We started our trek experience at the temple.
Step two was to climb aboard buses and make our way to Auburn, NH where we met our families. Mr. Dub was a stellar "Pa" and I am the lucky one to be paired up with a wilderness survival all-star like him. We told everyone that our family was the dream team. They seriously were.
Sweet, SWEET Mesquite!
She was on trek too. Mesquite was in a different family, but it was good to be able to connect with her from time-to-time just to pass along a squeeze. Doesn't she make a cute little pioneer?
Darling Rooney joined us along with about 25 others on the last day (in her stylish Vera Wang-style pioneer fashion) and pushed a handcart with a family made up of 12 and 13 year-old youth for the final three miles and into "the valley" where our friends and families were waiting to welcome us. Dub, Mesquite and I greeted her with three days worth of sweat and grime encrusted onto our clothes and bodies in an enthusiastic family hug. Secretly, I think that was her favorite moment. It might have been mine too.
We walked and walked and walked...
most of the way we trekked on rail trails that were pretty well-groomed. Many bikers and runners happened by, but few stopped long enough to find out what we were up to. I'm sure 80 (or so) modern-day pioneers pushing handcarts were a stunning sight for an unprepared jogger. There were some rocky spots and quite a few hills that made our journey challenging.
Eighteen miles pushing handcarts in pioneer clothes and sleeping on the ground was enough to increase appetites, leave bruises and sore muscles. Getting poison ivy and tick bites didn't prevent us from having FUN; we built character and all were inspired. Delving into the stories of pioneer faith, courage and determination increased those same virtues in all of us.
Our handcart had a pioneer bumper sticker made of rocks (one to represent each member of our family) and held on with duck tape. Every pioneer should have duck tape in their bag.
At one point on the second day the men were hauled off to join the Mormon Batallion to fight the war against Mexico. That left the women to pull the handcarts alone. We pulled an additional two miles up and down a series of rocky hills. We earned our stripes and rocked the pull.
On the afternoon of the second day, we couldn't have been more relieved to camp on a beautiful piece of property with a lake to swim in. I wasn't thrilled to discover that we shared the water with some very large water snakes... it was refreshing, but I didn't make more than one jump off the rock.
We had handcart pride! In the form of wildflowers and a dead snake; we gathered memories and experience along the trail that will remain with us for a long time.
Hooray! for a great bunch of youth who swim upstream in the moral currents of society every single day.
Hooray! for experiences that make you value your heritage and leave you wanting to make a difference.
Hooray! for an amazing experience on Trek. And finally,
HOORAY! for a family to come home to.