Monday, April 11, 2011

A change in our plans for spring break.

We had planned on spending spring break doing yard work. Then last Sunday right after General Conference Bill got a call from a member of the Stake Presidency asking if we could go on Trek as a Ma and Pa. This was Sunday afternoon trek started Wednesday morning. That gave us three days to get ready. Trek is a Mormon tradition in which the youth dress up in pioneer clothes and march around the wilderness pulling their belongings in a handcart. Think of civil war reenactment, backpacking and a pilgrimage all wrapped in one. It sounds kind of strange but is totally amazing. As a Ma and Pa we were assigned 9 kids to be in charge of. Before last Wednesday I had only met two of our nine new kids.

Lizzy was planning on going on trek all along. She has spent the last couple of months preparing: sewing skirts and bonnets. She had quite the wardrobe--she even sewed lace trim on her bloomers. Sadly, because I was so worried about my responsibilities I didn't take any pictures of her. Here's one someone else took--Lizzy's in the black bonnet. She was in another family and even though she was assigned great parents, I think she missed us.

Bill's in the center pulling our handcart. It's amazing how pulling a handcart together can make strangers feel like family.

Here's our family after the first day's pull. The baby is just a doll.

This is Lizzy's family. She's the second in from the left with the red skirt.

We camped that night in an apple orchard. It was very pretty but quite chilly.

The next morning was very foggy. It cleared up briefly around noon and then dark storm clouds rolled in. It started raining just as we got into camp, and then hailing and then sleeting and then snow. For many of these kids it was the first time they had seen snow fall.

This is the barn the kids slept in. See that sad blue tent under the overhang. That's where Bill and I didn't get much sleep.

Though most of us didn't have the right shoes for snow, we continued in the snow. For me this was the best experience of the whole trek. It was so beautiful. And the kids has so much fun in the snow. There were lots of snow ball fights

and lots of mud.

Our stake leaders wisely decided to have us go home a day early. An option we were all well aware the pioneers didn't have.

I left the whole experience full of gratitude: grateful for pioneers who shivered in cold tents night after night because of their deep convictions; grateful for the bright contagious faith of kids in the family assigned to me; grateful for my own children whom I missed; and last of all but not least-- grateful for a warm house and a soft bed.


Brandan and Becky said...

Great photos! I love the one with apple blossoms and the one with the carts in the mist. The snow is beautiful, the mud not so much-- but what a dose of realism.

On a vain note, I'm going to wear something red on our trek because you and Lizzy look so lovely and your red outfits really pop out in the photos.

Thanks for posting-- great photo essay!

Ken said...

Dear Ruth,
Thank you for sharing these photos and your feelings about the trek experience. You and Lizzy look beautiful in your pioneer dresses. Bill looks happy too! Maybe a family trek in Wyoming in the future?
With love,

jenn said...

Beautiful pictures and a great summary of your experience. Thanks for sharing!!

Valerie said...

What a wonderful experience!! So beautiful!!