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TRIO PULLING HANDCART ALONG `WAGON TRAIN' TRAIL

Although it's billed as a wagon train, not everyone journeying westward on the Wyoming Centennial Wagon Train is riding.

Historically, you see, most of those who headed west along the Jim Bridger Trail did so by foot. And that fact is not lost on Bill Wade or his two companions, Don Coffman of Casper and Scott Hampel of Denver."They were prospectors and gold seekers," Wade said. "Some of them even pushed wheelbarrows. You want to put yourself in their position. If you are pulling something, you get a little feel for what they had to go through."

Along with the historical significance of walking along with the wagon train celebrating Wyoming's centennial, the trio decided to pull a handcart along the trail from Fort Caspar to Cody to honor the state's heritage.

"When you live out here, you have to live the heritage, not just talk about it," said Wade.

The pushcart built by Wade and his companions for the trip, a green box on large wheels with a bar on its front for pulling, has been relatively easy to pull, the three said, although brisk winds the first day did make the pull occasionally difficult.

They had loaded the cart more heavily in the back than in the front to balance the load so that those pulling the cart by the bar would not have to bear the weight of the load as well.

"It's easier to handle than a team (of horses)," Wade said.

Another person retracing the historic trail by foot was Emory Lussi of Medicine Bow.

Lussi, like Wade, Coffman and Hampel, dressed in clothing similar to that worn by fur trappers of the 1800s for the trip. He also was also aware that, historically, most of the emigrants moving West walked to their destination.

"So I figure it won't hurt me," said Lussi.

Lussi, a pastor in Medicine Bow, Shirley Basin and Rock River, also had an economic reason for making the trip by foot.

"I don't have any horses," he said. "I can't afford one."

Coffman, meanwhile, said he was talked into making the trip with Wade and Ham-pel.

"I'm a sucker for things like this," he said. "I'm always interested in doing something different."