Our church held a Pioneer Trek for the the youth 14-18 and Jon and I were asked to be Ma and Pa for a "family" of seven kids. The three day journey covered lots of miles of rugged, muddy trails. We cooked our own food, walked, played pioneer games, pulled our handcart, sang songs, pulled and walked, slept in tents, walked and pulled and had a wonderful experience.
This is our family. We were asked to pick a name for our family from a pioneer in our own family. Since my parents are the pioneers in the gospel in our family, we chose BEST. It was a great choice! We got a lot of mileage out of being the BEST family!
Seth Burgess, the husband of our old friend Katie Hercules Burgess was one of the photographers on Trek (we were asked to NOT bring cameras, to keep the experience as realistic as possible). He took some absolutely beautiful photos.
Lucy with her Trek family. Lucy was asked to carry a baby for the three days. This was more challenging than you'd think.
A Women's Pull was held. All the men and boys were asked to go off and serve in the Mormon Battalion and the women were left to pull the handcarts alone. At one point there was a huge ravine that required running downhill to gain enough momentum to get most of the way up the other side. It was all the more challenging because of the amount of mud on the trail. In places the mud was knee deep! All the families helped each other and everyone made it. We were muddy and tired, but we felt a great sense of accomplishment.
Lucy and her sisters during the Women's Pull.
One evening a really nice program was presented. Lucy was given a speaking part and had a solo to sing. She did a beautiful job and made her mom (me) cry. It was very touching to hear the stories of those who sacrificed and toiled to make their way to the Salt Lake Valley to worship and live in peace.
The weather was crazy. I got sunburned the first day, rained on the second day and snowed on the last day. Because of the weather, we had to leave early the last day. Everyone was wet and tired and unable to get warm and dry. We were blessed to have warm homes and showers to return to - the real pioneers weren't so lucky.
Later that afternoon we all gathered at the church for a testimony meeting. What a wonderful blessing and surprise to be individually greeted by Elder Dallin H. Oakes. He shook the hand of every single person in attendance. He had planned to meet us out on the trail as we completed our journey, but the church was the next best thing!!
I'm so glad we had the opportunity to be a part of such a great experience. And I'm more grateful than ever for those who walked and pulled and played and sang and got rained on and snowed on and sunburned all the way to Utah so we could be a part of the gospel as it is today.
All is well.