Things have changed a lot since the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 — clothing styles, communication methods, modes of transportation.
“Before the Transcontinental Railroad … if you wanted to get to California, you either rode a horse or rode in a wagon,” Brian Arnold said.
In celebration of the “wedding of the rails,” and in memory of days gone by, Brian and his wife, Teri, along with some of their friends, organized a wagon train. The event includes over 150 participants who began their five-day journey from Brigham City to Kelton on Saturday.
Although this is the first wagon train Brian and Teri organized, the two have participated in other wagon trains and enjoy the the slow-down this mode of travel requires.
“To me it’s kind of like a fantasy land,” Teri said. “It’s not really reality. It’s an escape from life to just sit there at 4 miles an hour and look around at just the beauty.”
As she rides, Teri said she loves to watch the clouds or the animals and plants she passes — things she misses when driving 70 miles per hour on the highway.
Teri also enjoys deepening the bond she has with her animals.
“I love my horses and my mules, and it’s just time spent with them that is just good. It makes a good animal out of them and it is just something that I really enjoy doing,” Teri said.
Participants in the wagon train have come from all over the United States, and one individual from Canada is also joining.
Each night the group will circle their wagons for cowboy poetry, music and other entertainment. The public is welcome to join these events on Tuesday and Wednesday, free of charge.
The group will also be recreating a historic wagon train photo nearly 150 years to the date after it was taken.
According to Brian, this photo features the last wagon train that passed Monument, Utah. In the background of the photo, a train coming from California can be seen.
This original photo was taken on May 8, 1869, and the wagon train group will take theirs on Tuesday, May 7.
“Of course the rails are gone,” Brian said. “There won’t be a train, but (the photographer) is going to Photoshop in some sort of ghost type engine behind the wagon train.”
More information, including a map of the wagon train’s journey and details from meeting up with the group in the evening can be found on the Spike 150 Wagon Train Facebook page.