July 4, 1997
Location: Simpson's Hollow, Wyoming
Summary: Happy 4th of July!
Journal entry: We had a short walk today. We left Farson and 7AM with the wagons and walked about 10 miles out of town to Simpsons Hollow. The walk was a slow one as we had a large handcart company -- about 300 people.
Following the wagons was difficult because the trail was very dusty and walking on the two-track trail after the horses and wagons had rolled over the ground had just created a lot of loose dirt and dust. It has been awhile since it rained in this area of the country and it is dry.
As we roll along, the dust just fills the air and we are this moving cloud of haze. I recall stories of pioneers who commented on traveling through constant dust and having to put scarves and bandannas across their faces in order to just breath.
I walked some of the day with Michelle Tadje. She had contacts in her eyes and by the time the day was over, she said she was practically blind from the dust and tearing of her eyes. I held my apron over my nose and mouth most of the way. There was a little relief when a slight breeze came up, but it was really bad.
And then when we finally got into camp, everyone was covered with dust. We are so dirty! My children walked down to the river and went in, clothes and all. It really doesn't matter anymore. We are just dirty and dusty and any water is welcome. If you can't stand dirt, don't ever do this.
The people sitting on the last wagons were just covered with dirt. I just can't remember being so dirty. But..... but.... we had a wonderful field of old grass to camp in. We didn't have to put up a tent on sagebrush. It was wonderful. Small pleasures!
I was wondering how some of these kids get their laundry done, especially the kids who are here alone. I've decided they just don't do their laundry. Whatever is the cleanest of the dirty, they put on. We have a lot of kids, teenagers, who are here on their own. I guess it isn't unlike 150 years ago when parents died and left children for others to care for. Wendy calls us a refugee camp.
But, we look out for each other and take care of each other. If there is any semblance of normalcy out here, it is only because we try to care for those around us who might be having a tough time or don't have much to survive with. Cause some days, it is just survival.
No fires, or fireworks. Happy Independence Day, anyway. HappyNetTrek!