Mormon Pioneer Handcart Trek: Day 3

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If Day 2 of the Mormon Pioneer Handcart Trek was defined by the sweltering heat and the evening downpour, Day 3 would be best characterized by an all day drizzle and mud. It was actually quite refreshing to have that light rain, and with clouds blanketing the sky, it made the day much cooler. The downside was wet feet, and muddy clothes. (Here is pioneer handcart trek day 1 if you need to start from the beginning). I only got 3 hours of sleep, I woke up, and my mind was racing at all of the things I wanted to talk to my trek family about, and I just could not get back to sleep. I had the thought that I need to tell them about how my husband and I dated (my love story) because I thought it was important to know that our expectations are not always met (just as in our flooding tents the night before).

muddy wagon wheel on pioneer handcart trek

We had to roll up soggy tents, and just keep moving.

But first, gotta get our hair in order

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braiding hair in the morning

Although I originally planned to just have the 2 outfits, at the last minute, I whipped up a skirt that would go with an apron that my grandmother gave me a year or so ago.

braiding the hair

Of course, just after we packed up to go, it started to drizzle again.

I pulled out my poncho, and two of my girls had theirs packed away, so they joined me inside of mine!  We weren’t walking (just waiting) so it worked just fine.

sharing a poncho

So the trekking began again.

mud on the pioneer trail

Here is my son’s cart, going around the muddy water

pushing handcart around the mud

The theme of the day was ENDURE. So we talked about what the pioneers endured, what we had endured on trek, and how we are enduring in our daily lives, as we strive to have Hope in our Savior, and our Father in Heavens plan for us. It led to some great discussions, for which I truly enjoyed.

At a stop along the way, we talked about the chains that bind us. We sat in a circle and discussed what each of our individual struggles are. Each of our kids were open and candid, and it was so heart warming to hear them admit to things that even I struggle with. We then wrote them onto papers, and made a chain out of all of those things that bind us, and then BROKE through the chains.

breaking the chains that bind us

breaking through chains

Luckily I threw in an extra pair of shoes. Since we knew it was supposed to be stormy, we all planned accordingly. I was SO happy to have dry shoes that day.

walking up the muddy hill on pioneer trek

Since it was overcast and not as hot, we just kept moving, didn’t stop to rest as much and set up the shade tarps, which was nice because we could just go FAST! As you can see in the picture above (taken by Victoria) our boys were fast, and often got ahead of the handcart behind us.

pushing handcarts

mud on the pioneer handcart trail

Lunch that day was also quite memorable. We were given small peanut butter and jelly packets that morning, and bread/rolls. As we gathered under our shade tarp, to get out of the drizzle, we realized we had no utensils to spread the said PB&J. Someone had a pocket knife, and I assembled lunch with that. As we finished and chatted, we heard there was a fun surprise.

It was PIE time! There was a pioneer story shared about how a woman felt fatigued from the journey, and just couldn’t go on. Her daughter rested behind with her as the company walked ahead, then all of a sudden out of nowhere, they spotted a PIE on the trail. Maybe someone left it there, not sure, but it was enough to get her up, and to endure the rest of the journey.

So, pie came to OUR rescue. There were 2 giant pies, and though we were given plates and napkins, I asked my cute little family if they objected to family style eating, which consists of everyone just digging in with their forks. I was DELIGHTED that they were up for it, (and excited about it) which made me love my pioneer kids even more! I am not what you would call a germ-o-phobe, in facts I believe germs build the immune system! We were already muddying and exhausted, and no one really cared about manners: hip, hip hooray!

What started as this beautiful pie

delicious whole pie

looked like this in the middle of our feast

digging into pie

This is my cute family digging in, love them!

eating pie

Once we were overstuff on pie, we had to continue to push the carts to the end

pushing the handcart to the end

And we were so excited about it!

pushing handcart to the end

some must push and some must pull

We trekked back 7 miles back to base camp

back to base camp

It was just as muddy as the trail we were walking.

muddy base camp

Fortunately, we had some time to just chill. We set up our shade tarp, took off our soggy shoes and socks, and just sat there on our buckets staring at the ground with not much energy.  My husband, ever the hard worker, wanted to set up our tents right away because they were wet the night before. We all just wanted to SIT!

sitting on buckets

So the kids that normally jumped up to help (pretty much all 8 of them), just couldn’t muster any more energy. Neither could I.  Then I saw my husband setting up the tents all by himself, I asked a few kids specifically to help him, and the didn’t move. AS a mother, I get it. We push and push our kids to meet our expectations, and they do so well most of the time, but everyone needs a pass sometimes. They needed a pass right then, and I got that. They did SO well the whole time (when I’d heard other kids did not) and I couldn’t be annoyed that they didn’t move right then. So I jumped up, and stepped in to help my husband finish that task, even though it seemed more than I could muster at that moment. I knew my husband didn’t feel like it, either.

We had hot dogs for dinner, which no one was thrilled about, but happy that we didn’t have to REALLY cook anything!

roasting hot dogs

resting

After dinner was a nice fireside discussion with everyone there, that was very spiritual talking about all that we endured, reminding us what the pioneers endured, and reminding us that we can all do hard things.

There was a hoedown dance, which was supposed to be the night before, but it was squeezed in that night before the evening testimony meeting.

At the dance, as leaders, sometimes we had to push people to dance, I pulled up a couple of girls that I knew from home, as they sat on a tarp. It can be awkward, but I think everyone had fun. I even spied noticed my son dancing with a few gals.

It was fun to get together with everyone, and just celebrate! We made it! I got together with the Ma’s from my ward, and we took our “after” pictures. Jumping for JOY!

jumping for joy

Of course we couldn’t just stop at one  picture (we actually had to do a few jumps in to get a good one). We invited our men into the shot for one, too.

Trek Ma's

We then grabbed a shot with our REAL son, who had the muddiest pants, they looked much better rolled up.

with our real son

 

The evening ended with a testimony meeting, which for those that aren’t familiar with our faith, it’s an opportunity for anyone to volunteer their thoughts in how they grew, testifying of the Savior. We did this by company, so just 4 families, sitting in a circle, in the dark with just a little light shining on the one speaking. It’s a volunteer opportunity, not everyone needs to stand.

testimony meeting

After, it was a night of jubilation. The next day was mostly just packing up, and heading home.  The other nights was a pretty heavy “lights out” at 10pm, but no one seemed to care this night. We were chatting as a family under our tarp til midnight,and could see other families doing the same.  We retired, anxious for a relaxing morning…

{If you missed them: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3}

Read Day 4 HERE

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Comments

  1. I remember when I went on trek. It was a huge testimony builder and I never once regretted going. When I went there wasn’t a single cloud the whole three days and I’m pretty sure I was drenched in sweat every day. We weren’t allowed to bring tents, only tarps, and it was way cool being able to sleep under the stars every night. My favorite part was the Girls Pull because it was only me, my ma, and one sister. Our whole family had a ton of boys and we ended up with only three girls and right before the Girls Pull one of my sisters was injured and wasn’t able to do the pull with us. The spirit was so strong as my older sis and I pulled the heavy cart up a huge hill where our pa and brothers were waiting to join us. Pioneer women were incredible! I have no idea how they survived more than three days, haha. Another cool experience was our testimony meeting. Our whole stake was together and the wind was howling which made it extremely hard for everyone to hear the testimonies, but one of our stake leaders promised that if we continued to bear our testimonies the wind would die down and we’d be able to hear. Sure enough, by the time a few had spoken the wind had died down to a little breeze. Trek was such an amazing experience! I’m so blessed to have the gospel in my life.

  2. Jacqueline says:

    Really enjoying this – glad you put the time into sharing all the details!
    Your “son” with the suspenders looks so much the part of a pioneer! (Funny how the girls seem to have looked more pioneerish than the boys on average. Maybe just because it’s more of a girl thing to do?)
    Pretty amazing when you think about how much people endured without modern conveniences once upon a time. We’re pretty spoiled!
    I think it’s really neat how various life lessons are brought out in this trek.
    Oh, and one more point of randomness, I’m glad there are people like you who relate well to teenagers. I never was a typical teenager, and other than in 1-on-1 sessions when I tutor, as a general rule, I just don’t quite “get” teens. It’s a good thing we’ve all been created with different talents!