Saturday, September 29, 2007

Martin's Cove

I had to go to Casper on Friday morning for a meeting. After, I decided to go over to Martin's Cove. It is about 50 miles from Casper, WY. I followed the North Platte River from Casper to the southwest. I imagined my ancestors making that trek on foot. What took me under an hour took them a couple days. I have never been to Martin's Cove, but have wanted to go there. It wasn't very crowded, only about 6 other people, but the missionaries gave me a nice tour and drove me on a little rover to the cove. I definitely want to go back with Page next summer and walk around the trails. If you have ever been on the pioneer trail in Wyoming you know how barren and bleak it looks. I'm sure many wondered if they made the right choice leaving their homes in the East or Europe. Their faith kept them going. And because of their faith and strength, I have a wonderful heritage. I was supposed to get home around 6 p.m. last night, but actually got home at 10:30 p.m. but it was well worth it.

This is Martin's Cove. It protected the Martin Handcart Company. It is protected from the harsh Wyoming wind by the hill in front of it, plus it sits back against the mountain. I always thought they were here when the rescuers found them, but actually they were farther back on the trail exposed to the snow and wind. The rescuers brought them to this spot because there wasn't enough room for all of them in the fort near Devil's Gate and they had to get them out of the wind. This spot is only a couple miles from Devil's Gate and the old fort. There was no food at the fort for them either.

Here is the Sweetwater River. This is the river that the Salt Lake Boys carried the Martin Handcart Company members across in Oct 1856. At that time the water had chunks of ice in it and they were snow bound. Just imagine how cold they were. They had no heaters or parkas. They were out in the middle of nowhere with little provisions. Just a few items on a handcart.

Sean walked across this river a few years ago when he did the Trek with the Bozeman Stake. This river has special significance to me because my great great great great grandmother died on the Mormon Trail somewhere around here. It was reported she died at the crossing of the Sweetwater due to illness. She was buried in an unmarked grave.

You are looking at Devil's Gate. I always thought the Pioneers came through Devil's Gate, but they didn't, they went around it. It was just another landmark on the trail that they would look out for. The Sweetwater River passes through this opening. I took this picture very close to the LDS Visitor's Center. Devil's Gate, Martin's Cove and Independence Rock are just a few miles from each other. I never realized they were all that close together.

Here is Independence Rock. This was one of the landmarks that Pioneers would look for. Many Pioneers etched their names into the rock. It is called Independence because Pioneers would try to reach this spot of the trail by July 4th.


Anonymous said...

Karl was just up there last weekend. Our stake will be going on a trek this summer. Thanks for posting the pictures. Karie

Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...

Mike, I want to go to Martin's Cove and experience this as well. Thank you so much for sharing with us this experience.

One of my favorite stories is Brigham Young standing at the pulpit of General Conference and discontinuing the conference. He sent the Salt Lake boys to Wyoming to rescue the Saints suffering so much.

I'm sorry your great-great-great grandmother lost her life there. At least she freed from that misery and welcomed into the arms of the Savior. She proved her worthiness and devotion, literally enduring to the end.