Sunday, August 18, 2013

On the Trail Again and the Women's Pull - Day 2

Day two dawned on trek and that means packing to go home. Granted, we still had a day of handcart pulling ahead of us. You want everything to be ready to go when you get back, so you can jump right in your car and sit for hours. (Although this doesn't sound so bad after a few miles walking.)

I haven't documented very much about the food, but we were well fed, just as before. Betham's, Sigua's, and Brother Martin organized our meals and everything was delicious. Feeding that many people is frankly amazing in my book. We got mostly pictures out on the trails, but let us ever be grateful for those who worked behind the scenes.

Saturday beat out Friday for wildlife. Previously we saw antelope and a dog chasing said antelope later in the day, but that was it. Oh, Tyler did see a lizard and there were some tadpoles in the stream. Saturday however, started with some good friendly critters. Eni fished some frogs out of the river, and all the kids were enthralled. This is the one I saw.

However, later it seemed they caught more because I heard Robyn running up to another kid and saying, "Come see, there is a whole frog auditorium."

While children were rustling up the amphibians, adults were taking down tents. This photo here is proof that I helped. (In the past, I been wrangling children while Tyler sets up and takes down the tent. I was the one who fought to let Hannah bring an extra tent, so I wanted to make sure I did my part putting it up and taking it down.) Also proof that Conner is a photo bomber.

Some people have creative methods for getting all the air out of their tent.

When Taylor's tent came down, he found another little friend. If you think a frog is popular, wait until you find a salamander.

(Also seen later, but not pictured here was a caterpillar that I actually had to carry for a while on the trail to keep him safe. Robyn later deposited the caterpillar near the Willie's Bridge.)

After camp was broken down and cars loaded, we were ready to hit the river trail. This tends to be my favorite day of trek. I like that the trail leaves right from our camp site and the kids get really excited about all the river crossings. Last time the second day was the day we were basically carried away by mosquitoes. It was miserable, bug wise. However, this year I didn't see a SINGLE mosquito. Not one. The entire time. Notwithstanding that, Ivory and Robyn both managed to get a bite. (My children are such over achievers.)

Our group assembled near the head of the trail. Here is cute Christian ready to go.

June is ready to pull the cart again.

Josie is getting her bonnet on. I should have taken some pointers from her. I was not such a good bonnet wearer on day 2 either.

We knelt and prayed together before we left.

Ivory saw this picture and said, "MOM, you are supposed to close your eyes during a prayer."
I said, "Of course I was closing me eyes."
"Yes....Dad took that picture."

And then we were off, like a shot. Okay, it was more of an optimistic trudge.

Our handcart was at the end of the company this time. It made it really easy to take nice pictures from the back.

However, if I wanted anyone's faces I had to run all the way to the front. I did many trips back and forth that day. It was nice when we would stop for a break. Then I could amble up to the front and be ready for the next set. On one such break, I stood off in the brush to view the company. I looked down for a moment and something skittered away. With help from Nathan Fairbanks we caught another little stranger and let the kids ooh and aah over him. He was pretty cute.

Along the trail we stopped for a moment to share our stories of those for whom we were trekking. Our group is off to the right here.

John Hair is a distant relative of mine. He joined the church in England with his first wife and their children. Unfortunately after they took in a border, his wife left him for the man who was renting. John remarried Elizabeth C. Hair and had three more children, 2 boys, and a girl.

John traveled across the ocean to reach Zion and ended up traveling with other saints and reaching the Salt Lake valley in 1864. The day he wired money back for his wife, their daughter Elizabeth passed away from croup. Elizabeth (the elder) was still able to make the trip with her two sons and reach her husband. I trekked for Elizabeth C. Hair and Daisy trekked for her daughter Elizabeth.

Another ancestor who arrived in Utah was Elizabeth Cherry. She had several children, but died after the birth of a daughter, Sarah. Pearl trekked for Elizabeth Cherry and Ivory trekked for baby Sarah. Although some of these people did not cross in dire circumstances or even at all, we still honor what they stood for and the sacrifices they made.

Robyn trekked for a woman on Tyler's side of the family. Her name was Vilhemine Christine Vilhemson. Although we don't know much about her once she got to America, we do know that she lost her three children on the voyage across the ocean. Since there was no place to bury the children, they put them on a board and let them float out to sea.

June trekked for Jane Bult. She had quite a large family, nearing 20 siblings, and they all survived the trek across to Salt Lake. (How's that for a happy story.)

Tyler trekked for his ancestor Dan Cazier. He was an experienced rancher who broke cattle and horses. He was well versed with the countryside the pioneers traveled across. He made the journey across many times, often helping people along the way.

It was very interesting to listen to stories about people who others were trekking for. It was a good moment to remember those who came before us and why we bother to put on pioneer clothes in the first place and dare to sample a small taste of what they experienced.

One of my favorite things about trek is watching people interact. It almost feels a little like Christmas. People tend to be kinder and more aware of the needs of those around them. Even the children seemed to be showing their best sides. Here is Ashley helping Pearl take her jacket off because it was hot out.

It was somewhere around then that I started trying to put together group shots. It is easy to get candid photos, but I wanted to remember who was pushing each handcart. I don't have names for each individual, and the photos are taken in different areas sometimes, but I was happy with these shots.

The Lau handcart.

The Sigua handcart.

The Fairbanks/Simmons handcart.

The Whiting/Holcomb handcart.

The Cross/Tumanuvao handcart.

The Betham/Smith handcart.

The Hamblin/Loveland handcart.

The Johnson/Redd handcart. (The Redd's are the family that bought our old house.)

The Moore/Cazier shot was taken the day before and I never did get the Moses/Heaton cart or the Wright/Bohn cart. I feel really badly about that.

We pulled just a bit farther. Tyler is looking good.

Then we stopped to listen to another group of missionaries recount stories from the Willie Handcart company. I missed some of this because I took June to the bathroom. The problem was that there weren't any close bathrooms, so we had an outdoor adventure. It was my turn because Tyler had already taken Daisy to use the bushes twice. (That child has a very small bladder.) When we returned, there wasn't much shade to be had, but the stories were still good.

We reloaded the carts to make a short jaunt over to lunch. We mixed up the carts a bit. All the supplies from our wagon went elsewhere and we received a covering and a lot of children. A LOT of children. I think we had 11 in there at one point. Other rumors said 16, but that seems crazy. Don't be fooled, Hannah was not in the wagon, she was just helping them push.

The kids pretended it was the 'sick wagon' and they came up with all sorts of ailments to be had. Luckily there weren't any true injuries that day. Tyler and June look like they are ready to pull a heavy load of children.

The scenery is a little different from Martin's Cove. I still think it is beautiful and I snapped this photo before we reached the lunch area.

There was no shade where we parked for lunch. Many people faced the heat head on, but others ate under the handcarts (myself included). Some people used tarps to rig up temporary shade. Not a bad idea if you ask me.

We had one visitor at the beginning of lunch. I almost forgot that I got a picture, because it is so hard to see this jack rabbit. Okay, really hard to see. Do your best.

After lunch we went straight to the women's pull. This time, all children 7 and under went with the men to the top of the hill. It was just the sisters 8 and up who pulled. I believe women can be very strong, especially when asked to pull the weight when men are not available. Charity mentioned that it was not a very realistic scene. She said that it should be just me and her pulling our handcart up the hill with our 11 children. I told her that if it were realistic, five of the kids would probably have already died. "Good point," she said.

The missionary who stayed below with the women spoke to us (the last group of the season) about our symbolic handcarts that we pull every day. Are we putting in them just what is essential? Or do we load them with unnecessary items that slow us down and hold us back? I for one, could probably do with a good handcart reorganization.

And then the women pulled.

We were the last cart up. If you look closely, you can see that June had one blue foot and one pink foot. That is because she lost her shoe at the bottom of the hill. But she didn't stop pulling for one second.

It was so nice to reach the top. I made sure to hug each of the women who pulled with me. I am truly grateful for all the great sisters in my life.

Good friends make the journey sweet.

To be continued in Three Special River Crossings and the End of Trek - Day 2

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