We then had the eclipse weekend. We were extremely busy at the Visitor’s Center with around 350 people every day. With around 100 non-member visitors every day. Since Monday the day of the eclipse was our Preparation Day we traveled about 20 miles towards Casper to Horse Creek. This is where the rescue wagons met the Martin Handcart Company. This is also where we saw the eclipse. All I can say was it was amazing! We were in the totality for 2 minutes. We were able to see some stars. The sunset was around us in 360 degrees. It got so much cooler and the wind was calm. It was just amazing! I love seeing God’s creations and it is just a testimony to me that He lives.
An interesting statement I heard this week was “Nobody cares what you know. Unless they know you care about them.” I think that is very good advice as we interact with people and try to teach people about the gospel. My goal this week is to show people that I care.
People are starting to get a little bit of short timers. But they all have mixed feelings. Because we all love this place and know we will be leaving it next month. The 6 couples that will be staying the winter have all been identified and has accepted their assignments. I envy them just a little but will be perfectly happy back at home.
I was able to go on a trek yesterday as part of Trek Leader Training. It was good to get back out there and hike 7 miles. Of course since it was training our Mission President and his wife also were trekking with us. I have grown to love this man more every day. He is such a strength and example to all of us. There are also many of you at home that have been great examples to me. I love you and your support. Elder Sigmon
Read on for the Longer Version:
Well I must say Elder Sigmon did manage to touch on a lot of what I was going to say but he didn’t add any pictures . He is right in there is so much we love about this place. I live right next to the Sweetwater River, Devil’s Gate and Spilt Rock and can see them every day. We are rural that is true but the blessing of that is the world can be imploding around me and I have no clue. I get to see beautiful wildlife, scenery, and hear and watch all these things people do not get to see or experience every day. One of the funny things is there were these baby hawks raised in a nest near our homes but mom has slowly moved one tree down at a time until she is gone. It is time for the baby hawks to be on their own. All I can say is they are so noisy and annoying sometimes. They are flying and trying to hunt but they screech so much! Who knew they could be so annoying lol!
On the other hand apparently there are bears in the area. Someone sighted a baby black bear cub in the Cove. That was news to us. Now we are looking to see if we can see it. Yes I’m sure there is a mama bear somewhere nearby.
One of favorite spots I enjoy when I have a moment to sit and relax is at the baptismal font on the Homestead in the Sweetwater. I have wondered what a baptism would be like there. I was able to be a part of one recently. Sister Scussel’s grandson was baptized and she asked some of the missionaries to sing for part of the program. It was such a special experience and I am so glad I was able to be there and experience it. The water is still a little deep and cold. It came up to his shoulders.
On a whole different subject—Work Crew. Elder Sigmon usually gets a lot of mechanical jobs (I know, shock!) but an assignment he got was welding a new gate for Bertha our place we burn our trash. Elder Crist spent some time measuring and drawing out how he wanted Elder Sigmon to weld the bottom gate. The old one was needing to be replaced. Well let’s just say they do have a very nice welder and I am afraid somehow it is going to end up costing me money. I think Elder Sigmon is considering getting rid of the welder he has to get something similar to this one. All I hear whenever he uses it is how nice that welder is. Wish me luck. Something about you get what you pay for. Elder Hough was helping him hold things. It was funny because when we met for lunch Elder Hough was covered in soot and Elder Sigmon was clean as could be. So I asked Elder Hough “Who is working out there? You or Elder Sigmon.” Then Elder Sigmon said that his dad always said “If your hair isn’t messed up you aren’t working hard enough.” Then he takes his hat off to show his messy hair. Elder Hough has no hair so all we could do was laugh including Elder Hough. Then he starts twirling along the side of the barn saying “I’m just rolling around out there while he’s working.” I am not sure if they are having more fun than they are getting work done. Those two are quite the pair! Here is the finished product.
Oh I forgot to mention that someone had thrown some trash in there and it started burning so it made things a little more difficult trying to get the job done. Never a dull moment and nothing is as straight forward as it may seem lol.
Elder Sigmon forgot to mention that we had some additional visitors to his family. The day before his family came I got a text from a friend I’ve known since I was young saying her and her husband (Duey ‘Doreen’ and Ray Halls) were passing through on their way to Montana and would we be available to say hi. It worked out perfectly. We had just finished our shift and they stopped by our trailer and we had a great, quick visit. It was good to see them. We haven’t seen them since we left to go to the MTC and stayed at their house. It was a great surprise! It turns out that Ray knew one of the missionaries that is serving here, Elder Smart. Their offices weren’t too far from each other—Family History and the Church History Museum.
L-R: Ray, Me (Sister Sigmon), Elder Sigmon, Duey (Doreen) Luckily Ray has long arms and we were able to take a selfie.
The first part of Karl’s family arrived about 11 a.m. We had a great time eating lunch under the trees on the picnic tables and showing them the Visitor’s Center, Martin’s Cove and Fort Seminoe.
L-R: Elder Sigmon, Lona, Radeen, Gwen
Robin and Morris showed up just as we finished with the Visitor’s Center so they were able to join us as we went up into the Cove and then over to Fort Seminoe. This picture was taken at the summit of the Cove. It is kind of sad because I keep taking pictures trying to capture the feelings, view and everything I love about being up there and I just can’t get it in the photo. Which means when I leave I will be leaving all those feelings, thoughts and one of the many views I love to see on a regular basis and has become such a part of me over these last months I have been here. (Don’t think about it! Sniff)
It was great weather for a day up in the Cove. That is something we are always thinking as we head up. Will there be a breeze, how hot will it be, how about a cloud, maybe a few drops of rain to help cool things off. This day was cooler and very pleasant! I’ll take it!
Since things are slowing down we are able to have a little more time and energy to go and see things we haven’t been able to see. I think we are like the last ones on the mission to go and see Devil’s Gate. It entails walking a half a mile from the Homestead over to it. There is also the view from the top of it by climbing up the side of the mountain. People tell me it isn’t a bad climb. Then they explain how you can really see a lot if you go with Elder Ward. There is a place he will lean over and hold out his arm and if you hold onto his arm then you can lean over and look out from up there and it is unbelievable! I’ll say it is unbelievable! To think that you think I am going to hold onto someone’s arm and hang off the top of Devil’s Gate and then look down to a view that is going to make my heart drop a million times into my stomach! I DO NOT think so! I am still trying to decide if I am even going to work up the courage to try and climb up the side of the mountain. This being afraid of heights is such a hindrance. I can say that Elder Sigmon and I did walk out to Devil’s gate from the Homestead and it was another beautiful and relaxing place. I’m glad we took the time one afternoon to see it.
That is not the rock I am talking about them climbing. Look to the top right of this picture and that is where I am talking about.
We also had the opportunity as a mission to go and climb Rocky Ridge. We had two choices which were to go to the top of the Rocky Ridge ascent of about 600’-700’ and then back which would be about 8 miles. Or continue on into Rock Creek Hollow which would be 14 miles. I was not sure how well I would do but I really wanted to see Rocky Ridge for myself. I knew I could not go the whole way into Rock Creek Hollow but I was going to give it a whirl and see how far I could make it with the up and back version. So we split into two groups with the one going all the way leaving ahead of those going up and back. We had people from both Martin’s Cove and Sixth Crossing in each group. It had rained pretty good and hard the night before but when we got to where we were going to start the rain had stopped. Which was awesome. I know when I was at Sixth Crossing and hiked their trails they are harder on me because there are more rocks in their dirt and so it makes it an uneven surface for my feet to go over. Martin’s Cove is more smooth and if there are rocks they are very small and don’t cause the uneven surface I get from Sixth Crossing. I went off with a prayer in my heart I would be able to do it because I really wanted to see Rocky Ridge for myself.
As we headed out within the very first few feet we were hit with this mud that was the most stickiest mud I have ever encountered. It literally stuck to the bottom of your shoes within the first 2 steps and then built up in an uneven sole to the sole of your shoe. It was like walking with weights on the bottom of your shoes and your shoes were mud shoes instead of snow shoes. If you found a rock to scrap it on it was quite the task to try and get it off because it would not just fall off if you scraped it or walked with it. I ended up walking in the sagebrush as much as possible to try and avoid this mud but that also comes with its own problems. Here is a picture of the start of the building of my mud shoes. Crazy!
We had a breeze as we hiked and this ended up helping in drying up this wonderful mud and so it was only for the first leg of this climb. As we walked along we came across this cute face. We wondered who had left it from the first group. Sister Edlefsen said that her husband was the one who did it. He will always will leave these for her to let her know he’s thinking of her and okay. It was cute.
I was able to make it all the way to the top of Rocky Ridge and even got a view of Lewiston Lakes from there. It is totally different than what I had envisioned. It put a whole new perspective on the term Rocky Ridge.
This picture is looking up Rocky Ridge. It isn’t just a few rocks it is sheets of rocks! Now this next picture is a view looking back.
Sister Harris wasn’t sure she could make it and was going to turn around at the Lower Monument. When she found out no one else was turning around she continued on. She, like me, was so glad she continued on.
Can you imagine the handcart wheels dropping off those rocks? I wish I could see what it was like as they youth take their handcarts over this area. I can’t even totally begin to image it. I have heard some of the missionaries talk about how there is a spot the cart just drops because there is nothing else you can do and how bad it is. Now I see what they might be talking about. I am so glad I was able to come and do this hike. We took a group photo and ate lunch on these rocks. Sister Edlefsen also told us some stories.
A couple days later while working I had an unexpected call on the radio asking if I could come to the Visitor’s Center. Someone wanted to say “hi” to the Sigmons. So Elder Sigmon met me and it was fun to see Mark and Janet Anderson. They were in our ward since our kids were little and recently moved. They were in Casper and decided to stop by and say hi. It was really good to see them!
L-R: Wards, Scussels, Sigmons and Swingholms.
I guess I can be tall enough to block part of Elder Sigmon’s face. lol Here is our funny one.
While working at the Visitor’s Center one day there was this family that came by and their two little girls were dressed so cute. They were the usual kids trying to rip off their bonnets. If their hair got in their face they gently brushed it back so they would keep the bonnet in place. I commented to the mother how good they were being about wearing their pioneer clothes. She told me her daughter has been wearing her clothes since Pioneer Day (July 24th). She loves it! I just had to take a picture because they were so stinkin’ cute!
Well we can’t skip the eclipse. I must say we had prime seats and we didn’t even have to make our reservations 3 years in advance. We were back from the road in a meadow by a stream. They area dropped down just a bit so we couldn’t see any of the traffic on the dirt road or people who stayed by the road to look at the eclipse. It was perfect! They only problem was getting across the stream. Some could easily jump it. I just knew I would land in it so I placed my folding chair as a step in the stream and it worked perfectly.
The Ward’s friend, Dayna (sp?), set up an observatory for us with some binoculars and poster board so we could see the eclipse in two ways. It was nice so I could get pictures of the different stages because it wasn’t working too well with my phone. It only looked like a round circle every time I tried to use my phone to take the picture. Here it is as it is just about to go into total eclipse. You can tell it is starting to get darker. The temperature also dropped. It got chilly and I wished I had brought my sweatshirt with me from the truck.
Another cool thing was the sunset which was 360 degrees. It was amazing!
When it was totally dark we were even able to see a few stars. The wind quit blowing and before it went totally dark it was a weird grey and heavy feeling. It was kind of eerie. I am glad we were able to experience it in an area where we got totality.
The funny thing was after it was over we gathered up our stuff and headed back for home. We took a nap and when I woke up Sister Ward was returning an item to me and mentioned the traffic out on our Hwy 220. Apparently it was backed up and at a standstill from all the people trying to get back home. Have I mentioned we are living rural? Not a lot of traffic, internet, etc. So this I had to see. Sister Ward and I jumped into the truck and drove closer to the road so I could get a picture and see this event.
It lasted for about 4-5 hours. They were at a standstill and then start to move a little and then come to a standstill again. We came to find out that some of the merging places like Muddy Gap, etc were having one side go from Rawlins and then the other side coming from Casper and hence the stop and then go. I bet people who were planning on being back the next day to work or whatever didn’t plan on the 4—5 hour wait. We would have people flying down our road, use our camping restrooms and then head back out to the traffic jam. The gas station/store at Muddy Gap said they had a line for their restroom out the door and around the side of their building. They sold out of most drinks and snacks. It was quite the phenomenon!
Here is the picture of the sighting of a black bear cub in the cove.
I know this place will forever be a part of me and I will love the Pioneers even more than I had before. Their stories, their examples, their lives have been written in my heart and I hope I will always remember they did hard things and so can I. They believed and died for things that were important to them. I need to have that faith, that courage, that desire in my life and I cannot be a wimp and complain when things get hard.
We love you and hope all is going well with you and everyone is doing great!
Elder & Sister Sigmon