Art Trip: Day 2

Day 2 was camped at Scottsbluff, WY while our adventures of the day took us first to Chimney Rock then to Martins Cove.

Pioneers needed landmarks such as Chimney Rock to help guide them along their way. 

Ever heard of "Wee Granny"? She was born as Mary Murray Murdoch but most people called her 'Wee Granny' because of her stature, at just 4'7". On the ill fated Martin Handcart Company, Mary, age 73, walked a long road to Zion but ended just short at Chimney Rock.
Her last words are still remembered because it shows her goals, dedication and commitment:
"Tell John I died with my face toward Zion."

Just up the road was Martins Cove. Devils Gate awaited us while we entered the doomed land where many pioneers lost their lives. Martin Handcart Company and the Willie Handcart Company are best known for starting too late on their trek to Utah and getting caught in a blizzard near Fort Laramie. This cove, now known as Martins Cove, was where those companies tried to keep shelter. Many perished but most survived because of an inspired rescue. 

Brigham Young was informed that the Martin and Willie Handcart Companies were still on the trail. Astonished by the news, he called upon others for help to go out immediately. Both handcarts with found and rescued. Not to say many lost their lives. 

John Chislett of the Willie Company wrote: Cold weather, scarcity of good, lassitude and fatigue from over-exertion, soon produced their effects. Our old and infirm people began to droop, and they no sooner lost their spirit and courage than death's stamp could be traced upon their features. Life went out as smoothly as a lamp ceases to burn when the oil is gone. Death was no long confined in its ravages to the old and infirm, but they young and naturally strong where among its victims. Men who were, so to speak, as strong as lions when we started on our journey, and who had been our best supports, were compelled to succumb to the grim monster. These men were worn down by hunger, scarcity of clothing and bedding, and too much labor in helping their families. It was surprising to an unmarried man to witness the devotion of men to their families and to their faith, under these trying circumstances. Many a father pulled his cart, and his little children on it, until the day preceding his death. I have seen some pull their carts in the morning, give out during the day, and die before the next morning...

If they didn't loose their lives, many were left handicapped from frostbite. No one paid a higher price to live in the West than these people. 

Visiting these places gave me a new perspective on life. I was there were many perished or suffered greatly. Yet I do not suffer the same trials they went through. I have my own. Still, we both want the same thing. To came back to Zion.

I hope our last words or thoughts can be like Wee Granny: "Tell John I died with my face toward Zion."

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