Thursday, May 31, 2012

A 19th Century Soap Box Derby

Candy Spady with son Reed and daughter Jena
May 27

I tuliped early, whoops wrong flower.   I joined Rex and Cindy for further gabbing over a nutritional breakfast of fried eggs, orange juice, and toast with Cindy's homemade grape jelly.  The hourglass ran out as usual, however, and I had to make my way back to the the trail.
Rex took me over to Candy's, where I dropped off my pack.  Then we headed over to 26.  On the way he told me about the Battle of Blue Creek, which took place a couple miles west of Lewellen in 1855.  Almost ninety Lakota Sioux were slaughtered in retaliation for a smaller massacre of army personnel a few months earlier.   The idea was to send a message and the eight years of peace which followed indicate the plan worked.  At least until the Civil War, when the tribes noticed the barricades were undermanned and the raids recommenced.
Let's talk about me though, we don't do enough of that here.  I crossed the North Platte (the river split for good east of the town of the same name, citing irreconcilable differences) and headed into the sand hills.  These giant sand dunes covered with a smattering of green fuzz provided yet another barrier between the pioneers and their Beverly Hills mansion.
One particularly notorious mound was Windlass Hill. Wagon brakes could not handle the steep defile and the wild ride down often resulted in major damage to the carts.  Ash Hollow beneath was often a fury of activity as repairs were made to the smashed vehicles.  The adjacent cemetery suggests the descent did not do wonders for those suffering from cholera, dysentery, and other butt hole-related disorders.
Five miles on Candy showed up with her kids Jena and Reed as well as my backpack.  Jena walked with me a couple hundred yards, becoming the youngest companion I've had on the trip.  We then went back to Ash Hollow State Park, where Candy treated us to a picnic lunch of hamburgers, potato salad, and fruit salad.  The repast was slightly tastier than the pack of Spam I had planned to devour.
We then went over to the museum, where Jena pointed out that if they wanted you to wear a shirt and shoes, shouldn't they also want you to wear pants?  
We split up around two and I made the last nine miles to Big Springs in three hours.  On the morning of June 4, 1965 the sleepy village of five hundred souls was the victim of a shocking crime.  Duane Earl Pope, a college student with no previous criminal record, entered the Farmers State Bank and successfully held up the operation for $1600.  Not satisfied, he shot all five of those present, killing four and paralyzing the other for life.  He was apprehended only two days later, but his violent act still reverberates here fifty years later.

21 miles/2285 total miles

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