Hindsight Can Save a Life
At this phase of my journey, and I'm trying to run parallel with those who made the trip (1842-1845), they are still pretty content with their decisions to head west.
They might have experienced some rain, which would have been dreadful any way you look at it. If you were male, you were definitely outside, walking the team. Your clothes would be soaked, the mud would have been thick and hard to trudge through. If there was lightning, and thunder, they would have had to keep the livestock calm and moving forward.
Inside the wagon wouldn't have been much better. The women and the children would have ridden inside if the wagon train had to keep moving- which 90% of the time, they did.
Inside the wagon was cramped to say the least. Not a lot of space was given to comfort in lieu of bringing extra supplies and... stuff. It's amazing how much we value... stuff. Even me, I down-sized to a quarter of what I had in my last camper and looking around, I still have so much excess! I might need it later... lol. I guess we'll see.
The canvas that covered all the stuff, was protecting it as best it could, but at the time, they didn't have a lot of treatments to help keep out the water, and those that they DID have, were not common knowledge to the common folk. (Plus they didn't have YouTube... )
So the inside would not only be cramped, but if you so much as touched the canvas, it would "break the seal" and begin dripping on your dry goods. Plus the smell. The first rain, probably fine... but every rain after that, would begin to smell musty and moldy. And if the flaps are closed at both ends, that hot CO2 and musty stench, makes an uncomfortable combination.
But, like I said, at this point, they were still happy go-lucky campers off on adventure.
But they had NO idea of what was coming.
Since I chose the early years, everything will still pretty much unknown. They really only had one- maybe two?- books on the subject and letters from those who had made the full journey had only just begun to trickle in. But were not accessible to everyone. (No face book!) Letters were shared, and sometimes printed to share news with everyone. (Narcissa Whitman's letters got all the women believing the trip would be lovely!)
I have tried not to read TOO far ahead or schedule things way in advance because I too, want to see and experience things for the first time. But I DO know that hardships are coming. And it's true, I don't HAVE to face them, but there are some that I want to make it through the experiment. Like the food, for example. I bought most of the items on their list that should have sustained them for the entire journey, with a few exceptions along the way. (They would be able to hunt for meat, and fish - let the records show I have ZERO intentions of doing either- and they could pick up a few supplies from four different forts along the way. (Fort Kearney was built AFTER "my" trip- so that's already passed.)
I have 24 pounds of bacon that I haven't touched yet. I'm afraid of tapping into it! I'm "afraid" that I might run out. The stories that I have read, many had to live on coffee and morsels of bread, most of the cows had stopped producing milk, no one had fresh food, and little to no ammo to go hunting.
I can't UNknow these things, and so I eat sparingly... (It's weird, because I'm actually GAINING weight because, my body already assumes that I'm starving and so its gone into self- protection mode. My modern self is none to happy with this.)
I do have the modern conveniences of a freezer and a non-leaky canvas roof, so I can be certain that my dry foods will all stay dry. Plus, I have modern storage too, so I won't have the extra "protein" of little boll weevils, either. I KNOW that I won't starve. But I think it's interesting, that my brain is thinking that it might be a possibility. (I find that really cool. Because it knows what's coming. And it's only point of reference is times of peril. )
I have pulled out my first one pound package of bacon... it has begun.
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