Our Huff Wagon Train Diary
Friday, January 21, 2005

Colonel's Camp on Clear Creek to San Saba Presidio and Menard

Excerpt from Huff's diary, June 15, 1949: The day before yesterday, June 13, 1849, we crossed a rapid stream or ditch of cool pure water. The water was so cold as to make my teeth chatter. It came gushing and dashing down the gentle slope of a gravely hillside densely covered with chaparral. We all were of the opinion that the water came fromt eh old side of the mission San Saga, anad that we were not far off from teh silfer mine which had been worked or wrougth long years past by the Mexicans and Inidans. We halted on the bank of the ditch or ravine and in company with Mr. Lippencott about six hundred yards from where we had crossed the ditch, we discovered a moss covered wall about twelve feet high built of sotne and cemented together. Other signs presented themselves so unmistakable as to conclude that we had really discovered the site of the long lost Mission of San Saba.

From Briana, Jordan (the girl), Jordan (the boy), Kara, Kenneth, Tyler, Victor, Zack

We woke up early this morning in the Colonel's Camp. It was so cold that frost covered our luggage that we had left outside the tents. The creek running alongside the camp was steaming. It looked neat. For most of us it was our first night in the tents. It was colder and a little rougher than sleeping at Fort McKavett. It gave us more of an idea of what pioneers went through.

Breakfast was hot pancakes, bacon, potatoes and hot chocolate. It was really good because there was ice on the tables and it warmed us up.

We took off on the wagons at 10:30 in the morning. There was another safety presentation because there were over a hundred students riding today. It was a wagon train of 10 wagons! We went 9 miles. A couple of the boys walked the whole way. Kenneth said it was good exercise. If you were riding the wagons seem to go slowly, but if you are walking the wagons seem to go faster. It's hard to keep up. Some of us got to drive the wagon. There were a couple of "Holiday Inn" wagons -- with rubber tires, shocks and one had a radio! It wasn't really roughing it in those wagons.

We stopped for lunch and fed our apple cores to the horses and mules. The horses and mules really wanted the apples -- our hands got "spitty."

We stopped at the San Saba Presidio. A presidio is a Spanish name for a fort. It was thought to be a mission. These were ruins, next to a golf course. The entrance was like a gate. At the side of the opening was a rock with Jim Bowie's last name carved in it. Several of us took pictures of his name. We saw the opening to a tunnel that supposedly runs into the walls of the presidio. The tunnel was supposed to allow people to secretly carry water from the river to the presidio.

We boarded the wagons and rode the rest of the way into Menard. In the town, a bunch of people came out and took pictures. We had to hold back traffic to make way for our wagons. We had papparazzi following us!

Once we pulled into camp, Mr Coate talked to us in the pavillion. Mr Coate read the part of Huff's diary where Huff talked about the very place we went to today, again proving that the diary was true. The Carrollton students took turns explaining various parts of the diary. Carrollton left right before dinner.

The local historical society treated us to a Texas brisket dinner with dessert! The dessert was good! The Menard students went home after dinner. Now we're down to Big Lake, Waco and California students.

Tonight we'll be sleeping in bunk bed dorms at Camp Menard. For everyone except California, this is our last night with the wagon train. It's going to be hard to leave. Fortunately we'll be contributing to the book, Walking William Pruit Huff's Trail.

Briana: It's been cold and it's exciting to do this because it's a lifetime opportunity.

Jordan (the girl): I'm happy that I get to be here but I miss home. It was harder for the pioneers, I think. I feel bad for them.

Jordan (the boy): Today was like the first day we experienced what the pioneers felt like. We roughed it. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Kara: It was a cold morning. I'm having fun but I'm ready to go home to my bed and my shower.

Kenneth: I miss my family and my math/religion teacher.

Tyler: I'll be glad but sad to be heading home.

Victor: I'm glad I'm one of the few that got to experience the wagon train. I learned that pioneer life was rougher than I thought it was, but I'm proud of myself for making it without getting too homesick.

Zack: We've been on the trail for about a week and this is going to be an experience I'll take home and hopefully remember the rest of my life.


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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