Our Huff Wagon Train Diary
Monday, January 10, 2005

To all moms, dads, and family of our travelers: everyone's fine and no one is hurt. The weather is much warmer. The kids are sleeping in sleeping bags rather than on cots now, and share a large tent with girls on one side and boys on the other. There is a stove in each side, and one or two teachers on each side of the tent, next to the stove. Food is masterfully prepared in a cook wagon sometimes over a campfire, sometimes over a stove. We have fresh fruit and vegetables every day. The wagons are sound, the staff able, and the kids are amazing. They are writing in their journals daily and having lessons with Mr. Coate. All send their love back home to you.

Cornudas del Alamo, New Mexico

Excerpt from Huff's Diary, Sunday, July 8, 1849: With the exception of the mesquite, the bushes affording us shade were beyond the classification of our botanists. They were the first green growth of the kind that any of us had ever seen and seem to be the product or growth peculiar to the soil, the saline atmosphere, and the isolated geographical position which they occupy. Wood plentiful for cooking purposes. Grass dry and scarce. The road is improving.

From Amanda, Monica G., Monica R., Sebastian, Yvette

The morning was cold but our tent was warm. As we started packing we were excited for the trip that was coming up. The weather was nice and sunny. Yeah!! Breakfast was oatmeal and fruit.

As we hooked up the mules, Samson didn't cooperate. Today he resisted putting the bit in his mouth. We have five wagons on our trip. Each wagon has a set of mules or horses and a wagon master. Wagon One's wagon master is Ray. The mules are Cleta and Woody. Wagon Two's wagon master is Rick, with mules Darlene and Ann. Wagon Three has Samson and Goliath with Doug as the wagon master. John is the wagon master for Wagon Four with Thelma and Louise pulling us. The last wagon has horses instead of mules. Kelly is the wagon master and Comet and Dude are the horses. We all get to take turns driving the wagons with the wagon masters.

The ride today was bumpy and long. It was pretty hot outside. And it was a trip like no other.One of the adults had a diabetic attack. The medical staff took care of him right away. A car came for him. After we drove a little longer we saw a two foot rattlesnake crossing the road. It crawled off quickly. The nurse gave us a speech about what to do if we run into a a snake and that she doesn't kid around.

The horse-drawn wagon, when we were going down a gully, put its brakes on so loud that it scared one of the wagon's mules and it took off. Rick saw and moved his wagon out of the way. Eddie and Brenda, the outriders, stopped the mules. Everyone in the wagon, except for one, wanted to do it again!

When we arrived at camp, we saw a beautiful lake by the ranch. The water was clear. But as we got around the corner we saw it was a regular desert. Mr. Coate had us compare and contrast our trip with Mr. Huff's. We realized that it was not that much different, except for the conveniences we have.

After dinner the adults gave us our own campfire. As it got darker we went to the left side of the tent and saw the Dell City lights. In the tent that night, the boys gave the the girls a shadow show. There was a lantern on the boys' side that shone through the tent wall. The boys made dogs fighting each other, batman and showing off their muscles. It was really hilarious.

Otis, one of the adults, held a real buffalo head and made a bear noise as he poked the head into our tent. The boys didn't get scared except for one. Some of the girls got scared. We went outside and gave Otis a little piece of our mind. Red Dog, our mascot dog, came into the girls' tent tonight to sleep with us.

Amanda: It was fun today!

Monica G: It was a cool day.

Monica R: It was fun and everybody had a good time today.

Yvette: I wish my friends could have been here to experience today.


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


Credits

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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