Thursday, July 07, 2011

Pioneer Trek 2011

I loved Trek as a kid so I was excited to learn that our Stake continued the tradition and I was thrilled when they called Dan and I to be a Trek "Ma and Pa"!  Both Courtney and Marty went too so it was fun to share the experience with them.
Before dividing into Trek familes. Good thing we found sunglasses for Marty! He couldn't open his eyes for this photo.

We left on a Wednesday morning all dressed up in our pioneer clothes and ready to work and have fun. When we arrived, the kids went one way, the adults another. All the Ma's and Pa's were given a list of names of youth that would be our Trek family. Of the ten kids, I kind of knew three. Later I realized I knew the parents of all but one. It's amazing to me that within four short days, these kids who started out as names on a piece of paper, became kids that I would love like my own.
Back Row: Brad, Brett, Dan, Me, Colin, Nate, Kyle
Front Row: Sarah, Heather, Abby, Marisa, McKenzie

They were all fun and funny. They never complained even when the rain poured down and the wind blew our shelter so furiously we didn't sleep all night. They all worked hard and pitched in without being asked. And they all knew how to pray and willingly took their turn. All amazing qualities for ten teenagers! What I learned was that every Ma and Pa felt the same way about the kids in their families. So these are the kids my kids are surrounded by and I couldn't feel more blessed.

Marty's Family (Marty is in the red shirt)

The first day it started out hot and windy. An hour later it started raining and then started pouring. Of course most of our rain jackets were packed away in our individual bags. We huddled under a tarp for a while, then pushed on.  At our evening break the rain had cleared. We ate beef jerky, grapes and string cheese sitting on a tarp in the middle of a meadow in relative comfort. Soon after we started moving, it started raining again.

Trying to set up our shelter that night with an extra large tarp, 4 poles and 8 pegs was tricky when the wind would blow so hard the force broke our pegs the minute we got them in the ground. The kids were patient and so was I (worth noting!) and eventually with everyone's help, Dan got it set up. The wind blew all night, the ground was hard and nobody slept at all. 

When morning came it was pretty discouraging to put on our wet, cold clothes from the previous day. Our Stake President made the rounds telling us to prepare for more wet weather. Ugh.

But our clothes dried quickly, the oatmeal for breakfast somehow tasted amazing and we didn't have anymore rain the rest of our trip. The damp roads meant no dust and the pulling was the easiest of all the days. 

Courtney at the front of her family (on the right) and our family in front of her. 
We had fun in our group playing "Name that Tune" and answering questions like, "Coke or Pepsi?" and "BYU or Utah?" The best part was when Sarah recited an entire scene from Princess Bride -- it was like we were watching it!
We arrived at our 2nd camp in the early afternoon and had a game day. We were exhausted but the games were a blast. After dinner we ended the evening with a square dance.

Courtney bobbing for apples.

Friday was warmer than it had been and soon after we started we were told it was time for the women's pull.  The men and boys were taken away to the top of a hill. The girls and women were gathered together and reminded of our pioneer ancestors who often lost their men to death from over-exertion and weather or who were called away to serve missions or go to war. These women had to be strong. They endured and so could we in any trial we face.
The girls knew this was coming -- everyone on previous treks talks about it -- they did it when I was on Trek as a teenager. Everyone was psyched to be strong and prove to themselves they could do hard things. But soon after the pull started, we realized this was a steep, long hill. It was measured at 7/10ths of a mile. The handcarts were so heavy. We had 3 little girls on the back of ours pushing and me and 2 others in the front lifting the cart and pulling. Our "daughter" in the main yoke pulled and pulled. Midway I wanted to switch her out and give her a break but she refused. With one main hill left I was adamant. But again she refused saying, "I've got to do this for me!" 

At the very top the boys and Dan came running to our cart and lifted it out of our hands. The feeling of having that heavy burden suddenly lifted from our arms was so spiritual I'll never forget it. Especially when it was Dan and these young men whom we grew to love so much. 

Our last evening in camp was bittersweet. We were all happy to be going home the next day (although we had 4 more miles to walk until we got there), but the sense of loss of not being with our Trek Family anymore was acute.  Thank goodness for Facebook!


Blue said...

They didn't have Trek where I was growing this is really my first look at it. I'd heard about it here, of course, but they had our stake's last summer...3 months before my daughter turned 14. So she'll go right before her senior year. I was kind of bummed that she wouldn't have that experience until so much later in her youth, but then I realized she'd go the same time as her brother, which kind of makes me happy. Who knows, maybe they'll have Doc and me be a Pa & Ma! That would be really great. Doc's got pioneer relatives on both sides of his family, but he didn't grow up where they did trek either. So thanks for the indepth review of the experience. You are awesome! ♥

bet[c] said...

I've never done trek, even with growing up in Utah. It looks like an awesome experience!

Ryser Family said...

You deserve extra credit for surviving the rain.

Helen said...

looks amazing! great job! i bet your kids loved you.

Julie said...

Wow! That was so much fun to read about!! Wish Ruby had been there.

Cindy said...

Your pictures are amazing!! I was very touched as I read your experience. Thanks for sharing!!