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

June 19, 1997

Location: Martin's Cove - 302 miles left, Wyoming - Not mentioned in Clayton's journal. Fifty-six members of the Martin Handcart Company died here while waiting out a fierce storm, November 1856. - About 707 miles from Winter Quarters.

Summary: A real pioneer day.

Journal entry: Today was a rest day in Martin's cove. We had a testimony meeting at Martin's cove at 9 am. It was an amazing testimony meeting. Feelings were so strong and right on the surface. It also was a beautiful day.

After the testimony meeting the authentic had an appointment with the Odessy and German film crews. We were reenacting the two boys who carried over their group over the sweetwater river and then died. We were supposed to look cold because it was in the dead of coldness for them. We were steaming. We had on all the winter clothes when it was hot and sunny outside.

Finally when the Germans were done, Heber waded back and asked who was next to go across the river (He had only carried one across the whole time.) Cyndi was next. While he was carrying her across. Wendy, Cyndi and I started to go across the very full and fast moving river. It was hard for us. We had these very full skirt and they were like sails. It just carried us down stream.

We came back to the original side and tried again. By this point Steve, Mike and Heber were on their way back. They assisted us in crossing the river by picking us up. Of course we were still in the river, but our dresses weren't dragging us or them. When we all got to the other side we frolicked in the river. The Odessy guys were still filming. It was great fun.

Then someone yelled Grab the soap. Someone did. It was the best. It was the authentic soap and that was it. It was our first co-ed bath. We bathed with all our clothes on. This was how we washed our clothes as well.

Out here in Wyoming when the wind blows forever it blows the dirt around and for some reason 4 days without a shower seems like 2-3 weeks without a shower. For the first time we were exactly like the pioneers. We were feeling just like they would at the time and did exactly what they would have. For the first time we were acting authentic without even planning it or trying to act authentic. It just happened. It was like we truly were in 1847 at that time rather than 1997 trying to act like 1847.

It was an experience that I will never forget that made one of the biggest impressions on me that I've had on the entire trek. It also was an incredible bonding moment for all of us that bathed. We knew that we had made a kinship with the pioneers of old. They knew it and we knew it.

We had a dance to end this perfect day. It was the best one of the trek so far. All of the young people were there and were dancing. We started out like we usually do. Small, but everyone soon joined in and it was wonderful The band was really goo, and they had DJ music while they took breaks. It was the best fun I've had dancing.