapfrogged to the next camp because they weren't allowed to camp in that campsite. I am very grateful to all the people who have helped me and the many others on the train. I don't know what we would do without them. I don't know what I would have done without them. I hope I can return the favor sometime---preferably soon.

I know that the pioneers depended on each other for many things. This experience has helped me to realize that I can't always do it on my own. We all need help every once and a while. It seems it is a lot easier to give than it is to receive. I wonder if a lot of the pioneers had to learn how to accept people doing nice things for them. I also wonder if it was hard for some of them. I'm sure a lot of them didn't have an easy time accepting help. Pride can get in the way. I wonder if I am learning some of the lessons that some of the pioneers had to learn. I'm sure I am. I hope I can take them in stride and have them help to make me a better person.