Our Huff Wagon Train Diary
Friday, January 7, 2005

Cierro Alto to Tower Camp, New Mexico

Excerpt from Huff's Diary, Wednesday, July 11, 1849: We drove nine miles during the evening and camped at night in a valley without wood or water and grass was scarce and dry. During the night Providence blessed us with a fine rain which was truly refreshing to our animals as well ourselves. It is only the second rainfall since leaving Fredericksburg. The members of the New York and Tennessee companies as well as my own are scattered all along the road in squads too suit convenience; all order and discipline has disappeared and every man is his own watch guard for the night. No pleading or entreaty can influence anyone of the three companies to perform guard duty and result will serious before we reach El Paso. Our road is hard and good.

From Fredy, Jacob, Mike, William

And a Fond Farewell to Socorro -- Slider Middle School Students

For once we finally woke up warm! We slept in a big tent heated by a stove. It was tough to get out of the sleeping bags. Breakfast was the best we've had so far. We ate french toast with syrup and bacon and potatoes and sausage. YUM!!!

The wagon ride was actually smooth today! (William fell asleep for part of it!) It was a lot different -- the landscape changed. It was mostly flat, with a little hill or mountain in the distance. We saw new cactus that looked like trees. We also saw yucca.

Red Dog is one of the outrider's pets. He accompanied us during the journey and rode in the wagon. Red Dog is a medium-sized dog that wore slippers and a red bandana. He goes everywhere his master goes and even jumped in the back of Jacob's wagon. He wore slippers today to protect his paws from the thorns and rocks along the trail.

Breakfast changed this morning but the lunch didn't. That's alright. It was cool where we stopped but some of us were afraid we might sit on a cactus.

Fredy drove the mules today along with other kids. To turn the mules to the side you have to pull pretty hard on the reins. Ray taught Fredy how to work the reins. Fredy got to drive all the way from lunch to our camp. He drove us into New Mexico! William walked a lot today.

Our camp tonight is in the middle of nowhere. Desert everywhere, vast desert as far as the eye can see. Emotions ran high when the Socorro kids left. The girls were sobbing their hearts out. The Dell City students will now take their place. The Dell City kids are a mix of sixth - eighth graders. It's strange. We don't know anything about them yet. That happened a lot to Huff -- he picked up a lot of people and some people left or died. He didn't know many of them before they joined up and they got into a lot of fights. We got along despite Huff's troubles. Maybe it's because they were adults and we are kids. We have more modern stuff to help us, like flashlights. They had more stuff they had to get through and situations to work through. So if they had to do something together, they may have gotten frustrated resulting in grouchy people.

The entertainment tonight was provided by Keith the Mountain Man. He talked about Texas and Indian cultures. He was in character and was really believable. He wore roughly-cut furs, chewing tobacco, musket balls -- and even a loooonnnnnngggg beard. He really taught us stuff and he knew his facts.

We're excited to get to know the new students. And we're a little homesick.

(Lauren was going to help with today's report but had to leave. Sorry, Lauren.)

Fredy: I'm a little homesick but I want to be right here, too.

Jacob: I'm torn between wanting to go home and wanting to be here. I think I'll still be here for a while.

Mike: The more involved I am, the happier I am. I am meeting more of the students and learning how to work with the mules. Mrs. Herron, who is typing this, says she really loves the vegetables and fruits that our farm donated for this trip.

William: I'm okay as long as we have food!

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

Doing Lesson, Trying to Beat Mr. Coate in the Rock Game

Today's Trail Ride

Plants We Saw


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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