We gathered at the Stake Center and had an opening fireside in the chapel then gathered together as our ward for a picture and headed up Cedar Mountain.
On our way!
We took Nino, Josh and Sophie with us. All the way there we talked about what Nino should expect. He had such blind faith to come. He just had this feeling that it was what he needed to do and didn't even know what it was.
This was our little family consisting of Ma and Pa Beckstrand with our 4 boys Nino Hernandez, William Ward, Kyler Scott and Dallin Keeler. We also had 5 girls Becca Cladwell, Ashlyn Holman, Darby Fackler, Jessie Alldrege and Maggie Lee. They were chosen children, by God, for us. We know it. We love them all so very much. We couldn't have made it without each and everyone of them. They all played a huge role in making the entire month special. They will always be a part of our family.
We got together a couple times before the trek started to get to know each other. It was so much fun and made a world of difference while we were on the trek. We got to make a flag and I chose the theme, Faith in Every Footstep, and put my hiking boots in paint and then had them sign it. It was OK.
Miles Gilmore and Brother Todd Feltner. Todd was there to play the part of one of the Pioneer leaders to help get us to our destination. Every 5 miles or so we'd stop for a devotional to hear pioneer stories. It was really neat.
At lunch we stopped and played some games. We had stick pull, missionary tag and a tug-o-war. It was a fun break before we started pulling again. Darby and Jessie, Logan and Roger and Sophie and Cambra. Then Nino and Joel competed for awhile and Nino and Logan went at it.
These two were crazy. Joel and Roger were evenly matched so they each won. It was fun to watch.
Here's my cute family pulling for all they're worth
Roger helped us out so we could win. Thanks Roger!
Then it was off to trek a little more before we stopped for the day.
This lonely little pine tree caught my attention. After awhile of just looking down at the ground, so that you don't trip, I looked up and saw this gorgeous dark green tree in between all these brilliant white trees. I just had to stop and take a picture.
This awesome picture I took from a hunters chair up in the tree. I climbed right up underneath it. It looked like it had been there for awhile so I didn't sit on it.
At one point we stopped for one last devotional and hear a story about a company of pioneers that were starving and prayed for help to have their prayers answered by men on horseback that brought them jerky to sustain them until they got where they needed to be. And much to our surprise these wonderful leaders in our stake brought us all jerky to eat.A mile or two later we had reached camp! The girls instantly started setting up their tent while the boys fell asleep on the ground. It was awesome!
That night we had a Hoe Down. At first the boys didn't want to go but after we started out with the Hokey Pokey they all calmed down and realized that we were there just to have fun.
Sophie and Nino were partners. It was fun. Neither of them had ever square danced before so they learned together. Josh and Victoria were partners. I was proud of all of them for getting it down so fast. I'm glad that part of my rhythm was passed on.
After that we had another devotional and desert before we went to bed. I took a picture of this tree because I loved the way the bark looked.
We got up, ate some delicious oatmeal and before we headed off I gave my family Pioneer Yo-Yo's to play with. Day one we hiked around 8 miles.
Here are some pictures of our Stake YW leaders talking to us before we set our on our 1 mile trek up to the top of a hill where the men were sitting watching. They weren't allowed to help us at all. It was interesting to see all of the different personalities that came out in people. I'm sure now more than ever that I would have made it as a pioneer. I never thought I would have before but during that women's pull some of them were crying and complaining and having this wonderful spiritual experience and I was so mad at one of the ladies who just stopped helping completely and left her cart to be pulled by everyone else. It was the cart in front of us but the first cart in the entire line and I told my girls that they not only needed to pull their cart up that hill but they needed to push the cart in front of them in order for us all to make it. I was truly afraid that they couldn't make it and would stop and start heading backwards and it would cause a domino effect and kill us all. Luckily all of my girls were tough and Darby was behind me pushing for all she was worth and as stubborn as I was. I would have been one of those pioneer women who bossed everyone around and made sure that no one was left behind. I wouldn't have let anyone stop and die. It wouldn't have been allowed. Stop whining! Let's go! We've got a promised land to get to and we can stop when we get there!
Here's a picture of the men walking off. Sarah was so sad. She instantly started crying thinking of those pioneer women that had no men to help them. The men walked up to where the picture ends and then went straight up the trail to the top of that ridge. You can see the trail lined with fallen Aspen trees. That's where we had to take the handcarts. The men sat up on the ridge to watch us. In the next picture you can see where we started down in that dark green grove of trees at the end of the trail.
I told Sarah that she looked like Holly Hobbie and she had no idea what I talking about. Man, I felt old.My good girls.
So in this first one I was putting a log behind the back tires so the cart wouldn't roll down the hill and kill Joel. While we were doing this Brother Woodbury was telling the story. Kids were asking if they could go down and help me but he said no. He continued with the story. You can see me putting Joel in the cart and try to pull him. I tried as hard as I possibly could and couldn't get that think to budge.
Then we hiked for another couple miles and stopped on this amazing ridge to take a picture.
Then we played some games as a stake and had a great dinner. The best part of trek is when our kids came to sit with us for meals and want to actually spend time with us. So after dinner we taught them the sound game. I was so funny. I couldn't stop laughing. I got out first every time.
The next morning we got up, ate and got ready to finish off the most amazing experience we have ever had.
I love this picture. Very western.
We hiked for about 5 miles to the top of the hill and then had an awards ceremony of sorts. The YW Presidency gave out frames with our stake Trek theme in it to the Ma and Pa's, Stake Youth Representatives, stake leaders who helped out and especially to Brother and sister Woodbury for all their many selfless hours of service to make this all happen.
Then we hiked for a little while longer and then pulled into the "Salt Lake Valley!" There we greeted President Ellsworth and had our last devotional and lunch.
Our last hike was back to the parking spot where we packed the carts back up and went home. Five miles for the day for a grand total of 20 miles for the Trek. Josh helped get the carts lined up. See his satchel? He still had it even after 3 days!
Not more than 10 minutes on the road home this is what the back seat of the van looked like. I smile every time I look at this picture. It gives me peace in my soul and will always flood me with memories of this glorious weekend. It was an experience that I will never forget.