Here we are before we started. At this point we didn't have our "kids" yet, we hadn't loaded up our handcart, or even started getting dirty. That would all change right after this picture was snapped.
And here's the first "family" picture. I have to say, I was worried about being in charge of 8 kids, especially 8 teenagers, but they put all my worries to rest. Every one of them was amazing. Not one drama queen, and they were all super hard workers. See those 2 cute girls on the right? It's always the quiet ones you have to worry about. More on that later.
Setting up our first camp after trekking for 4 miles was tough. It was hot, we were tired, and all we wanted to do was take a shower and eat. Sadly, showers were 100 miles away, and the food was still hours off. We hung out and got to know our family. Turns out I am related to one boy, and his cousin was here visiting from Arkansas. He was also related to another boy in our family, so we really were like an actual family! After we took this picture we ate dinner, and then square danced our little hearts out. Sean was tearing it up out there in the cow pattied field. I was proud of my Pa.
And here's the quiet mischievous ones. Each morning we were woken up with the sound of a siren from our leaders bull horn. Everyone joked that they were going to steal that bull horn so he couldn't wake us up so early. Well, the last morning, we were woken up by the sound of a stick hitting a pie plate because somebody finally followed through with their plan of stealing the bull horn. About 15 minutes after the wake up call, we hear through the bull horn, "Everyone, please go back to sleep!" coming from our girls tent! These innocent little girls had stolen the bull horn the night before and slept with it all night! I was so proud of them! I do love a little mischief once in a while.
And here's two of my favorite Ma's. These ladies are exceptional people. I am so blessed to call them friends.
Trek was such a wonderful experience. I wish I could put into words the feelings that working hard and playing hard under such different circumstances produces, but unless you've been there, you just can't explain it. My kids endured blisters, heat, and the women did an incredible job pulling the cart up the hill on the womens pull. My boys even carried one of my girls for a short distance, each taking a turn so they could get her to the medical tent in a hurry. She was fine, but it was still scary and heartwarming to see them take such a responsibility for their sister.
I would do Trek again in a second. I loved it, hated it, grew so much, and discovered that there is no way in Hell I could have been a true pioneer. The Lord sent me here at this time and place for a purpose, and although life is still hard, the physical struggles of the handcart pioneers would have killed me.