April 22, 1997
Location: Elkhorn River Crossing - 986 miles left, Nebraska - (nine rods wide, three feet deep) - 27 miles from Winter Quarters. Seven miles south and further west, over the Elkhorn River, members of the first company camped here April 11, 1847.
Summary: The second day on the trail Bennington Public School walks with us and eats lunch at our lunch site with us.
Journal entry: (Memories of sleeping out in the rain: Kodiak Island, the Alcan, last summer at Girls' Camp on Cedar Mtn., a make-shift blanket over the clothesline in my back yard when nine years old, the cabin porch at Panguitch Lake, on the beach at Mexico, in Scheaffers Field on the Mormon Trail...first night out.)
"But this thirty passenger wagon is big enough for both of us to roll out our sleeping bags. Then we'll both stay dry."
His reply was that he won't sleep that near to a female.
"But I'm old enough to be your mother!"
I lost. I dragged my bag and tarp out into the field. I slept very warm-- and mostly dry.
It was a soaking rain and I was glad to get up and go. But it was also pitch black and foggy. It took four calls to finally get the camp moving.
Drizzle and rain all day. It is mud, mud, mud, and more mud. We travel on dirt roads and with the horses and wagons ahead of us, they turn the road to mud with horse gifts.
Around noon we had a great surprise. The Bennington Public School sent school buses out to the trail with children from the second through sixth grades. They came out to ask us questions about pioneers, to help push the handcarts (that was neat! Those handcarts are heavy), see the wagons and horses, and talk to the cowboys.
Each class walked a mile with us, then they ate lunch on the trail with us.
I visited with Sandy Frye who works at the school. She gave me a lot of neat information about the school and children. The fourth grade studies Nebraska in their class and wanted to have first-hand experience about the history of the Mormon trail.
I talked with Emily Blankenship and Amanda Keiderling. They are both 12 years old.
Amber Beyer was dressed up in real pioneer clothes. She looked really great.
I took a picture of a whole class of kids. They stood in front of a huge picture that a lady had painted. She put this picture up in her front yard and all the children stood in front of it. The picture said "Good Luck on your trek. Mormon Trek Sesquicentennial-150 years.". It was as big as a school room wall. I asked one of the teachers to have some of the students write in to the Internet and tell us what they thought of being able to walk on the Mormon trek with us. I hope we hear from you, Bennington.
We walked about 16 miles today. We are camped at the Elkhorn River. It is a fairly wide river and quite deep. I'm glad we have a bridge. My great, great grandfather was in the first pioneer group and his duty was to make rafts for crossing rivers. In a letter he wrote, while camped at the Elkhorn, about getting 23 wagons across the river. It was April 15, 1847. He mentioned how concerned he was for his family who were still in Winter Quarters. He also mentioned that the Pioneer Camp was organizing into groups of ten. He was assigned to night watch as a guard.
My feet are very sore tonight and I have two blisters that are quite painful. And I want to sleep so bad. Everything I own is wet because we had rain all day. I am eating well. I "graze" all day long. That means I am always munching on something. I have jerky and dried fruit and granola bars. I also drink a lot of water. Even though it is raining and kind of cool, walking makes me sweat a lot, so I need to drink a lot of water.
Time to go to bed!!! HappyNetTrekking!!