Joe Blythe and Bret Durrant residents of Santa Quinn, Utah and Boise, Idaho, began their journey leaving Nauvoo, Ill. by covered wagon led by the brother-sister mule team Doc and Roxie. Traveling most days up to 25 miles, they are following the Mormon Trail where their ancestors traveled before them many years ago.
“When I told Bret my plans to do this and asked if he would go and he immediately said he was in,” Joe began. “I had never driven a team. I didn’t have a wagon. I found the running gears in a barn. Had the wheels redone and I built the wagon from there on up. We were going to go for a ride to see how his horses would react with the wagon.”
“My horses are young and I was training them as well,” Durrant added.
In the end, due to working out of town, the men’s first ride with the young team took place in Nauvoo.
Traveling with them is Jim Smith in his truck as he trailers all the equipment needed for their journeys. Carrying items like food, water, panels to build a corral for the mules each evening and other items to aid in their campsite each evening, Smith has been a big asset in their travels.
“It was a good thing he was with us, he’s been a blessing,” said Durrant.
The three men and two-mule team, along with dog Hank were making their way on Sept. 13 to Garden Grove where some of their ancestors were buried. They plan to end this journey at Winter Quarter’s in Florence, Neb. traveling just over 300 miles, as they celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Mormon Trail