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The Mormon Trail: A Photographic Exhibit
Camp Along the Trail
Camp along the trail.
Life was hard on the trail. Women regularly began the trail day by getting up an hour or half an hour before the men to stoke the fire, heat the kettles of water to begin breakfast, milk the cow, etc. Cooking in the open was a new experience for most women. Two forked sticks were driven into the ground, a pole laid across, and the kettle swung upon it. Pots were continually falling into the fire, and families soon became accustomed to ashen crust on their food. After breakfast the women washed the tinware, stowed away the cooking equipment and food, and packed up while the men readied the wagons. After several hours on the road there was a brief stop at noon. Then the women brought out lunch usually prepared the night before. By evening everyone was ready to camp, where the work continued. The fire had to be kindled and water brought to camp. Men chopped wood, and children collected sagebrush, cottonwood twigs, or buffalo chips for the fire. Typical meals consisted of bacon, beans, cheese, boiled and mashed potatoes, dried fruit, homemade bread, biscuits, puddings. Some women even prepared preserves and jellies from wild berries and fruit gathered along the way. In the evening beds had to be made up, wagons cleaned out, and clothes mended or washed. Men fed and watered the livestock, mended harnesses, or repaired wagons in the evening; the work never ended for everyone on the trail.
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