Sunday, July 14, 2019


What a whirlwind summer.  One of those crazy events was the youth pioneer Trek!  We arrived home on Monday from Utah and headed out very early Thursday morning to the Marriott Ranch in Virginia for Trek.  Thankfully Lois came and stayed with our kids while we were gone.  And thankfully we had pretty much everything we needed for trek purchased already.  I had to finish the clothes...treat them for misquitos and take off buttons and such, but at least I had them available to work on..  Actually I did make a run to Goodwill and our local thrift store for a couple more things.

We were up very early on a Thursday morning to head to the Marriott Ranch.  Everyone unloaded their gear, we drove our vehicle to the end point, played games and found out our "families". My roommate Alicia, from Ricks College, is in the same stake as me and her daughter Mason was on Trek.  So fun to see her occasionally. 

Cal and Brayden Ramsey

Not sure why these pictures are fuzzy!  So frustrating.

At the group meeting each ma and pa had to introduce themselves in some sort of way.  It was not very fun and kind of stressful! Lee and I did a poem....we didn't know what else to do. After the meeting we found out who was in our family.  Cal is meeting his parents in this photo.  Lunch was awesome.  We got a hunk of bread, a chunk of cheese and an apple. 

With our family!  We went through everyone's stuff, did a name game, chatted a little bit, picked a big brother and big sister and the kids loaded up the cart.  We had Jaden, Kinzley, Isaiah, Kenedi, Isabel, Alicia, McKay, Jackson and Brittany.  We knew Alicia as she used to live in our ward-so great having her along. Isabel isn't even in our stake, but jumped right in and got to know people. On the way heading out I took some candy away from Kenedi, which I don't think she appreciated.  They aren't supposed to have snacks or cell phones or makeup...stuff like that.  Not a good way to get a good start! Oh we also made a flag and had a family name and cheer--we were "Chunked Ham".

And we're off...walking into a storm.

We should have pulled out our rain ponchos a long time before but never did until later.  It rained and rained and rained.  I'd rather be hot and sweaty.  Not wet and cold.  We had to cross a river (maybe two?) and we stopped at a "town" where we had a snack, chatted with our family and had a parent meeting.

Our "kids" were troopers through the bad weather and the rain.  Our stuff kept shifting in the handcart as we didn't pack it properly. We finally pulled out the ponchos as we were getting cold.

And like the pioneers, they found time to have fun.

That night we pulled into camp about 11:45pm. Which was on purpose.  We would have arrived a little early, but the trail boss wasn't quite sure where the trail was and we were trying to avoid a big river crossing late at night.  Thankfully it had stopped raining by then.  Isaiah was awesome at helping us get the tarp tents set up a cow pasture.  With LOTS of cow pies!  Dinner was great with soup and extra bread from lunch.  They fed us very well the whole trip. 

We had a fire near our campsite and got to see Clark and Cal.  Cal got his soup and sat by the fire to warm up and eat.  He had just put on his clean, dry clothes to sleep in. We brought pie pans in which to put our food.  Cal set his food on his bucket and warmed up a little by the fire.  He then sat down on his bucket, which meant his food, forgetting it was there. Poor guy. It had been a long day and to me he looked like he was going to burst into tears.  Thankfully we were right there to help him clean it up. It's still a sad story...maybe someday it will be funny.

One main thing I was not looking forward to on trek was sleeping on the ground.  But it was okay, especially the first night.  We were warm and dry which was nice.  And thankfully far enough away from a cow pie as to not smell it.

The next morning we made oatmeal over a fire, had a scripture study, packed up and left. We had a few river crossings the second day.  Thankfully it was nice and warm that day!  The second day was the hardest for me. Especially thinking about the whole day in front of us.  We stopped mid afternoon at another cow pasture and set up camp.  We all decided to sleep under the stars that night, so that was easy.  Some of the kids started on some bread for dinner.  We then went to this other area for games and port-a-potties.  Which we had to cross the river to reach.  Our feet were definitely water soaked by then!   

Rolls in the dutch oven.

For games pan throwing, saw, sack and wheel barrel races.

It was fun that Clark raced against our family.  It was funny because Kenedi was kind of looking at Clark like, I'm totally going to whip him.  Clark blew her out of the water.  I bet she was a bit surprised.

Also, hair washing in the creek. I thought this was a little too gross for me.

Nice feet Cal!

Our stew took forever to cook.  The meat was done but the veggies weren't.  I told our "kids", hey, let's just eat this food pioneer style. It's not perfect, but we won't get sick.  They all agreed.  They ate it and left for dancing.  I told them we would clean up as well.  Oh we also made homemade butter in jars and we got homemade strawberry jam as a treat. Lee waited patiently and had perfect stew.

The next morning our group was the first out of camp.  Sadly Lee's ankle was really bothering him on the trip and especially the last morning he went really slow.  We did a mini fast the last morning of trek. Our group got up, packed up and left.  It was awesome.  They didn't need any help or coaching and just took the reins.  What a long way we had come from the first day when it was quite awkward and they didn't know what to do exactly.  My heart was full of pride watching them walking along, going at it all by themselves.  Sadly Lee was far behind because of his ankle.  He could have gone a much shorter way, but we didn't realize that till weeks later. 

That morning we had a special devotional, then had quiet time to read scriptures and read a special letter from a parent or youth leader. I didn't get much quite time because Isaiah went off with one of his friends and was REALLY far away and I couldn't find him.  Finally I did.  But it took me about 20 minutes or so to find him.  Plus quiet time was shortened which was too bad.  After that we got a muffin and then had a testimony meeting with everyone.  That was really incredible, probably my favorite part. Though the kids in our family kept bugging each other to go up and share their testimony.  So that was embarrassing that they kept whispering.

After all that was lunch, family time and the last loading up.  We played Down by the Banks a few times which was fun.

We had to wait on the trail for handcarts to meet up.










Then Mason again with McKay.  I found out on the first day that McKay wasn't a member!  She is going to be baptized this fall which is so exciting!  Mason introduced her to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Mason shared such a powerful testimony at Trek. McKay shared a sweet testimony as well.

Cal jumping away!

Clark's family.

Cal's family.

It was very fun arriving at the end.  A lot of parents were there waiting and waving, it was pretty cool.  There was also LOTS of watermelon for everyone.  

Clark and Cal with Brother Bean, the trail master. Or quartermaster?

I wish we would have done one thing differently with trek. I wish we would have encouraged our kids to take time to get to know each other and each each other questions.  I feel like Brittany and McKay felt left out a lot, even Alicia maybe and didn't have a super great time unless they were with their other friends.  Not sure how Jackson felt either.  Also Kenedi wandered off a lot, hanging out with real family and friends. A few others wandered off as well, but she would go off the most which was frustrating.

We got home late afternoon.  Clark and Cal burned their trek clothes.  I threw mine away.  Overall it was a great experience.  It gave them a little tiny taste of a handcart West.  I'm looking foward to the next trek as Cal, Elden, Shanna and Haley can all go on it!

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