Monday, June 13, 2011

Stake Youth Conference Handcart Trek

Mike and I were asked to be a "Ma" and "Pa" for our Stake Handcart Trek. We were gone from June 9 thru the 11th, 2011. A more detailed description of the things we did can be requested. These are just some photos I took and minimal (for me) narration. Enjoy!
The group. 170 bodies, 19 handcarts. We were in the ponderosa forests north of the Grand Canyon, AZ.

The first break for lunch. The meals were yummy, organized and such a herculean undertaking by the leaders! Amazing. I stress over feeding my extended family of 15-17 bodies if they all show up at once.

On the trail. Above is my "family." Two of the six children were in my ward, and we added an "Uncle Morgan," an adult from another ward that I didn't know to assist us since Mike was along as support and not walking with us.
Kassie and Venice enjoying the lunch break. Venice is in my ward.

DJ and Weston and Me. Yes, I do look tired, don't I?

My family at our first night's camp. We slept out under the stars. We cooked with another family, sharing a camp chef propane stove. We were COLD by morning and you could see your breath! We ended this day with a group fireside with stories shared, then a family meeting as well. We were very tired. It was about 8 miles of hiking that day.

This was an A.M. break on Day 2 of our Trek. Our flag was light blue. We have all the carts lined up to make way for any passing cars, etc. We did have some support crew to haul the camp chef stoves and the bounteous food that they fed us. We also had a very proactive medical team that watched over us.
The temperatures in the day time were in the 70's. We had light breezes to cool our sweaty bodies. And the trees provided welcome shade along the road.
Day 2, our first activity of the day was the "Endurance Pull." This was for the youth to push our fully-loaded handcart up a very steep hill with no assistance from the parents. It was a little difficult to see them struggle. (But I was busy documenting, so didn't watch as closely as I should have.) Mike helped with this station and gave the talk to each family as they began, and we were spaced out about 5 minutes apart. My family climbed the hill last of all. And they did it!!
This is what Mike did as he waited for the road to clear. We did not sleep well at night, needless to say. Pine cones do not make good beds.
Up and up and up the hill. We had some serious athletes in our family. The two girls in the back on the left ran cross-country and one of the boys plays football.
This is where I wish I had photo editing skills. Imagine the one above, cropped to just their hands. Cool. This was the steep endurance pull. Uncle Morgan is walking beside.
See? It's very steep. And it was very hard.
Our stake patriarch met with the youth and spoke during an afternoon break.
Friday afternoon, we camped at this meadow and had 4 stations set up with 8 activities. This activity was quilting. Some of my kids are tying a quilt.
These kids are plugging their ears because they are waiting for their turn to shoot a black powder rifle.
Savannah is in my ward. She's prepared to shoot, but the gun is being loaded. I didn't think to get a picture of her actually shooting it. Oh well.
For some reason, the pictures are out of order. Close up of Craig Jones, patriarch. He and his son, Jeff (who lives in my ward) delivered our Pony Express letters to the youth earlier in the day. That was kind of fun.
Friday activity: Archery. Brandt is in my ward and in my trek family. He shot a Bulls-eye!
Saturday morning, someone said it was 37 degrees F. Brrr. That first burst of sunlight did feel oh-so- good! I packed a jacket and in the pocket I added gloves and a headband. It helped. The hot cocoa helped, too. Mmmmm, chocolate. :-) This (above) was taken Saturday morning.
Friday night, a brief, blustery storm blew through. Some thought we needed tarps set up to protect us from rain. But it didn't even settle the dust. Some kids slept in the shelter once it was up, however.
And, yes, we were dirty. Dusty, dirty, filthy. Venice is writing her name in DIRT on her leg. No, she's writing it in CLEAN while cleaning away the dirt. That's a lot of dirt.
This was the butter-making station. Patrick Dowse and his wife Coleen are in my ward, and he was just so TICKLED to be making butter. I missed the shot of him grinning ear-to-ear. But many of the kids were just as elated and excited and just plain amazed at what they were doing! It was so dang cute to watch. :-)
The meadow in the background is where we all lined up the last morning (Saturday) for a group shot. I hope to see that picture some day.
Our Saturday destination was a place near the north rim of the Grand Canyon. We stopped at Crazy Jug Lookout. The flowers above were there. And the view below. Pretty spectacular.
This (below) was on the way Saturday. Lots of trees, lots of hills to climb, too. We were hiking uphill most of the day.

My family was so pleased to be at the very front of the handcart company! Eric Brown, from my ward and our trip leader, was the first in line. He led the way to Crazy Jug lookout and to the next destination where we had our Stake Youth Conference Testimony meeting. I bawled my eyes out for just about the whole thing. Just look at that View!! We sat there, on the side of the hill, and this is what we were looking at the whole time. Magnificent. Again, if you need more detail, I have it typed up and on my desk top.


Donna said...

Looks rough!

Linda Liebhardt said...

Yeah, well, don't judge it by the way I looked!

Suzanne said...

Wow, you are brave to accept that assignment! I always pray we won't be asked for that one. Too hard! I wasn't born in the pioneer days for a reason! :)

Hali said...

What a trek! Glad you "survived" :)

Debbie said...

Thanks for posting these. I too am going to be a "Ma" in a few weeks for our Stake's trek, and I am not really looking forward to it. I agree with Suzanne, "I wasn't born in the pioneer days for a reason"!! But, the stake presidency has asked us to do this, so do it we will. Can you message me at and let me know how you made your family flag?