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

July 23, 1997

Location: Salt Lake Valley (the right place), Utah - The end destination for the trek across the plains.

Summary: Wagon parade.

Journal entry: I woke up and went to talk to Heber, who was underneath his handcart. We talked for around and hour and then he fell back asleep underneath the handcart. He had only had 5-6 hours of sleep. I read my journal that was on the Internet because my mother let me borrow her copy of what I had written. It was the first time I had seen what I had written on paper. I soon got sleepy after reading up to May 30th and fell back asleep. (I had only had around 5 hours of sleep as well.) We woke back up around 2 hours later because the news crews had arrived. They were interviewing everyone who had gone all the way from Omaha to Salt Lake.

Later, when it was time to get my vehicle down to the fairgrounds, I loaded my things, Heber's and Jon's because they needed a place to store their things. I followed Amy, Cyndi and Nathan down to the fairgrounds. We dropped off the vehicles and hurried to drive back so we would be in the 23rd parade that was arranged just for the wagon train. By the time we got back up to the park the train was gone. They had left early for once and we were late.

We drove the trail that they were supposed to be on. We soon came upon the cars that were backed up for a while. We, everyone except Cyndi and Nathan, jumped out of the car and booked it (ran) to find our place in the train. We ran for around 2 1/2 blocks and came upon the wagons. We then realized that the wagons were behind the handcarts. We had to run past around 30-40 moving wagons and then past around 10 handcarts to our place at Heber's handcart. This was down a relatively steep hill. My shoe laces kept coming untied.

Many people looked at us and many of the participants on the wagon train laughed and joked with us for missing it. Mike Dunn joked that he didn't leave us behind on purpose. We then continued our walk to the city and county building in downtown Salt Lake City. When we arrived we had to wait for a while right next to the library just so we could be on time. Usually we run a little bit late. Today was unusual in that we were about 15 minutes early. My feet really hurt from yesterday, but it felt good to be around the people I've come to love and became a family with. I knew that this was soon coming to an end.

Someone had made a very impressive cake. It was made with 1,200 eggs and took 70 sheets to make. It was huge. It reminded me of a size of a small swimming pool. It was HUGE!!! It had wagons and decorations on it. It was a beautiful cake.

I didn't hear most of the speeches given because I was going around trying to arrange and tell everyone about an activity we are having on the 25th. The only way to get an activity planned and people going is by telling people by word of mouth. I was spreading it by word of mouth. After the prophet spoke we left the City and County building and made our way the the fairgrounds.

After we had gone a couple of blocks we saw a McDonald's. The lead cart asked Mike Dunn the leader of the handcarts, if they could go through the drive-thru with their handcart. Mike gave his permission. Everyone was 'hoopin' and hollerin'. Everyone was pumped up. It was great to see these modern day pioneers so pumped up and doing something modern.

Since Heber's handcart was the 2nd handcart, we were now the lead handcart. I was pulling with Jon Dew. It felt great to be the lead handcart. It took the handcart at the drive-thru a long time to catch up because there had been a line at the drive-thru. We got to be the lead handcart for the whole way in because when the handcart did catch up it just stayed in the back of the line. By the time we were nearing the fairgrounds I was wondering when we were going to get there because my feet hurt so bad. I wondered how much further I could go. My legs were just fine, but feet were aching balls of flesh. It was my left foot. It had a really bad blister on it that had been filled up with rocks the day before at This is the place when I had pulled the handcart barefoot. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other going the regular pace.

It's amazing how we arrived in the valley, an 8 mile day, and the next day my calves were sore. I realize that we basically ran down the mountain going into the valley, but you would think your feet and legs would hurt more after a 30 mile day than a 8 mile jog. I know that the Lord truly helped our bodies on this journey. We could not have made it without his help. We could feel his guiding hand and help every step of the way. I am truly grateful for his help. There were many times that I needed it.