Fuchs Continue Trail Journey
Paul and Jane Fuchs from New Martinsville have been traveling by wagon train the last two years. They have traveled 850 miles from Nauvoo, Ill., to Ogallala, Neb.
This is the second leg of a four-year 1,400 mile trip following the Mormon trail. The Mormons traveled from 1846-1857. This four-stage journey began in 2008 when riders traveled 30 days by horse and wagon. By car the travel would be 390 miles, but when staying off the highway it adds a little mileage. The wagon train is made up of about half Mormons who are reliving and recreating their history, while other folks who have horses or mules and like to ride and drive and meet new people come for this event. It the first Mormons, as well as other pioneers, a year to get across what is Iowa now. Approximately 50 people were on the modern wagon train. The participants encountered rainy, cool, and windy weather and scares of tornadoes (nothing what the pioneers would have traveled through).
The Fuchs stated their day around 5 a.m. Paul stated they would feed their animals, have breakfast, get the mules harnessed up, move trailers, and start the shuttle around 7 a.m. Around 4 p.m. they would end the day by removing tack, feeding, watering, sitting down for dinner, having a meeting, then hitting the sack. Paul said many stayed in tents, motorhomes, and even their vehicles.
The Fuchs met a lot of wonderful people that feel like their family now. The Christensen’s and their seven children from Spanish Fork, Utah, grew very close with the Fuchs and it didn’t take long before these children adopted the Fuchs as their grandparents. Two of the girls even came home with them to spend a week. The two were entertained on a ride with close friends of the Fuchs, the Kirklands in Proctor.
When crossing an area of the Nebraska prairie with original wagon ruts, organizers were telling riders to unload, limit passengers, and go light because 12 years ago a Mormon had upset a wagon. Paul said, “In West Virginia we grow corn on steeper hills than that.” The two Fuchs mules made it with ease.
Last year on this trip Paul and Jane had a great loss when one of their quarter horses (Tria) had died during the trip and left them without a team to pull for the following year. Therefore, their great friends, Terry and Tammy Kirkland, knew how bad the two of them wanted to go out west on this wagon train, so they lent them their team of mules. Paul and Jane grew close to these mules, so close that when the Fuchs returned home, Paul traveled to Tennessee a week later and purchased a pair of sorrel mules, Bugs and Doc. Next year the Fuchs will travel 390 miles from Ogallala, Neb., to Independence Rock, Wyo.
Paul and Jane would like to give great thanks to the Kirklands for loaning Smoke and Cocoa; they could never have taken this trip without them. Paul states, “I’m kind of a mule man now.”