We've passed by Martins Cove many times enroute to/from my brothers home. This year we decided to stop and check it out. I'm glad we stopped. The boys had fun pulling the little handcarts. We got the scoop on doing day hikes but decided we weren't prepared this time. Part of the hike can be done pulling the handcarts but the last half is a foot trail only and we didn't have our kiddy backpack with us. It is something I would like to do with my kids and so we will be better prepared next time.
Can you imagine the difficulty those pioneers faced walking day after day. I've often pondered at how I would do it at all yet alone with a child that cannot walk and a child that doesn't sit in a handcart without a Bumbo chair.
In a journal entry by George E. Grant (October 1856)
"It is not much use for me to attempt to give a description of the situation of these people...but you can imagine between five and six hundred men, women and children, worn down by drawing handcarts through snow and mud; fainting by the wayside; falling, chilled by the cold; children crying, their limbs stiffened by cold, their feet bleeding and some of them bare to snow and frost. The sight is almost too much for the stoutest of us; but we go on doing all we can, not doubting or despairing" (George E. Grant, as quoted in LeRoy and Ann Hafen, Handcarts to Zion: The Flag of a Unique Western Migration, 1856–1860, , 116-117).
When I read stories of all that the Pioneers endured to bring their families west, I am in awe. I can't imagine going through that and watching my children suffer so much.
It was good for the boys to visit the site. This picture was taken with a view of Devils Gate in the background. Devil's Gate is a narrow cut made by the Sweetwater River through an immense rock with sides measuring three hundred seventy feet in height and more than a quarter mile in length. It was here that the suffering members of the Martin Handcart Company were brought by the rescuers before being carried west to the Salt Lake Valley during the bitter winter of 1856.