August 7-10, I was able to go on our Pioneer Handcart Trek with our stake. Kevin and I went as a Ma & Pa 4 years ago, but this time I went as a Stake leader, and I was kind of a floater. I was able to spend a little bit of time with each of the trek families. I got to know so many people from our stake, including so many leaders. Kevin stayed home with the kids.
I got to help with some of the trek preparations, including helping organize the families. It was a lot of fun. I really hope I still have this calling in 4 years, because both of my girls will be old enough to go on trek in 4 years! I can hardly believe that though. But if I'm not in this calling, I'll still volunteer so I don't miss out on this experience!
We went a total of about 28 miles. Day 1 was 10 miles, Day 2 was 4, Day 3 was 10, and Day 4 was 4.
I took over 1,000 pictures, then narrowed it down to 465. If you care to see all of those 465 pictures, go to my Facebook Album.
I had to narrow those 465 even more for this blog. So here are some of my faves...
(any of the pictures I'm in, I received from friends).
My friend & neighbor, Megan & I. She & her hubby were a Ma & Pa.
My good friends Heidi & Frank were also a Ma & Pa. It was fun having so many friends there. :)
Our AMAZING Stake President, and Trail Boss.
My fabulous 2nd Counselor & her cute daughter.
Every evening, I tried to clean up with wet wipes. We got SO dirty!
We had pretty sunsets each night....
The first day of trek, August 7, was actually my birthday. That evening, they sang Happy Birthday to me! It was so sweet. I don't think I've ever had a group that large sing happy birthday to me before. It was a great way to spend the day!
On day 2, I gave a talk about "Doubt Knot" & "Fear Knot", and we made these cute bracelets with 2 knots to represent them. I found some cute handcart, hiking boot, covered wagon, and "pray" charms at CharmingLDSgifts.com. I think the girls liked them. :)
Our food committee was A.MAZ.ING. Again. This guy, Wes, was on the food committee last time too, and he does such a great job at organizing fantastic meals for a giant group of people, in the middle of nowhere.
We had a fun afternoon of games & activities, then dancing on day 2.
On Day 3, we had the infamous "Women's Pull" where the men all get called off to missions and leave just the women to haul the 400+ pound handcarts up a very steep, and very long hill.
You can kind of get an idea of how steep it was in the pic below. And this is near the end of the women's pull.
The boys lined up on both sides of the trail, near the top of the hill.
I was assigned to be with this family on this particular day, since some of their girls had injuries. I was in the back, pushing with everything I had.
It was a very spiritual experience for me. I felt that the entire hill was hallowed ground. It was quiet, it was difficult, and I had doubts that we would be able to make it to the top. The cart was SO heavy. Then when we neared the top and when I would look up, I just saw the boys faces with tears running down their cheeks. I couldn't breathe because I was crying and out of breath at the same time.
Once at the top, the men took over, and we stopped and had a lunch break and a testimony meeting. It was wonderful to hear the testimonies of the youth, and some of the things they felt during that difficult task. Both for the boys and the girls. I wish all of the young men & young women of the world could experience this. It's such a good thing for them to go through, it makes them in to better people, and opens their eyes just a little bit more.
We then continued down the trail.
President Vance is also amazing, and a fellow "Wind River" backpacker. We have had some fun conversations about our favorite hikes there. He was the counselor over the Youth, so I have had the privilege of working with him a lot. He's recently been released though, and I am going to miss working with him.
This is my friend Crystal & I. We were kind of the designated "roaming photographers". She is such an amazing person. And has a beautiful singing voice!
And our super-busy medical ladies! I got to stay in a tent with them, and it was fun making new friends on trek. :)
The food line...
And the AWESOME food!
Once we finished on day 4, some families broke down & cried, some cheered, and some prayed. Some did all of the above. We can do hard things!
And it wouldn't be possible without the Missionaries! They were so friendly, and I loved getting to know them too. I just wish I would have gotten a picture of all of them.
Looking forward to 2017!