"Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum." Graycie Harmon
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Surviving Trek and other fun stuff
I learned a lot about myself last week. I went on a pioneer trek with the youth in our stake. We rode up Parleys Canyon in some school buses then were dropped off somewhere in the boonies where we found handcarts waiting for us.
Let me preface this by saying, I am not an outdoorsy girl. Plain and simple. The minute, and I'm not exaggerating, the very minute I got called to be a counselor in our Stake Young Women presidency I thought, "Crap, now I have to go on trek." (Pardon my French - although that isn't French at all, is it?)
Anyway, for nearly a year our stake leaders and trek committee have been planning trek. I was resolved to go, but in my heart I was dreading it. I don't mind physical exercise and labor, I really don't. Actually I like hard work and exertion, but being outside in the heat, with the bugs and the snakes, wearing a long skirt and a bonnet, did not excite me.
But I went. You also need to know, I look like an idiot in a bonnet. I really do. I would have been a very homely pioneer. But after about fifteen minutes in the heat, you suddenly realize, none of that matters. All you care about it staying cool, surviving, and getting that handcart up the next hill. Oh, and not falling into a gopher hole, of which there are thousands in the Wyoming boondocks.
The first day we trekked about eleven miles. I never saw one tree the entire time. There was no shade . . . at all! When we stopped to take a break and get a drink, most of us stood, while some sat on the ground. That night, we made camp. Almost everyone slept outside under the stars. The other counselor who went with me brought a tent, thank goodness. We were inside and while that helped keep out the cold, it didn't keep out the horrendous snoring going on around us. I have to say though, that the stars were incredible and the sunrise was too.
The next day we walked about five miles, then once we made camp, the kids (200 or so) played games and had a square dance. This day was perfect. Just enough walking, just enough playing, and really incredible food.
That night the temperatures dropped to freezing and the kids woke up with frost on their sleeping bags. That's one brisk trip to the porta-potty, I'm telling you. We broke camp and then walked the final four and a half miles back to the road where our buses met us. By day three we were all exhausted. Without much sleep and with over twenty miles behind us, we were happy to see those four yellow buses waiting for us. But even though the kids faces were dirt and sweat stained, they were also beaming with joy. The entire time I never heard one youth complain. Not once. I saw kids jump to the aid of another when someone needed help. There was teamwork and laughing, singing and a lot of blisters on hands and feet. But those awesome kids did it. And I was so glad to be part of it.
I gained a strong appreciate for those amazing pioneers who did more than I did with much less than I had. Their sacrifice and hard work, their determination and faith, has touched my heart, and I will be forever grateful that I got to experience a small sampling of what they went through.
Take it from me, if you ever have a chance to go on trek, I definitely would recommend it. It will change your life!
My greatest claim to fame is my family. I am married to my prince charming and have four awesome children. This year I experienced the joy of becoming a grandmother to my sweet baby girl Halle. I love to travel and I love to write books.