Pioneer Trek 2013

Last weekend our stake held a pioneer trek for youth conference. They asked Nate and I to be a "Ma" and "Pa". So we all put on our pioneer clothes and packed our buckets for three days of pulling a handcart across the prairies of northeastern Missouri.

Toby didn't want to wear his hat at first. But he donned it later to block the sun. (He doesn't like touching sunscreen.) Here he is with his friends Brooks and Josh.

Aspen (second from left) had been looking forward to trek for over a year!

I made this dress. There was only one pattern size and it turned out huge! It was like a tent. And it could fit Aspen, Isaac, and I inside!

Aspen and more of the girls in our local wards.

We first drove to Far West, MO to see the site there. It was dedicated to build a temple there by the early saints.

There are even the four corner stones laid. It is considered a holy place. (Our youth conference theme was Stand in Holy Places).

Then we drove to Gallatin, MO to begin our trek. Nate and I gathered the youth assigned to us and set out in our handcart.

Each youth's belongings needed to fit inside a five gallon bucket (excepting a sleeping bag and pillow). And then those buckets were loaded in the carts. All our other supplies (food, tents, bedding, etc) was hauled in a trailer for us and met us at the campsite each night.

We walked five miles the first day. About every mile we stopped to hear a story and meet a pioneer from the past. At the first stop, the ma's had a baby. Then I rode in the handcart for a mile. The youth were asked to help take care of the baby. It had to be held at all times (except at night). My youth did a great job at this. Even the boys!

A sand bag was added to the swaddled doll to add weight (about 7 pounds). It was heavy after a while.

The girls sang camp songs. And no one complained.

We met Indians and traders along the way. And had to negotiate camping on Indian lands.

We used tarps and put the handcart on its side to make tents.

We cooked our meals in a Dutch oven.

Isaac came down with cholera on day 2 and got to ride in the cart for a mile.

It was perfect weather and there wasn't any rain.

When we reached a stream, we were taught about the rescue of the Willie and Martin handcart companies and the young men that carried so many weak pioneers across the frozen Sweetwater River. The the young men and adult men carried all the girls and women across the stream. It was a moving experience to watch.

On Friday we hiked through waist high hay. Unfortunately, my hay fever did me in. My eyes itched and swelled almost shut. My face swelled up. I couldn't breath and I got hives all over. Sleeping in that hay field was not going to be good for me. So I (and a couple other allergy sufferers) had to go sleep in a nearby bed and breakfast. Even the shower and indoor air and every allergy medication I had didn't help much. and I didn't sleep much because I still couldn't breathe and spent the night propped up and wheezing. But it made me grateful for those things. The pioneers would have just had to endure that hardship. I joined my group again when they had gotten through the fields the next day.

Nate was ill and rode in the cart. All the other men and boys were gone to join the Mormon battalion. So it was just the girls pulling the carts. I was so proud of them. They had to pull their handcarts plus a couple hundred pounds of "pa" through knee deep mud. One of the handcarts broke and the girls figured it out on their own. They distributed all the buckets and handcart pieces and got through. Right after this they pulled the carts up a steep hill while the men and boys looked on. I think it was an impressive sight for everyone

We ended our trek in Adam-ondi-ahman. Thus area is a holy place as well. We ended with a testimony meeting at Preacher's Rock. (It's a natural amphitheater and a regular speaking voice can be heard football field lengths away.)

It was a spirit filled, faith building weekend. And despite the allergies, ticks, and sore feet, I'd do it again.

We also found some lovely weed. I had no clue it grew wild here.



Hester said...

the picture of the three of you in Aspen's dress. awesome. thanks for making my breakfast more exciting this morning.

Nikki said...

What was the pattern you used for Aspen’s dress? If you don’t mind me asking