Adam and I have never done a trek like this before so we weren't sure what to expect but we accepted the call and looked forward to it with anticipation.
We spent the next several months preparing ourselves physically and spiritually for the experience. After several hours of sewing and gathering equipment, and after hundreds of hours walking and praying we were finally ready. Or...at least we though we were.
We were introduced to our trek "family" on Wednesday morning and spent a couple hours packing our cart and getting to know the names of our family members.We were Blessed with 15 "kids" and one "adult son".
After getting the handcart all loaded, we set off on the adventure of a lifetime. Right away we had problems with cart and items falling off. We fell a little behind on the trail but eventually we got our cart loaded just right and were moving at a steady pace.
We had some amazingly strong kids in our family. They were cheerful, and all eager to help. We loved them almost immediately.
|Getting the cart loaded and ready to go.|
|Zion or Bust!|
|'Till we meet again...|
By the time all the carts made it up the hill, all the girls were exhausted. It was then, that we found out that we were only half way to our destination. It was about 8:00 pm at this point, and getting dark. The boys all pulled the cart while the girls took turns pushing. Eventually, it got so dark that we couldn't see more than a few feet ahead of us. The trail got so rocky that those of us walking in the back had to link arms to keep each other from falling when we tripped. I should also mention that at this point, all the kids had eaten all day was an orange, and some buffalo jerky.
Our youth were troopers they sang as they pushed and pulled. A little after midnight, The trail boss finally said that pa could light the trail with a flashlight. It wasn't much light, but it helped, and I thought of the words to one of my favorite hymns.
Lead Kindly light amidst encircling gloom.
Lead thou me on.
The night is dark and I am far from home.
Keep thou my feet, I do not ask to see,
the distant scene.
One step enough, for me.
|Every time the trail boss told us to stop for a break, kids would just drop right where they were and rest for a while. As a Ma I was not allowed to pull the cart, so while they rested I filled their cups with water, and made sure they were doing O.K|
We finally pulled into camp at about 1:30 am.
We were given a roll and some beef broth. We all fell asleep the moment our heads hit our non-existent pillows.
The hard ground never felt so good.
We woke early, had some oatmeal for breakfast, then pulled the cart another couple of miles to the main camp where we would spend the next two days.
Over the next couple of days we learned to butcher chickens, make candles, pull taffy,shoot black powder rifles, play games and share testimonies.
|The brothers all took turns washing their sisters hair.|
|The girls returned the favor.|
|Working together to prepare dinner.|
|Trevor climbed the tree to save Jaba the pregnant man lizard, our family pet, from his suicide attempt.|
I just can't express how much Adam I loved those kids. They had us laughing one minute and crying (happy tears) the next. I was so impressed with the way our "sons" respected and served their "sisters". They always made sure the girls ate first and even served them their food. Everyone pitched in to help during mealtimes, and helped during clean up.
I enjoyed hearing their sweet testimonies during our Family home evening. I am awed by their strength and knowledge.
I was filled with mixed emotions on the hike to the trails end on Saturday morning. I missed my own kids and was anxious to return home, but I was sad to say goodbye to my young friends. I will NEVER forget this experience and am so grateful for those kids and all that they taught me.
|Vanessa,Chelsea,Alex,Kelsey,Chelan,Ma Gurr, Auralin,Anna|
|Kirt, Tyler, Denton, Brother David, Jordan, Trevor, Pa Gurr, Cody|
I am reminded of the words of Helaman:
"And they were all young men (and women) and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold this was not all- they were men (and women) who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.
I LOVE THESE YOUTH!!!!
On the drive home I told Adam that I wasn't quite sure how I did so well on the hike. I have never been in really good shape, and normally a hike like that would've killed me. Yet I never felt more than a little fatigued and aside from my feet being a little sore, I felt great.
How is that possible?
The answer came when I got home. Eliza threw her arms around me when I walked through the door and said "I prayed for you every day Mom. I prayed that you would be strong and you wouldn't get too tired and you would make it up every hard hill!"
I thanked her and I told her her prayers were answered . I felt her prayers and was strengthened beyond measure!