Friday, September 23, 2011

Pioneer Trek - Boise West Stake

7/27 - 7/30
This summer Skye and I were  able to be a ma and pa for the stake trek that occurs every 3 years here in Boise.  The youth leaders in the Boise West Stake don't mess around when it comes to planning a rigorous pioneer experience to test the faith and strength of all involved.  It was an amazing experience to say the least.  Our eight "children" from various wards in the stake couldn't have been better examples of hard-work and dedication to the gospel.  In a very short time we came to love them as the stellar youth that they are.  

The trek took place in the Owyhee Mountain Range south of Boise.  We started at 3,000 ft elevation and reached as high as 8,500 ft.  The total distance was 30 miles over 3.5 days, which doesn't sound too bad until you consider the intense elevation fluctuations, while pulling a loaded handcart. 

The highlights of the trek included Skye and one of the young men from our ward (Braden Rice) race our handcart up the last hill (pretty much a straight incline) on the first day as it was attached to a 4-wheeler going full speed (they collapsed at the top), pioneer games, water-crossing, Skye getting a cold on day 2 (maybe not a fun highlight, but he pushed on), beautiful scenery everywhere, horse ride with Skye after a long day of pulling, and the amazing testimony meeting near the end of the trek.  It was an unforgettable experience that strengthened our testimonies and brought us closer to the youth.  A special thanks to Skye's mom for watching the boys all week in Burns.  They had a blast, too, and didn't want to leave Grandma Jana!
Our family flag and motto (T.T.T.F) - we adopted other kids into our family, if they could guess what T.T.T.F stood for (True to the Faith).  Our conversations as we walked and hung out at night centered on how we, like most of the Mormon Handcart Pioneers, can stay true to the faith.  
Here is our family after a really long day of pulling.  Each family had their own color bandana and our color was neon green.
The boys pulling in the front with our extra wooden bar.  Thanks Bro. Dunkley, from our ward, who gave us the idea.  Pulling would have been much harder without the extra bar.
A view of our cart before we started out for the day and of the entire trek (all 18 carts)
Having a devotional in the middle of a meadow (covered with rocks) on our 5-gallon buckets.  
Skye and I riding horses, while the kids were hanging out with friends.  It was beautiful!  Thanks Bro. Devoe  
You cannot go on a pioneer trek and not play stick pull, apparently.  This game was a favorite of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I decided to play and got second place in our company (because most girls didn't even want to give it a try) and had to compete in front of everyone in the finals.  Jenna Price (our bishop's daughter) beat me very easily in the semi-final match shown above. Haha!  
A view of our third campsite
Near the top of the climb
The evenings were beautiful high on the mountain top.
The whole clan!  

Thanks to our trek kids; they were more than we could have hoped for.  And most of all thanks to the many leaders and cooks that put on the trek with the important purpose of remembering our pioneer ancestry and strengthening our commitment to the gospel.  It was a memorable 4-day trip.  And we all slept A LOT when we got the handcart pioneers did it for 6 months straight in harsh weather is beyond me.   

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