Samples of the hundreds of emails we got along the way!

Thank you for your interest and emails. Due to the overwhelming volume of emails, we can't post personal answers. We will pass emails along to the students as often as possible, but due to our often remote location, we are not able to access the internet every day. We will post questions and answers of general interest as we are able. Thank you for your understanding!

How can we obtain a copy of the diary?
You can purchase a copy from The Classroom Chronicles Press, 11053 North State Hwy 35, Van Vleck, Texas 77482 Copyright 2005 by David Ewing Stewart.

What do you do when it rains all day? Do they serve pizza on the wagon train trip?
We did not get any rain but if we did get a little rain it doesn't hurt the mules. We had pizza once so we could eat sooner, and once was for a celebration. Othe than that, we have stuff that they have. We don not have to do anything to get food except care for the animals and any other chores that need to be done.

What conflicts have you encountered on the trip, if any, and what has been the most exciting about the trip thus far?
We had several incidents such as we found a rattle snake with seven buttons, the wind has been blowing really hard and it was really cold at times. We also had a runaway wagon, but everyone is alright. We saw a herd of antelope.

How many mules do you have in the group?
We have 8 mules pulling wagons and one person rides a mule. Look at the Daily Digest for Jan. 10th and you will see the names of all of the mules.

What was Huff's diet when he made the trip?
While Huff was on the trip he did not eat much that was hard to get. He probably got flour from the towns, but other than that he would have hunted for food.

How did the pioneers feel about the journey? Is it similar to what they thought it would be like or much different?
I thought that this trip would be rough, but not like this. We almost never see a town. We always go around them. To be growing up around town, then get torn away from it for a month is rough. However we are doing this to prove the fact that people did go through the southern states and to prove that Huff's diaries are real.

Hi there. What an awesome experience for everyone. I was wondering if there were kids along on Mr. Huff's journey and if so, what did they do?
I am sorry, but there were no kids on Mr. Huff's wagon train.

Do you like the fact that there isn't much ambient noise other than your chatter and nature?
It is true there isn't much ambient noise in our camp. We are residing in a desert so there isn't much nature noise. It's true that our group does talk a lot and I kinda miss the city noise after awhile. It is very nice to get away from it all for about a week, but then you begin to miss the noises of civilization.

I had a chance to work with Mr. Coates on the Huff diary a few years back. I got to read the original and got to see all of the wonderful maps that Huff drew. My question to the students is one of mere curiosity. I have never seen the trail myself, I would like to know the students' impressions of what it looks like. What do they think it might have been like to travel that trail with Huff more than 100 years ago? A big hello to Bill Coates and Ronnie Zaragosa from Mr. Dumpelings history class at MLK middle school.
Well the expression on the kids' faces is a mixture of surprise and mystery. It's very desolate. There are great rock formations and weird shaped mountains. There is a place called Hueco Tanks. There is this very dark cistern that has lots of water. We went across mountains, abut it's mostly desert. Thank you for e-mailing me.

How is your journey going?
It's fun and cold!

What was Huff's diet when he made the trip? Nate, Lakeport Ca
Huff said that when he left on the trail, he was like a “walking skeleton.” But he didn’t mention what he ate on the trail.

How do the "pioneers" feel about the journey? Is it similar to what they thought it would be like or much different? Mrs. White's 7th grade class McSwain, Merced CA
It’s been fun! It’s colder than we thought it would be, and the trail is rougher every day. The trail we were on yesterday was the roughest trail Huff said he’d ever been on, and Mr. Coate said so too! There are a lot of us, and for some of us, it’s a lot like we thought it would be, and for others of us, it’s really different.

William, how is it going? Are you getting much rain like we've been getting in Merced? How is the algebra going? Have a good trip. Mr. Ragonut.
I'm doing good, Mr. Ragonut. We just got a little rain. The algebra is hard but I'm getting through. Thanks for writing. William Coate

Hi there -- why aren't we reading anything about the 9th Cav. Buffalo Soldiers that are escorting these children? What is their history? Can we see some pictures of them?
You can see pictures of them on the January 4, 5 & 6 pages! The children wrote about our modern day escorts on January 6. We will write more about this.

We want to wish everyone safe travels. Tell Ali we love her and miss her and to try and get in some pictures so we can see her in the daily activities. Sincerely, Ali's father. P. S. Tell Ali hello from her Mom and me and that we love her.
Hi Mom, Hi Dad - It's Ali . I love you. Say hi to the animals, my friends and the rest of the family. Tell Sr. Paulina our class can send questions and follow our trail. I miss you all, I love you. See you in a few weeks. Ali. p.s. I'm in many pictures and was T. V. interviewed today, 1-06-05 by Channel 4, CBS, El Paso.

Why did Huff choose the route that he did -- was it the most popular route for the time? Was Huff a popular figure during that time or just a regular person looking for gold in California. Thanks -- Merced, CA.
He started in South Texas, so the Southern Route was the most direct. Huff was a regular person, but he knew a lot of prominent and famous people in Texas. He was one of the original 300 colonists for the state too.

I noticed that on page #4 of William P. Huff's Diary; a Dr. Houghton is mentioned. Is he mentioned any where else in the books? If so, what do you know about him? Saw the wagon train today in Socorro.
We are sorry we don't know about him. If you find out something about him, please share it with us.

Hello! I live in the Austin, Texas area and am doing a self-study of the major Texas rivers. I have just been reading about the Pecos River and would be interested in where you are going to cross the Pecos River, and also what the river and surrounding area looks like at that point. Barbara (in my 50s but forever as student)
We'll be going to Horsehead Crossing.

What kind of clothing will the kids be wearing? I am also interested in how you will be eating. Will you be cooking your own food along the way or will the food be brought in? I am sooo jealous that you all are getting to take this fabulous trip. I know you will have a great time. I will be trying to follow along each day of your trip. Your route crosses the Western Cattle Trail between San Saba and LBJ State park. However, the Western trail would not have been a cattle trail when Huff came through that area. The cattle trail didn't really come into existence for another 15 years or so. Good luck with your trip. elderbob, near the Dallas/Ft Worth area.
We wear regular casual clothes. We aren't allowed to cook our own food. We may not cook it right. We will be eating regular foods such as oatmeal or pancakes for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. We had very good steaks or tri-tip beef for our dinner

Are you experiencing wet and cold? Have you discussed the materials chosen for clothing and the pros and cons of each material? Are the Buffalo Soldiers comfortable when the cold hits their wool suits?
We’re trying to stay warm, but it’s been hard! We asked the Buffalo Soldiers about their clothes, and they said they wish they could wear them everyday because they’re so warm! Their clothes are made of wool and are very warm.

Aidee how are you? Is everything alright?
Hi Family! I’m doing all right, but it’s getting colder. I’m fine, and I wish I could see you, but I’m having a lot of fun! My sleeping bag froze night before last! I’m not sick or anything though. Can you send me some more e-mails? Love, Aidee

What's up with Melva's hair?
Melva says “it’s the water!” It’s rained so much her hair is rusting!

Mik, we saw Mr. Coate on Fox 26 news this morning. Mr. Coate said it is very cold there. Are you warm and are you okay? All of us have been following the daily digest. You are on quite an adventure with a lot of daily duties to do. Hope you are sleeping well at night.
Hi Everyone! I miss you very much, and I’m okay. I’m staying nice and warm with my friends. I’m sleeping well at night and having lots of fun. Tell everyone at home I said “Hi” and for them to e-mail me as much as possible. I can’t wait to see you again soon! Love you lots, Mik

Why didn't you start from the Fresno, California area?
We didn’t start the wagon train in California because Huff came in two wagon trains. The first route he traveled was the Texas route, so that’s why we started in Texas.

Hello Adventurers: I am a friend of Jacob Sheeter's and hope he and all of you are having a great time! I wanted to ask about the plant life on the trail. Do you think it is pretty much the same as encountered by Mr. Huff, or has it changed? What edible plants have you found?
The area we’re traveling through was once grassland. There used to be grass as high as a horse’s belly, but it’s been over-grazed because of ranching. There’s still some grass, and a lot of cacti, greasewood, and mesquite—lots of small bushes with thorns. Some of the edible plants we've learned about are lecheguilla, yucca, prickly pear cactus pads, mesquite beans, and wild mustard.

Do you see different kinds of animals and bugs?
At our last campsite, we saw a pair of gray foxes. There are also collared peccaries, or javelina. We’ve also seen jackrabbits, and there are mule deer too. But it’s been so cold and windy that we haven’t seen too many animals yet!

What has the Huff adventure taught you about life in the 1800s and what has it shown you about your life now?
Our life now is so much easier! We don’t dress the same, and we have a lot of modern conveniences like heavy jackets, indoor heat, washing machines, and comfy beds.


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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