Faith Greater Than Pain

September 23, 2009

Friday, October 09, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — woodenunderpants @ 6:57 pm

Salt Lake City

Finally home! I’m sorry that I hadn’t finished my blog after arriving at Fort Bridger and for some, who don’t live in Salt Lake, they have requested that I complete my blog so they can know what happened, so here is “The Rest of the Story”.

The morning I left Ft. Bridger, the countryside was covered with a heavy fog which made for a cold walk without a coat and it also made for some amazing photos, one in particular I believe, is the most inspiring photo that I have ever taken in my 60 years.  I wasn’t able to follow the exact trail at this point because of restricted BLM and private land, so I took an adjacent dirt road that used to be the old Lincoln Highway, which was the first cross country road in America.  I have walked a number of miles on the Lincoln Highway since leaving Iowa City.  The weather was great for the most part which helped when I was trying to climb up two very steep 6% long hills.

I ended up camping alongside the road in a dust pit but I had no choice.  I walked about 18 miles that day and was heading for Evanston in the morning.

Upon reaching the beginning of one of my monster hills, I met some ranchers that were loading cattle and we had a great conversation and took some photos.  He is a Bishop in Evanston and I will going back to his area to do a fireside in the future.

I made it into Evanston and I camped at the home of one of Shirley and Gaylyns friends.  It was a little cold, but mentally, being this close to the valley, I have this excitement and adrenaline that is fueling my feet.   I had to walk about 12 miles on Interstate 80 because there are no secondary roads going down Echo Canyon, which is the canyon that enters Utah.  The trail weaves back and forth down the canyon, so there really wasn’t any alternative.  The Highway Patrol was informed and everything was Kosher.  I was also met on my days journey just outside of Evanston by an old friend, Dave Nelson, who was in Provo for a convention and came out to wish me well and deliver me two gift cards to Kentucky Fried Chicken. Yahoo! Dave knew how hungry I had been over the months and was trying to find a way to deliver some KFC to me on the trail for at least the last month, so I finally accepted his generous gift of two KFC gift cards, which I have already consumed with delight.

Speaking of weight loss, the last time that I got to weigh myself was in Evanston and it said that I had lost 48 pounds, but I still had another 10 days or so to go to Salt Lake and I was losing about ½ pound a day, so I am sure that I lost at least 50 pounds.  Well now that I am in the valley, I immediately gained as much as 5 pounds from eating everything in sight but then I have lost it all because I got the flu and now weigh less that when I did when I entered the valley.  I am working out on a daily basis and eating a lot of protein to try and regain some of the muscle mass that my body ate up in the process, but so far… no progress.  I’m looking fairly thin right now.

So… meanwhile, back at the ranch… I ended up camping at Castle Rock in the canyon alongside the  Interstate.  That evening I was joined by David and Rebecca Kaylor and their children.  They will walk with me on Saturday.  They have been great friends of mine for a long time.  I was also joined by Lisa Dawson, my cousin and Rachel Dawson, her daughter in-law.  They too will walk with me for a day.  I enjoyed a belated birthday party that night in David’s huge tent and I received some wonderful gifts, like a chiropractic adjustment, a pedicure, even though I’m not sure about that, and some razors and some shaving cream. They sure have cute kids.

Continuing down the canyon, I had about 8 more miles of Interstate and then I could get off onto a secondary side road which became a lot safer for everyone.  Echo Canyon has some great history and beautiful scenery.  Do a Google search for Echo Canyon history and read about all of the pioneer history.  It was the route that the Mormon and California trails and the Pony Express went through, also it still has some of the original rail bed of the first trans-continental railroad.

I spent my second night in the canyon (it’s long) and took the day off to go to church in Hennifer.  As always, I cause quite a commotion when I come to church looking like I do.  I had a great lesson that was given by Brother Ovard.

My walking companions had already left the day before but now I was joined by Tyson Kaylor, a young man who was preparing to go on a mission for the LDS church and he would be with me for the next 4 days.  It was good to have all of the company.

Tyson and myself then walked Monday from Saw Mill Canyon where we slept, (and it was getting pretty cold out at night) to Hennifer and camped overnight at the city park where it got down to 22 degrees that night! Yeow!  That’s cold when you only have two small blankets.  We also feasted on all the apples that we could pick from the two apple trees at the park.

This next days climb would be tough.  We were starting our climb from the valley floor and climbing over the Wasatch Mt. range.  It would be nothing but uphill all day long.  I can see why when some the handcart pioneers got to this point that they cried.  Their will to go over these mountains was almost more than they could bear.

I was continuing to have problems with my digestive system with the liver and gall bladder problems and was having debilitating stomach pains all day.  It was miserable. I wanted to camp at East Canyon Reservoir but there were no camping signs everywhere so I/we continued our climb and walked two days into one and walked to Mormon Flats which is at the base of Little Emigration Canyon which is probably one of the toughest climbs on the trail.

We spent two days at the Flats because I was ahead of schedule and so Tyson and I hiked the canyon, 4 ½ miles up, just to see if a handcart could be muscled up this over-grown steep incline.  After walking it, there was no way that we could chop our way to the top.  There was just too much brush and trees that had grown up in the 150 years or so since this had been used as an emigration trail.  It was a beautiful canyon though.

So after being frozen at 25 degrees that night and being bothered by wild animals in the camp that were coming out of the willows, we never ended up sleeping at all because it was just too cold.  Since we had already hiked the canyon the day before, we transported the cart to the top of Big Mt. and was joined by my previous walking companion, 16 year old Reiker Green.  Now comes the fun part, because the wagons and handcart trail goes directly down the west face of this steep mountain, they would chain their wheels and put a drag pole on the wagons and the carts would rope the wheels. So… I had two strong young men and I was going to go down this face, just as the pioneers did.  I tied a rope to both sides of the axel and had the boys pull back for drag as I maneuvered this cart down the hill.  It was exciting but a bit dangerous also.  It was tough keeping this 250+ pounds in control (I had loaded extra supplies into the cart) and at one point, the incline was so steep that it rolled the handcart onto its top, nothing broken, but we then had to roll it one more time to get it righted.  All in all, it was a great moment in the trek.

I then continued down the valley and tried to camp at the top of Emigration Canyon but discovered that there was no camping anywhere, so I ended up sleeping in my truck for the next two nights because I had to take another day off because I was still one day ahead of schedule.  This was the tough part because now I could see the valley and had to wait.

Finally on the morning of Saturday, September 26th, I left to walk the remaining 11 miles of my historic and trying trek.  What an honor and privilege that it has been for me to walk in those same footsteps. To feel of the spirit of my grandmother and her children and countless pioneers, to understand a little more intimately what it takes to do what they did.  My heart was full as I walked these last few miles and felt the spirits of so many that had gone before, accompanying me these last few moments.  Moments that can never be re-lived.  I got my witness, as most pioneers did, that I was willing to give everything, even my very life, if that was what was required of me to walk this trek again.  You may not understand that feeling because I think that you can only fully understand if you have “walked the walk”.  There is no greater love that I have than to those that sacrificed so much on my behalf.  I wish that I could share with you some of the very personal and spiritual moments, but they are too sacred to mention at this time.

I want to thank everyone that I met along the trail that taught me so much about friendship and love and charity.  It was your kindness and generosity that lifted me in times of need.  I can never thank you enough.  Newly found friends that helped create memories that will not only last a lifetime, but through the ages.  I couldn’t have done it without you. At this point, there are too many names to mention, but I would be amiss if I didn’t once again thank Joe Jetter, Physicians Assistant at Scottsbluff for his steadfast performance in healing my leg.  He has a great spirit about him and he is second to none when it comes to his caring manner, a friend for life.  Then there are many that were on the home front that without them, this couldn’t have happened.  Brian Kaylor and his family have been an adopted family of mine for years and it is through his generosity that I am where I am today.  Shirley (Eve) and Gaylyn Bergstrom who gave up their entire summer at their own cost to follow me at 3 miles per hour and keep me safe on the roads, they were the keystone to my success.  I will never be able to repay them enough.  My “Valley Boys”, Reiker Green and Tyson Kaylor who helped get this cart down the road when my body needed to recover.  It was no accident that they were with me when I needed them.  And then there are my cousin(s) Marlin Sharp and Greg and Ann Phillips who spent tireless hours making sure that my welcome into the valley was a great homecoming. Thanks to my 5 children who always wanted to know that their dad was safe.  I love you for your understanding and concern in this adventure. And the last two people that need to be mentioned in the same thank you, because the best is saved for last and are the most important part of my life, my grandmother Sarah Goode Marshall and each of her six children and my cousin, Rachel Dawson.  The world and my life will never be the same without you because you both have become so much a part of me. You changed my life in ways that are too tender to explain.  I love you for the amazing women that you are.

You know, I thought that I would feel differently about finally reaching the valley, and don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to be home, but… as tough and as difficult as it was, I found a peace in those “two rut dirt tracks”.  It is a spirit and calmness that can only be understood by doing what I did.  Almost as soon as I got to the valley, I wanted to go back out on the trail where my life was much more basic.  Where my needs and cares were simple and where I knew what I needed to accomplish each day.  Have you ever felt like you were born during the wrong generation, me too, well it was in those “two rut dirt tracks” that removed me from this world and morphed me into a world of 150 years ago, a time that I felt very comfortable in, not from a worldly sense, but from a spiritual sense. I understand that this is only the end of one mission and the beginning of another. History has been ground out on each hill that I sweat over and each storm and illness that I fought through and now it’s my privilege and honor to tell the listening world what I know.  I will try and touch as many hearts and minds “as ears will hear and eyes will see”.  What happened so many years ago isn’t ancient history that has no bearing on our lives, it’s the core of who we should or could be.  It’s what we believe in… and how strongly we believe it.  May I meet you down the trail in the coming months and years, and for all of you who have followed this blog, check back often, as I will update it with information on the book, the documentary, and appearances.  If you have any suggestions, comments or would like to schedule an appearance, email me at: grizzlydoctor@gmail

God Bless and thank you again.

I love you Gram(s)


September 22, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — woodenunderpants @ 6:55 pm

Castle Rock Utah, 14 Miles

I’m finally in Utah, Yahoo!  Another huge line in the sand of this historic trek has been crossed and I am within the sight of the Wasatch Mountains.  Being this close gives my body the added strength that it needs to make the final 75 mile push.

It was cold last night, as it has been for the last couple of weeks but it soon warmed up into the 80s as I began walking down Interstate 80.  The trail enters Echo Canyon at Castle Rock and so I will be walking the trail as close as possible the remainder of the trek into the Salt Lake Valley.

I was met on the trail today by a good friend, Dave Nelson, who drove down from Seattle to a convention in Salt Lake and made a side trip to try and feed me some Kentucky Fried Chicken.  I had to re-nig but I thankfully accepted a gift certificate that will be redeemed as soon as I get into town.

I also have the company this evening of good friends Dave and Rebecca Kaylor and their children and cousins, Lisa and Rebecca Dawson to help me pull the handcart on Saturday.  It’s good to have the company and the assistance to make the next leg.

Quick notes…

It’s presently raining on me.

I found forty three cents on the road today, doubling my total for the entire trip.

I’m looking forward to the festivities when I enter the city.

My body is holding up as well as can be expected for the miles that I have covered.

I met Tyler Rowsen today in Castle Rock.  We also met him in Farson WY, small world.

I amaze myself when I think of all of the miles that I have covered in the last 102 days.

One of the greatest gifts that I have received on this trek is of all of the wonderful people that

I have met.  If you are lacking confidence in America… go pull a handcart across it…

September 21, 2009

Thursday September 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — woodenunderpants @ 6:53 pm

Evanston WY, 14 Miles

New weight loss numbers… I have now lost 48 pounds which is almost 25% of my body weight!  My weight now comes in at 162 and I still have a week to go which means that I will end up losing more than 50 total pounds by the time I get into the valley, but this amount needs to be related to the handcart pioneers and I am sure that they would have probably lost up to 1/3 of their body weight in the 110 day period.  I am looking forward to eating some good food in a week or so.

Second day of not being able to travel actual trail because of private property, etc., so I have been walking the dirt old Lincoln Highway that is just north of the trail.  The last four miles I had to walk on Interstate 80.

All kinds of plans are being made for mine/Sarah’s entry into the valley.  If you have the chance to join us, please be at the “This is the Place” monument at 10 am on September 26 for a culmination to an historic trek.

September 20, 2009

Wednesday September 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — woodenunderpants @ 6:51 pm

Piedmont (west of) 21.8 Miles

Got rained on about 80% of last night and so my nylon tent didn’t fair very well.  I had puddles of water inside and my pillow was wet and my blankets got wet.  Do you know what it is like to put your head onto a cold wet pillow to try and sleep?  It stinks.

So when I got up this morning there was thick fog which is great for taking photos and so we shot some footage at the beginning of the trek and then shot some more footage when we arrived at the wind turbines on Bridger Butte.  There are some great shots of the handcart and the turbines showing the old and new technology.

The topography is rapidly changing and I climbed a 5% hill (mountain) today that was 2 miles long and completed it in one hour and ten minutes.  It was a struggle to reach the top but I thought of my grandmother and the struggles that she had to go through and I pushed on.  Tomorrow I have another 5% climb but the hill (mountain) is 2 ½ miles long.

I’m excited to be within 9 days of the valley as of tomorrow and can’t wait to see everyone.  It has been an honor to walk in these same footsteps.

September 19, 2009

The End is in Sight!!!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — woodenunderpants @ 3:41 am

You are all invited to celebrate Lynn Cleland’s entrance into the valley with his handcart. He will be arriving this Saturday, 26th of September at 10:00 am. Be at “This is the Place Monument” at 9:30 am because it’s not an exact science when he will arrive. He will be caring a photo of Sarah Goode with him symbolizing her arrival in the Salt Lake Valley 1856. There will be a blue grass band to entertain us at the event. This signifies the band that Sarah missed when she came into the valley a day earlier than the rest of the Ellsworth Company. Also, Brother Brigham will meet him. The press will also be there to do a story, probably channel 5 TV.

From the Monument, many will like to walk approximately 3.2 miles to Liberty Park where we will have a watermelon bust. This is what the saints enjoyed for their first meal as they finished their trek. Bring your camping chairs and place them into vehicles for those who will drive there. The weather will be real nice that day but bring water to drink while on the walk.

Since Liberty Park is large, we will find a place in the trees North of the tennis courts. We will enter from the North Side and walk along the West road inside the park. There will be plenty of parking. Some of you may choose not to walk the distance to the park, that will work because we will need to carpool back to “This Is The Place Monument” to pickup our cars that we left there.

Feel free to pass this information along to others who would like to participate. If you can come, let Marlin Sharp know so we can anticipate how much watermelon we need to purchase. Funds for the watermelon are donated by the Boice Family Association.


September 18, 2009

Feel free to leave Doc your comments!

Filed under: Uncategorized — woodenunderpants @ 6:34 am

Hi everyone, thanks for visiting Docs journal and following his progress. I can tell you from conversations with Doc (my brother) its the people that are keeping him going everyday. He has thoroughly enjoyed walking and talking with everyone along his trek.

Doc would never ask people for help (he is stubborn like that 🙂  but I have talked with him and he is concerned he is running out of money. Even though Doc has saved for this trip he didn’t think that his chase cars would be going through so much gas.  I thought I would set up a PayPal account so that if people would like to donate a couple dollars here and there it would really help him out and assure his success. A lot of you have already helped him with food and that is greatly appreciated let me tell you! My biggest fear was that he was going going to starve to death on the trail. But now he could use another kind of help. Any little bit you could donate would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks everyone for following Doc and making this trek one the biggest accomplishments of his life.


Message from Doc!

Looking for stories of “Faith Greater Than Pain” – In the process of gathering information and meeting so many wonderful people and also having been touched by so many of your inspiring stories, I am going to be including a lot of those heartfelt stories in the book that is going to be written about this adventure, but there are many more inspiring stories out there.  So I am sending out an appeal to have people send me stories of their “Faith Greater Than Pain”.

Let me explain what I am looking for, even though the saying “Faith Greater Than Pain” was inspired by the handcart pioneers, it applies to everyone’s lives and the trials that they have gone through.  Just as a quick example, my wife died of Lou Gehrigs disease at the age of 47.  She passed away 10 months to the day of diagnosis.  She endured pain and suffering that can only be understood if you were the patient or the caregiver.  My wife taught me very poignantly about the deep meaning of faith, hope, prayer, love and patience that I couldn’t have learned in any other way.  It wasn’t so much just the amount of pain and suffering that she went through in the struggle but it was her perfect resolve that everything was going to be alright, no matter what the outcome and during her last moments on this earth, true to the form of a loving mother and wife, she wanted to know if we were going to be alright.  Imagine that you are fighting for each breath that you take and fighting for your literal life, but her concern was for us and not for herself.  There is of course a lot more to this story, but there are hundreds of struggles out there that have exemplified this motto of “Faith Greater Than Pain” and I would love to have you submit those stories to me and hopefully we can include some into this book.  It is those experiences that give others so much courage and hope in their trials.  Stories don’t always have to deal with someone passing away, it can be about almost any situation.  Of course not all of the pioneers died in this process of moving west, but they definitely possessed the attributes of “Faith Greater Than Pain”.  Please send them to:

September 3, 2009

Monday September 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — woodenunderpants @ 1:09 pm

Fort Bridger, 18.5 Miles / Tuesday Rest

Eleven days till the valley!  I am still looking at crossing some rugged mountain ranges between here and the valley but am excited at being this close to home.  It has been a physically and mentally tough experience and there are indications that it may even snow on me before I get home.  Today’s trek was pretty good until the last 4 miles when the wind came on something fierce.  It had to be gusting upwards of 40 mph and then the rain joined in for the last two miles so I could fight my way into camp cold and wet and then soon after I got here, it all stopped, but it has started raining again and hasn’t stopped yet.

The good news is that I am at a destination for trading or bartering or charity because Fort Bridger was a supply and trading post in 1856, so as I am looking for a place to put my wet tent and the Ft. Bridger RV Park was kind enough to let me erect my tent for free.  Nice folks.  So I started talking to the owner Teresa about what I was doing and come to find out, her kids have gone on the short three day trek also, so she was familiar with what I was trying to accomplish.  So she asked me what I was doing for dinner and I told her of my 1856 rules and that I was at a place where I could accept charity or work for items.  The next thing I knew, her daughter arrived with 6 apples and 6 peaches and I ate a peach on the spot.  Man was that good!  Because they have a nice place to shower and wash clothes, I decided to wash a couple of things instead of beating them against the rock, well she wouldn’t let me spend my money and gave me quarters to do the wash.  Nice folks!  I then asked what I needed to pay for a shower and she said “for me, it’s free”.  Nice folks!  I thoroughly enjoyed that hot water.  Now you have to understand that I have seen a few camp showers the last few months and this one was the nicest, cleanest that I have seen.  So if you ever need an RV spot and you are in the Ft. Bridger area, you won’t find nicer people or cleaner facilities.  It is well worth the couple of bucks.

So she then invites me to eat at the restaurant with her and her daughter and after a moment of polite rejection, I agree and have a wonderful, tasty, hot, delicious buffalo chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes with chicken gravy, string beans, garlic toast, salad with bleu cheese and milk.  I have to be careful or I’ll end up gaining back some of those 40 pounds that I have lost so far.  Man was that good.

Great family and I couldn’t be in better hands.  So if you ever get close to Ft. Bridger, stop in the Ft. Bridger RV Park and enjoy some great company.

September 2, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — woodenunderpants @ 1:09 pm

Miller’s Crossing, 14.5 Miles

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!  I feel like I have accomplished a lot these last few months and then to do it at the age of 60 makes me feel good.  I have carrying a cranberry muffin mix with me since Iowa so I could eat it on my birthday, well today was that day.  Shirley whipped up the Dutch oven and baked me a little cranberry loaf.  It got a little dark on the bottom but I still enjoyed each bite.  She also made one of my soups, the one that is a potato, a can of corn that I have been saving since Iowa, a little onion and water and presto… you have a great pioneer soup.  So I ate very well today.

By the way, I believe that the added peanut butter protein is correcting my liver and bile problems, thank you dear Lord.  I sure don’t want to be hospitalized at this point of the trek.

I walked with a friend of mine all day today.  David Miller drove out from Salt Lake to be part of the trek and he was great company.  He pulled about seventy five percent of the time and I allowed him to have all of the experience that he wanted.  It was a great birthday present.  As a side note, his cousin rode the trail from Nauvoo to SLC on a motorcycle a few years back and she published a book about the journey.

Millers Crossing David Miller

Millers Crossing David Miller

I am only one days walk, about twenty miles, from Fort Bridger tomorrow and that is my last trade/barter or work place for me.  It is also my last mental line in the sand that I have that tells me how close to home that I am.  The closer that I get to the valley, the more emotional I become, because of all that I have gone through, I can’t wait to join family and friends for a wonderful reunion on the 26th!

Millers Crossing

Millers Crossing

September 1, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — woodenunderpants @ 1:08 pm

Granger, 14 Miles

Two weeks from today and I will be in the valley!

Today I had to follow the dirt trail by myself for about 3 miles but ran into a problem when the trail entered the private property of a mine and so I had to go cross country through the sage and brush and then ran into a 25 foot gulley that was a real pain to figure out on how to get into and then back out of by myself.  Thirty minutes later and I was going cross country again.  All in all, it took me about an extra two hours to circumvent this mine before I could get back on the trail.

Now you have to visualize where I am walking, absolutely in the middle of nowhere WY and was walking a dirt road next to the trail and this car pulls up next to me and one of the two women in the car asks me if I am that guy who is walking across America and pulling this cart for his sister or something, and I responded, for my grandmother.  She says ya, your that guy I saw on television.  Long story short, somehow she had seen me on television and was just thrilled to be able to meet me and get a photo with me.  Come to find out that these two women are part of a team that goes out into these mining sump ponds and rescues wild birds, takes them back to Rock Springs, cleans them up and sends them back on their migratory way and they had some beautiful birds.  One was an Egret, I think, and it’s eyes were red and so I got a photo with this great bird.  Isn’t it interesting the people that I meet out in the middle of nowhere WY… great ladies though.

GrangerGranger birds

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