Friday, August 3, 2012

Pioneer Trek

 We had a one-day mini trek, several weeks before the actual Pioneer Trek, that the 12 and 13 year-old youth could attend.  Talmage enjoyed the potato sack races.
 Our pioneer trek was July 25th-28th.  We met at our church at 6am and loaded everyone onto buses to head toward Evanston.  In this photo, we had just arrived at Deseret Land and Livestock, and Brittney and I were getting used to the handcarts.
 This is our trek family:  Tyler, Stormy, Tucker, Spencer, Melanie, Anna, Nicole and Alyssa
 We're starting on our ten-mile trek on the first day.
 Melanie and Alyssa heading for dinner after a long first day of pushing our handcart.
 Our family enjoyed playing games together during our free time.
 We made sling shots and shot marshmallows at each other.
 Our family had a lot of fun creating our skit and performing in the fashion show.
 We won a trophy for our performance as the Stripling warriors at the fashion show. (We only took off our jackets and bonnets, so don't worry too much.)
 We loved getting to know each member of our family.  On the last night of trek, we gathered as a family and everyone shared their feelings about trek.  Spencer and I are very grateful for this life-changing opportunity we had to attend trek with the youth of our stake.
Comment from Spencer regarding this photo, "I took this photo while I was hiding in the bushes waiting for the women to come up the hill for their "women's pull".  It is kind of hard to tell from this photo, but if you can see that little lighter green stand of aspen trees WAY off in the distance, that is about where the women started their pull.  You can't see the very steepest part of this pull as it is behind me in this photo... but those that did the Martin's Cove women's pull last Trek said that it was a "walk in the park" compared to this one.  I'm grateful for strong and faithful women in my life... especially my beautiful, wonderful, and AMAZING wife!  Nice job on the blog BTW  :o)" 

If you would like more details about our trek, I typed up the following report for our ward YW history:

We worked hard together:  We were split into companies, with three families in each company.  The first day, we met our new families and pushed our handcarts, mostly uphill, ten miles.  After we finally rolled into camp that evening, we were blessed with a delicious dutch oven meal.  Throughout the entire trek, I heard people uplifting, encouraging and helping others.  The second day we pushed our handcarts about six miles, which felt almost pleasant after the difficult day before.  We knew the third day would likely be the hardest because the Women's Pull was that day.  The final day we hiked about four miles and cheered as we reached our final destination.

We enjoyed fun pioneer activities:  We danced the Virginia Reel, We made sling shots and tried to fling our marshmallows at Brother Jones, We participated in a fashion show (my family won the trophy), We performed skits for our companies, We decorated our family flags, We purchased items with our beads from the Trading Post, We made braided wrist bands, We enjoyed a fun musical concert, etc.

We were humbled by spiritual experiences:  I think most people would say that the Women's Pull brought the spirit most strongly to their hearts.  On the third day of trek, we started along the trail and went about a mile until the men were called away.  The women went to hear a beautiful talk from Sister Adams, while the men went to hear President Adams speak to them.  After listening to Sister Adams, all the women felt ready to conquer the difficult challenge that lay ahead.  We started at a slight incline, and then the hill got steeper as we went along.  I was pushing, with my girls, as hard as I could.  As exhaustion started to overtake me, we struggled with our handcart around a bend, and an extremely steep mountainside appeared before us.  I almost lost hope as I stared at the steep incline, but I continued to chant with my girls, "We can do this!"  I could barely breathe as I stared at the ground while we continued pushing up the hill, when all of a sudden, our cart jolted forward.  I looked up to see my husband next to me and two sweet boys bravely pushing our cart up the hill.  One of our girls was worried that they were breaking the rules, but when she found out that President Adams told them they could help, we knew that they were angels sent to help us with an insurmountable task.  We continued up the hill, with our angels, until we reached the summit.  When every cart had been helped to the top, the youth were given letters from their family back home.  We then had some time to share testimonies.  I was able to share some feelings that I had that day.  I related our experience of the women's pull to me in my life.  As long as I am trying my hardest, struggling through life, the Lord will be there to help me through the rest.  I need the Savior's help to make it through this life.  He will always be there to answer my prayers and help me.

We were also blessed to hear the testimonies and teachings from several Bishops in our stake.  Among other topics, we learned about the story of the ten virgins.  The virgins' oil represents their testimonies and when the bridegroom came, the could not give their oil to the others without testimonies.  Everyone who attended the trek, received more oil in their lamps.  Testimonies were gained and strengthened.

The last night of trek we had the opportunity to hear two excellent talks on marriage.  Then we had another testimony meeting where many of the youth shared their beliefs.  On the final morning, President Johnson and President Adams spoke to us about taking our experiences from trek home with us and making a change for good in our lives.  The next Sunday, we had a stake fireside, where many other testimonies were shared and a fun slide show of trek photos was shown.  We will treasure these memories of sacrifice and perseverance forever.

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