June 8, 1997
Location: Guernsey, Wyoming - Location: 42:16:11N 104:44:28W Elevation: 4361 feet
Summary: Sunday, a day of rest. See the Guernsey Wagon Ruts
Journal entry: I was sitting on the North Platte River Bridge watching the sunrise. The mosquitoes were devouring me. Much to my surprise, three little deer came to cross the road. I was very still and they didn't see me at first. Then they just stopped and looked at me. I almost laughed. They looked like they had just gotten caught with their hand in the cookie jar. I softly said I wouldn't hurt them and they just walked off into the brush.
Today is Sunday and we get to sleep in. Right. If I could. We are in Guernsey. The National Guard is having maneuvers here this weekend and there are uniformed people all around. They also have their helicopters overhead and a lot of shooting going on up on one of the hills.
Sacrament meeting was at 10AM. It was such a lovely sunny day with enough breeze to keep the mosquitoes at bay and also to cool us off. I kind of hesitate in even telling about the next part of my day, but since this is my only journal for the whole trek, I guess I will write it. My sisters and my family will just say, "That's Margaret!" And I have a really hard time changing myself.....so here goes.
I am the sixth of seven children. When I was a little girl and Sunday rolled around, my mother would get us kids ready to go to afternoon Sacrament meeting. We had already gone to Sunday School in the morning, and the afternoon meeting on Sunday was usually later in the afternoon. You can imagine what it was like to sit in the chapel on Sunday afternoon in a building that wasn't air-conditioned.
Well, Mother would get us ready with strict instructions to my dad to get us there on time. She would then leave for choir practice which was always just before meeting. There were a few Sundays in the summer or Fall when my dad would just say, "Let's go!" We would all change back into our play clothes and off we would go to the canyons of the Wasatch Mountains surrounding Salt Lake City, and go for a hike. It was always so much fun. I remember being small enough to ride on my dad's shoulders, until my little sister was born, then I was hiking---along with the rest of the older kids. What wonderful memories they were. Of course, to a child, anything was better than sitting in a hot building on Sunday afternoon. My dad usually accepted my mother's wrath quite good-naturedly.
So, here I am at Sacrament meeting out in a gorgeous field in Guernsey, Wyoming, with a lovely breeze and good speakers and I hear my father call, "Let's go!" I honestly looked around to see where I could go that was any more beautiful. I just got up and left. I had to go.
It was a beautiful walk up the road and through a field of flowers and down to the river to soak my feet. The water wasn't even cold. It was getting hot and a little dusty and showers are few and far between when you miss them. I was sure the pioneers took baths in the river on Sunday, and probably washed clothes too. Have you ever swam in a lake or a river and had it just feel so good? Well, I have. So I just took off my skirt (I always wear pants under my skirts) and went in the river in my clothes. It felt so good. It wasn't cold.
The current was pretty swift, so after I floated down river a bit, I would walk back up- stream. When I stuck my feet out of the water, the sun was hot on them. There was just enough breeze to ripple the water a little and sparkle the sunlight. It was pretty hard to get out. I knew I had to go in the North Platte River just once on this trip, and today was the day. I should feel guilty, but I don't. Sorry, Mother. Thanks for the memories, Daddy.
Everybody told me the meeting was good. Gordon got up and gave a very inspirational testimony. I wish I could have heard it. Oh well.
This afternoon was full of activity. The Guernsey ruts are very close and a lot of us walked over the trail. Such an interesting thing to see. We also saw the next feature of the Odyssey channel. They are doing some wonderfully outstanding half-hour documentaries on the Wagon Trek. If you get the Odyssey channel, find out when these series show in your area. They are absolutely wonderful.
The kids had a kids rodeo with games and tug of war and had a ball today. It was such a fun, relaxing time.
It's hard to believe the trek is over half over. If I had my choice it would go on and on and just move on into other countries and continents, but that is not our purpose. We are a remembrance of our pioneer ancestors and as such, will do what they did, end our journey in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. I relish the spirit of the wagon train. It is such a strong, undeniable presence in my life. It breathes to my soul the truth that we represent, that Jesus is the Christ, that we are His brothers and sisters.
When people come here and tell me they feel something very strong and alive here, they are only feeling our Heavenly Fathers presence with us. And it is a wonderful feeling. The funny part is, we are just normal people with normal lives--just like the rest of the world. We are not strange or different. We are just people.