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 9, 1997

Location: Fort Bridger - 96 miles left, Wyoming - (You cross four gushing creeks, within half a mile, before you reach the Fort, and by traveling half a mile beyond the Fort, you will cross three others, and then find a good place to camp.) - 917 miles from Winter Quarters.

Summary: Millers Station to Ft. Bridger - a beautiful sight!

Journal entry: The wagon train pulled out of Millers Station and followed the county road for a few miles. It was a dirt road. Then the rest of the day was spent on paved roads. The train has almost 50 wagons now. It is longer than it has ever been. I can't imagine those wagon trains that had one hundred and two hundred wagons. Even if there was only one person per wagon, that is still one hundred people to just supply water for. Most of the wagons had families with them. That could easily be hundreds of people per wagon train.

Water alone in these parts is only in the rivers. I have looked at the rivers here and wonder about drinking the water. I would be very hesitant today to drink that water. No wonder there were so many water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid. And so many deaths from these diseases.

We have been having a lot of our walkers, especially, come down with flu-like symptoms this week. Some have gone for medical attention and are being diagnosed with dehydration. We are quite surprised because we almost always have plenty of water breaks. We carry good water with us and almost everyone does a container full of gatorade everyday. It seems to be that the most effected are the long-time walkers. I would have thought we would be OK by now, but the days are terribly hot and we are walking long miles-usually over 20 miles a day. We have been given a stronger electrolyte powder to put in our water. Hopefully this will help.

We also had a very strange medical problem. One of our walkers, Rob Race, thought he had bad shin splints. He went to the doctor yesterday. The doctor asked if he had been in a lot of sagebrush. I laughed at this. That's ALL we have been in for almost a month now. We live in sagebrush. We breathe sagebrush. We breathe the dust that lives on sagebrush. And we smell sagebrush. We walk through sagebrush. We sleep on sagebrush. If it were edible......I don't think so. I guess there are a lot of diseases from sagebrush and evidently he had a bad infection on his legs from something in the sagebrush. He is on antibiotics.

Then there is the Mormon Trail cough. I have that. It starts as a bad bronchitis and just lingers and lingers. Poor Freddy has been sick for two weeks. He is also on antibiotics and is now getting better. We have had accidents, horses step on kids, dislocated joints...thumbs, shoulders, etc. We are getting tired and we just aren't thinking as well and stupid things are happening....because we are just tired.

Fortunately we do not carry guns as did the pioneers of old. Firearms going off was a really bad problem in pioneer camps and a lot of people died just from accidental gunshot wounds.

We had a young boy bit by a rattlesnake the other day. He was bit on the foot but it didn't go through his shoe. We have had a lot of rattlesnakes along the trail and been very very lucky not to have more bites.

We do have nuisance things like mosquitoes and gnats. They are awful. But we have bug repellent. It is used by the caseful. We have made an interesting discovery....imitation vanilla as a mosquito repellent. You just douse yourself with it and everybody says it works. We tried drinking vinegar, but all it did was taste bad. It didn't work.

Washing with soap and shampoo attracts bugs. Maybe we are better off not bathing. Wish we could have fires. We have not been able to have any fires on the trail. We sit around citronella candles and burn the grass one blade at a time. Strange pioneers we are. We also love our mosquito netting on our tents.

We don't have Indian raids, buffalo stampedes, rancid food and bad water. I guess we have it pretty darn good. We don't even have to put up with the television set, although I've seen plenty of walkmans.

Today we went to one of the most beautiful places on our whole trek: Ft. Bridger. This has to be heaven. We have this huge fort area, with newly- mown grass and cute little creeks and we all fit. It is just a gorgeous place to have our camp. Our tents are in grass...not sagebrush and there are no lumps in our beds.

Ft. Bridger has a lot of history. It started with Jim Bridger. Later the Mormons owned the fort and later the US government took over.

One of the hazards of early life was drownings. With all of the river crossings, there was always the chance of drowning. A lady who works here said that a little child drowned in the little creek here about a hundred years ago. There are always hazards.

About a mile out of Ft. Bridger today the walkers were just so HOT. They were walking along the roadside just doing their duty. The big white water truck came along, turned on the sprayer that goes really high and just gave them all a nice spraying. He turned around and came back with the low sprayer. Everybody kneeled down and got drenched. They were all so grateful, and they walked into camp....COOL.

The evening was spent very leisurely. Many people have driven on in to Salt Lake for the day, and many of the train members have family who have driven out to the train to see their familites. We had Fred Gowens at the fort who gave a lively lecture on the history of Ft. Bridger. It was really informative.

There are the cutest little ground squirrels all over the fort here. The locals call them squeakers. They come out of their little holes and run around and go back home. One thing I have to say is that Wyoming has the most beautiful clouds. The clouds and sunset tonight was just incredible.

I am tired!!!! HappyNetTrekking!!