Sunday, June 28, 2015

PIONEER TREK


Day One:
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.
About 4 days before Trek started I got this great idea that Nino needed to come.  So we invited him and sure enough he came.  Having only faith.  He had no idea what he was in for or even what the trek was.  We tried to explain it to him and it came out sounding like camping so he was excited to come.  It turned out to be the most important missionary experience that I have ever had.  He has been taking the missionary discussions and was excited to see what the pioneers went through.  We had a little last minute meeting with our trek family and explained what was going on and that they had a new brother that they had never met and that it was very important that they befriend him, help him understand what was happening and answer any questions he would have.  They were excited.  I was proud, nervous and excited.  To get ready for this I had gone to the DI to get shirts and pants for Joel and Josh so I went back and got some for Nino too.  Sophie wore one of the dresses we already had that I had made for a pioneer parade and I wore the dress that we got from Jan/Tuacahn when she went on her trek 4 years earlier.  I also had made little satchels for everyone so they'd have a place to hold little things that they didn't want to put in their buckets.  I was super excited about these because I found a pattern made out of a leg on a pair of jeans.  I had a tote full of old jeans for a quilt for I cut all of the legs off and made 18 of them.  They actually turned out really cute.  In this picture you can see Barry who Nino was living with talking to Joel and Nino while we were loading everyone stuff up to go.

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. 
These are everyone trying to find their stuff, getting into their family units and getting instructions to move out.
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.
I was so excited to be able to be a Ma and Pa.  Four years ago, when Shayne went, they didn't let the Youth Leaders go.  But this time I was going whether they liked it or not because Joel was the bishop and because  he got to pick who the Ma and Pa where going to be.  I LOVE our youth.  I was so proud of them for all going and for enjoying it fully.  Here are Kaylee Allen and Roger and Sarah Lundquist.  They were a Ma and Pa from the other ward but when the wards split it they ended up in ours.
 Cambra Dinsmore and Josh.
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.
See Sophie's cute jean satchel?!
One of my favorite things on this gorgeous earth is Aspen trees.  Here we are all walking through them.
Here's picture of the bucket lids in our cart.  We were green so I got the materials for them to make a green vinyl covering for a cushion for the lid on their bucket because the bucket was also their chair and the vinyl was waterproof in case it rained.  See how smart I am! 
At one stop Kyler pulled this out to share!!!  Honey Candy!  We used to make this with Jan and my Grandma.  I hadn't had it in probably 2 decades!  It was heavenly!
 
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.


Josh and Riley were pretty matched up too.  It was so much fun watching everyone try something new.
Here are some pictures of missionary tag.  It was a lot of fun.
This is the Johnson's.  Nate and Kim are another couple from our ward that we got with the split of the ward.  Lucky us!  We got so many wonderful families.  We are truly blessed with the change in our stake.

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.
Here is President Ellsworth and Brother and Sister Woodbury. The Woodbury's were in charge of the entire thing and did an AMAZING job.  I ran ahead of everyone to get this picture.  There were 4 groups, Green, Yellow, Orange and Blue and three families of about 12 in each group.  With the others who were our support group (first aid, photographers, stake leaders and the food and water crew, etc...) we had around 200 people total.
 
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!
Here's Sophie putting up her tent and Brother Knighton reading his trek journal.
 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.  
 

Sophie, Cambra and Nikki gave Nino, Josh and Miles some lessons on how to do the country swig.  It was pretty cute.
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.
Day Two:
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.
 


We stopped for a short devotional.  Then went a couple miles more to where the men where told to leave the handcarts and go on ahead.  The women stayed and had a devotional about the trials that some of the pioneer women had that had to bring their families over by themselves due to their husbands being in the war or dead.
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.

 

The men took their hats off in respect.  I hadn't noticed at the time because I was to focused at the deed at hand.You can see me looking down at the ground.  I'm right behind Sarah.  Her cart was the one we pushed.  They had two rolls of pullers and no one pushing.  So we pushed them.  We pushed and pulled ours.
After that we had a little break and were of again.  This time the men pulled more.  I love this picture. 

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.
My manly men.
The terrain through here was extremely rocky.  They called it Rocky Ridge.  Just like that one that the pioneers crossed.  But theirs was much worse. There was a story of a lady whose husband got extremely sick as they were crossing Rocky Ridge and he said to leave him there to die and continue on.  She would have nothing to do with it so, she put him in the cart and pulled the cart with him in it up Rocky Ridge by herself.  It is said that Angels helped her.  Well, I'm here to tell you that there is no way on this earth that she could have done it by herself.  I tried.  They had Joel and I recreate it on this part of the trek.  I knew it was coming and gave my camera to Sophie and told that no matter what happens don't move and don't stop taking pictures.  You can see how steep the hill is.  Well, we told our kids that Sarah and Rogers family will need all the help they can get pushing their cart up that hill so they took their buckets and put them in their cart and pushed it up the hill.  Meanwhile, Me, Joel, Stephanie and Sister Spriggs took ours halfway up and stopped.



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.



After about a minute of watching me struggle Brother Woodbury said that Christ sent angles to help her and asked if any of them wanted to be angels to help me out.  I was thrilled but even with their help I was still so winded by the time we got to the top.  It was a struggle.  Then we gave our testimony on the experience.  Joel went first so I could catch my breath since he wasn't tired at all.  Sophie felt awful that she couldn't come help.  But her job was to take pictures.  Josh on the other hand didn't even move.  Butthead.

 
Then we hiked for another couple miles and stopped on this amazing ridge to take a picture.


Right after this we hiked down to where we set up camp for the night.  I was grateful that we got a little break for a rest before we started some games.  We needed it. We hiked about 7 miles.
After a little break I got out the sling shots for everyone and we went over to see who could fling a rock the furthest.  Surprisingly Becca was really good.  William and Logan gave it good try.  Josh was, of course, awesome.


Guess who was taking the pictures for me.  Yep, Riley.













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.  


After that we had a devotional where they re-enacted the death of the 13 people who died  on the trail that were in the Willey Handcart Company.  I represented a lady in that too.  I guess I just needed to be a part of everything.  Dallin was one of the gravediggers that after I was done with my part came and got my and laid me down in a blanket and covered me up to represent me being buried.  Becca played one of the little girls who was taking care of a little boy along the trail who died.  It was pretty solemn.  Right after this was over we went straight to our testimony meeting in our groups.  We got together with the rest of the green families.  It was neat to hear all of the testimonies.  Joel bore his but I didn't because I figured they had heard enough of me that day and I wanted to give the time to them to use.  At the very end Nino stood up.  We were all very surprised.  We didn't expect him to all at.   No one did.  He gave a wonderful, heart felt testimony on what he knew and what he felt.  I cried.  I was so glad that he came.
Day Three:
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.



Everyone finishing up breakfast and Josh getting ready to fill up the water jug to head on out.
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.
Dallin was so dang funny.  He kept me going.  I love this kid!

 
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!
Our Beckstrand Family.  Maggie Lee, Jessie Aldredge, Me, Joel, Darby Fackler, Ashlyn Holmes and Becca Caldwell.  Nino Hernandez, Dallin Keeler, William Ward and Kyler Scott.
The entire Green Unit.
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.

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