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Posted 13 Sep 2001   For week ended September 14, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 10Sep01

By Rosemary Pollock

San Bernardino Trek Recreation Begins

SPANISH FORK, UTAH -- Wagons of the Heritage Trails Celebration rolled out of Spanish Fork Saturday to follow the path of men, women and children who left Utah to found San Bernardino, Calif. in 185l. The six wagons, one surrey and dozens of horses began their 600-mile trip across the Southern Route of the Old Spanish Trail.

Brigham Young had authorized a couple of dozen families to settle in California, but was upset when he found hundreds of people gathered at Payson preparing to cross the Mojave Desert. Heber C. Kimball tried to persuade them to stay in Utah, but 437 settlers decided to head for the Golden State with Amasa Lyman.

Historian, Leo Lyman, descendant of Apostle Amasa Lyman who led the first colonists, concludes that Brigham Young "never again held cordial feelings toward the California colony" and wanted to shut it down, which he and the Mountain Meadow Massacre did in 1857. In his book "The Arduous Road: Salt Lake to Los Angeles, the Most Difficult Wagon Road in American History," Lyman reveals that the trail had only 10 watering holes in 300 miles, thus the term "Pioneer pathway across the Mojave Desert deserves the distinction."

Modern trekkers will spend 50 days following wagon master Paul Bliss south and west as they emulate the determined explorers, Mexican traders, gold rushers, Mormon pioneers and apostates, soldiers, mail carriers, freighters and freedom-seeking slaves who took the road to California. "We like wagon training, " said Carol Condi of Beaver, who made the Mormon Trail trip with her husband, Vern. "We are interested in historical things."

Unlike the first trip, this will be an all-white group. In 1851, about two dozen African Americans joined their former owners to make the trek through what is now Las Vegas and end up in present-day San Bernardino. Ten Jewish merchants, traveling with the Mormon wagon trains would follow them in 1852. The Jewish settlers would bring the first Torah to the area. American Indians and Latino settlers also lived in the area, creating a diverse mix of cultures and religions.

Many of those who left Spanish Fork are veterans of other modern wagon trains. Some participated in the 1996 Utah centennial trip and the Mormon centennial ride across much of the United States in 1997. The youngest member of the group is 4-year-old Amy McFarland of Sequim, Washington, who joins her three older sisters on the 600-mile journey.

"We taught about the pioneers," said Amy's mother, Trudy McFarland, who home schools her children. "But living it firsthand is the only way they can know what the pioneers went through. We hope this will make our family stronger and closer."

The trekkers will follow the original path as closely as possible, employing alternatives to avoid restricted private property, bomb-littered federal land and a power plant built on top of the trail. Re-creators are encourage to used period dress as much as possible. CD players, tank tops, shorts, thongs and baseball caps are not allowed. To follow the re-creation of the event, log onto the group's Web site at .


Wagon Train Sets Off on California Colony Route
Salt Lake Tribune 9Sep01 N6
By Tom Wharton: Salt Lake Tribune

Salt Lake - L.A. A Tough Trail For Pioneers
Salt Lake Tribune 9Sep01 N6
By Will Bagley


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