June 22, 1997
Location: Independence Rock - 314 miles left, Wyoming - [Sweetwater River]. (In low water the river is easily forded.) It has a peculiar shape and magnitude. There are many names of visitors painted in various places. on the southeast corner. 698 3/4 miles from Winter Quarters.
Summary: Thoughts from Steve Sorenson.
Journal entry: Steve Sorenson writes:
This is the first time I have been able to put in an entry. The reason for that has a lot to do with my lack of time and very little to do with my access to the computer.
I oversee the authentic camp that travels with the train and we have had some amazing experiences this past week. As a group of us sat on top of Independence Rock and looked around at the panoramic view of the world around us it was an awesome sight. I couldn't help but think that the Pioneers must have thought it was a view of the Gods.
The Pioneers of the nineteenth-century were a land bound people. They didn't have any chance to get into the sky and look down on the world as we are used to. To be able to get above the world and look down on it was a unique vista to them as it was to us.
As the sun set in the West, I thought of the Pioneers and their ability to look back for miles at where they'd been and on to the craggy mountains ahead. It must have been rejuvinating and frightening at the same time. From there we went on to Martin's Cove.
A number of us re enacted the crossing of the Sweetwater by the rescuers of the Martin Handcart Company. Three of us carried about ten people across the river. The water wasn't cold and the weather was warm. It was still an amazing struggle. When I spoke with the others and we thought about doing that in the winter with chunks of ice floating down the river it was impossible to imagine.
We have now been up in the high lonesome of Wyoming. The wind blows strong and hard till you are tired of it. When it stops, the mosquitoes come out and swarm so thick that you wish for wind. It is a constant cycle of dissatisfaction. However, despite the conditions, we are beginning to unlock some of the secrets of this trail. That is the amazing thing about the wagon train. The secrets of the trail are only unlocked through struggle and sacrifice.