Our Huff Wagon Train Diary
Tuesday, January 4, 2005

From Socorro to Hueco Tanks State Historic Site

Excerpt from Huff's Diary, Sunday, July 15, 1849: About five miles west of Sierro Waco [sic] the road forks, the right hand leading to El Paso distant from the forks of the road twenty three miles. The left hand road leads to the town of Socorro, distant twenty miles from the forks and to which last named place we are making our way.

From Aaron, Lillian, Maria and Mikaela

Mr. Coate banged on the tents and woke us up early! He said we had chores to do. It was really cold and the girls wanted to get back in bed! But we roughed it out. We cleared our gear out of the tents. Then we had breakfast and then we had to pick up smelly horse manure (gross!). After breakfast we said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang a song.

We got ready to go to Socorro. We got assigned to wagons. Some of us got dressed up. Seven to eight kids were in each wagon. The walls were narrow so it was crowded! One kid got to ride up front. It was a bumpy ride and every bump made us jump up. Even our voices vibrated! It must have been more harsh for pioneer children because they didn't have as warm clothes. Plus all that they owned were in the wagons, so they may not have had a place to ride. It was like a parade going to Socorro. People came to see us. There were a lot of kids from the school waving to us. People came out of stores to wave to us.

When we got to the mission, we went around twice in a circle. There was a stage for people to give speeches. The mayor of Socorro came. The city council was there, and state representative, newscasters, reporters and even the Tribal Governor of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo (Tigua Indian Reservation). The mayor said he grew up with a saying about always thinking ahead and erasing problems and protecting our lives because we are the future. The California kids got certificates as honorary Stallions from Slider Middle School. We also got a flag that flew over the Texas Capitol on December 29, 2004 that we can take on our journey. Some of us were interviewed for the newspaper and the evening news.

We got to see the Socorro Mission. There was a beautiful alter with a painting of the Last Supper and two angels watching over them. The mission was really old. It is one of the oldest active missions in North America.

We had a surprise when we tried to go to our next campsite. It moved! It was late, so we had a "special' dinner and got to camp at the base of Hueco Tanks mountains. It was really cold and windy -- one of our tents blew over! We didn't know what it looked like, but we did know there was cacti. We were afraid we were going to run into one of them. We were tired, cold and ready for bed!

Aaron: I didn't like it on the wagon because it was crowded and bumpy. I think I would rather walk than ride in the wagon.

Lillian: I never realized how nice it was to make new friends like Maria.

Maria: I had fun singing really loud and annoying the boys in the wagon. We sang old American songs like "It's a Grand Old Flag."

Mikaela: When I got up this morning I was grouchy and tired and cold but then I toughened it out and had fun with my new friends from both Texas and California.

The following is a photo gallery from the trip. If you have questions, please contact us at education@tpwd.state.tx.us

First Morning in the Camp

Riding to Socorro Mission

Presenting the Colors

Dignitaries and many well-wishers

Lots of Interviews

Socorro Mission

New, Next Camp


This educational project is a partnership venture of Madera Unified School District, Madera, California; the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; the Texas Historical Commission; and the many generous and gracious communities along the route.

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