Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pioneer children sang as they walked and walked...

.....and walked and walked.
On the 9th of April to the 11th, Clint and I had the opportunity to be apart of the youth pioneer trek. We were the Ma and Pa of one of the families. We got a great group of kids. Not one of them complained ever. They all had great attitudes! Our company consisted of 3 families. In our family we had 3 boys and 3 girls, in the other 2 families there were about the same number of kids. Our company was awesome. The first day we walked for about 9 miles, stopping every mile to do challenges and eat lunch. The challenges the first day were finding chickens (or chicks, peeps) to get meat for our lunch. Then we sat together as a family and ate ham and cheese sandwiches, apples, vegi's, and of course our peeps. Then we, as a company, headed out again on our journey. Our next challenge was when we got our baby, which was a sack of sand with a baby's head attached. We got it from a "pioneer woman" who couldn't take care of her baby any longer, so we had to care for the baby until the baby died, then we had to bury it in a well marked grave. The staff was supposed to tell us when our baby died but they never did, so we took turns carrying that baby the whole time. Everyone in all the company's wanted their baby to die just so they didn't have to carry it anymore. It was pretty heavy, I mean how many newborns do you know that weigh 10-20 lbs. There were lots of great memories with our babies. Then the next stop was the trading post. Everyone got 2 wooden nickels to buy snacks. Then when everyone got to the trading post, they read a proclamation from Pres. Brigham Young that said that all the Pa's and boys were needed to help fight in the Mormon Battalion. So while they were gone, the Ma's and girls continued on with their journey. We pulled their handcarts alone. We came to a pretty steep hill where the Pa's and boys were, cheering us on. We all pushed and pulled those handcarts and made it up that hill. It was a good lesson to learn for the girls because that's really what happened with the pioneers. They had to go on even though the men of the family were gone. It gave me greater respect for the pioneer women. Then the Pa's and boys came back and we continued our journey. As we walked and did more challenges our testimonies grew a little more. There was one girl in particular in our group that made such an impression on me. When she was in 8th grade she broke a vertibrae and it never healed quite right so when she does any type of walking and sitting for long periods of time she is in exrutiating pain. She was such a champ. She walked that whole day, slowly. The rest of the family wanted to give her a ride on the handcart, but she insisted on walking. Finally on the 2nd day of trekking she let them carry her. There was also a Ma in our company who was 7 months pregnant. (She was a champ too!) She let her family give her rides, but she walked most of it too. On the second day, we had more challenges. The first one was odometer. We had to create our own way of figuring out when we had gone 1 mile. So we measured how big around the wheel was and divided it into the number of feet are in a mile, and then put our stake on the wheel and counted how many times the wheel completed one circle and did that until it turned 406 turns. Well, we totally understand how some pioneers went crazy after that one. Then we learned how they trapped animals for food and we tried to set up the traps and set them off. I never got it, but everyone else in my group did. One boy in our group was timed to see if he could do them all (4 of them) fast. He did them in 32 seconds. Unfortunately someelse did it in 29 seconds later that day. Anyway, another challenge was black powder shooting. We had to hit one of the targets to get our meat for our lunch. I shot it and almost hit the turkey target, but it went right over it. Fortunately, some other people in our family hit targets so we got our meat. Then we rested down the road a bit and ate our lunch. Other challenges that day were rope making, navigation, stopping at another trading post (which wasn't a challenge, except to choose what snack we wanted), having one of our family members break their leg, changing a handcart wheel, building a fire, building an emergency shelter, going over "Rocky Ridge" then coming out of it. Also, on the 2nd night while we were sleeping it rained. Clint and I were o.k., but the girls in our family got washed out of their tent and even used our baby to plug up a hole in the tent. They finally went to one of the staff members cars and spent the rest of the night in there. One of the boys of our family was sleeping out under the stars and of course his sleeping bags got drenched. He ended up just sitting by what was left of the fire trying to keep it lit. The next day we walked back to the buses (about 2-3 miles in the rain.) singing all the way. It was great times had by all and I'd be glad to do again in a heartbeat. Here are some pictures.....
Going to the stake center, ready for our adventure
In this collage there's a picture of the gals pulling the handcarts (we're awesome), then there's me shooting a black powder rifle, and then there's Ma Yates, who's pregnant shooting the rifle, then there's a few pictures of us doing the traps, and more trekking, and us preparing the beef stew, and the beef stew.
The picture on the bottom left is the youth choir, then there's us walking back to the buses in the rain, singing, then more of us trekking, then there's one of our boys sitting in one of the staff members atv holding the baby(resting), then there's the kids building a fire, trying to burn the string first.

These were our kids....great group....great attitudes....great fun!

1 comment:

Hannah Stevenson said...

I have three things to say:
1. You guys are so cool
2. What an amazing journey
3. Britta you look great in a bonnet!