Victoria requested that I tell more about Trek.
There was a lot that happened and I will try to cover the high points.
First, let me explain that a Pioneer Trek like the one we went on is a re-creation of the treks across the country that a lot of early pioneers made about 170 years ago.
We dressed in similiar clothes to what the pioneers wore. Meaning I wore a long dress, an apron and a bonnet. (And NO makeup).
I did get to wear my nikes, and would have worn hiking boots if I had them.
We all met at the church at 4:30 in the morning on Thursday.
There were 6 Ma and Pa couples and about 60 kids. Plus several Leaders from the Stake.
We had to drive about 5 and a half hours to the mountains north of Richmond.
When we got there we were organized into families.
We got 10 awesome kids. Miles, David, Justin, Jared, Elijah, Brett, Amanda, Katie, Nicole and Christine.
We also got an Uncle. Uncle Joe was assigned to hang out with us and help our family.
We initially played a get to know you game and came up with a family cheer.
Our cheer was "Thundercats HO!"
Then we put together our handcart and loaded it.
Naturally our family was done before everyone else, so I taught them all a song while we waited for everyone else. We learned this song:
I have 2 little hands folded snuggly and tight.
They are tiny and meek yet they know what is right.
During all the long hours till daylight is through,
There are plenty of things for my 2 hands to do.
I have 5 little fingers on one little hand.
I have 6 on the other I don't understand,
During all the long hours till daylight is through,
I have 1 little finger with nothing to do.
Then we started up the mountain.
We didn't have enough room around the handcart for 13 people to push all at once so we took turns.
The kids were awesome about taking over for each other and giving each other breaks.
Partway through the day we met up with a general who asked all the young men to join the army.
All of our boys left with them and the girls who were left, along with the Pas and Uncles had to push the handcarts up the hardest hill by ourselves.
When we got all the carts up and turned around I could see all the boys in their blue hats from the army.
That was almost the best part of the day.
The real best part for me was when we finally got to camp.
All the kids helped peel and chop potatoes and carrots for dinner. We cooked them with 2 chickens in dutch ovens.
They were delicious.
After all the families ate and cleaned up we had a camp devotional.
Following that we returned to our family campfire for our family devotional.
I had prepared several things to read around the fire, but because it was so late and we were so tired I kept it short.
I did read them The Jabberwocky, just for fun, then I got more serious and read them the words from "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief". I didn't sing it, I just read it like a poem.
Then we went to bed, girls on one tarp and boys on the other.
The next day, Friday was the hardest day.
We pushed our handcarts about 7 or 8 miles. What wasn't uphill was downhill. And believe me, downhill isn't necessarily easier.
Our family led the way for a while and we didn't just lead the way, we plowed ahead.
We kicked rutt.
The night before, while we were preparing dinner I had started to tell the kids, "You know, I'm not saying that our family is better than anyone else's, but nobody is better than us."
That became our mantra for the next few days.
I would say "I'm not saying we're better than anyone else..."
And everyone else would say, "But no one is better than us".
We were very blessed with the food. It was limited and if it got burned in the dutch oven there
was even less, but ours was always good and we always had enough.
There was another Pa who kept saying "Are you having fun yet?"
When the truth was, at times, no, I wasn't having fun. Pushing an 800 pound handcart up a mountain wasn't necessarily fun. But that didn't mean it wasn't a valuable experience. That doesn't mean I wasn't benefitting from it.
You can work hard and grow even when you aren't having fun.
But that doesn't mean I didn't have fun. We had a lot of fun.
When we finally got to camp on the second day we were sooo glad to be there.
We got dinner going and set up camp.
After we ate we had a little time before the devotional so I sat around the fire with my family and we sang songs.
We sang "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" in English and Spanish. We sang "Popcorn Popping", both verses, including actions. We sang "Give, Said the Little Stream" with and without the "Give"s.
I even got them all to sing "Ah Too Dee Tah" with actions.
It was awesome.
At any time all day long, if anyone needed help one of the kids would jump in and help.
Everyone got along, everyone worked together, everyone joined in.
Everyone was awesome.
Some shared their testimonies at testimony meeting. Some shared their testimonies with our family.
I was so impressed with every single one of those kids.
There were some very spiritul moments along with the fun and goofy ones.
There was another day after that, during which more awesome things happened. But I'll wrap up here, and maybe talk about that later.
Chris and I are hoping we get the chance in 4 years when they do it again.
It was really a privilege to be a Ma and Pa to those young men and young women. They were amazing.
The whole experience was awesome. I think that we got as much out of it as the youth did.