Right before we left, they gave us our families. As leaders, we anticipated resistance and complaining or even rebellion, but either they were super tired that early in the morning or anxious to get going because all we heard was excitement. Geoff and I got to be the crazy aunt and uncle in our family. Our Ma and Pa were Steve and Brittany (all last names withheld to protect the innocent. ;) and we had 2 nephews, Ben and Steven (obviously named for his Pa) and 2 nieces, Julisa and Kyra. I can't even begin to describe how inspired our families were.
Geoff and I ended up driving after the desperate call for vehicles went out the night before we were supposed to leave. We scraped out the layers of kid clutter and threw our tent and buckets in the back. We ended up with an all-adult vehicle and I can't say I didn't love that! It was quiet. We toted the Trek leaders, Nick and Kimberly, and a Ma and Pa who were the liaisons for the Spanish Branch, Bob and Paz. I am so glad we invited the Spanish Branch to come with us. It was neat to get to know them better and even though their numbers dwindled, I am glad for every one of them that ended up able to come!
We arrived in Wyoming and ate our sack lunches. Not shockingly, several of the kids had finished their lunches in the car. We delayed setting up camp for our first trekking and I can't say that I wasn't worried that we'd be putting up tents in the dark. We didn't. We camped at the Willie site and had the place pretty much to ourselves. We weren't a very large group and we were early in the season which resulted in us having a giant campground. We dropped off some of the men so they could bring the handcarts to camp and drove our precious cargo and all of their stuff up the rest of the way.
Our first walk as pioneers opened my eyes as to how much weaker I am physically than they were. Four of our family members stopped at the bathroom and four of us kept going and it was MUCH harder, but we couldn't stop or we'd be left behind. We eventually stopped and waited for them to catch up. Many, many years ago, there were those that were either too weak to go on or left to catch up late into the night and I realized how abandoned they must have felt. All that the rest of the company was doing was putting one foot in front of the other over and over. And while that kept putting them one footstep closer to Zion, I think it must have felt quite hopeless for those that had to stop for any great length of time.
You know, I've been this height for a long time now, but I've not heard so much about it as I have today! From in here, I forget how tall I am from outside of myself. It's not that fun to be reminded so often, but they'll get over it! I just use all of my usual answers and laugh it off. :)
We walked through our first water today. We walked quite a ways in marshy grass before we got to some clear water. The marsh also doubled for a cattle toilet, if you catch my meaning. Ick! First we pulled our handcart through. And by "we" of course I mean Ben and Steven.
Then we helped ourselves across trying not to get our skirts too wet.
|Oh Johnny! Oh Johnny! Oh!|
We practiced square dancing tonight. We had one youtube-assisted practice before we came and I guess we did pretty well because the kids jumped right in and danced great. The Senior Missionaries were SO cute as our callers and extra partners. "Oh Johnny" gets stuck in my head all the time now! It's just like "The Song that Never Ends," because it just keeps going around and around. The kids really get into the dancing... it's more like a work out!
As the sun went down we got to hear from a missionary acting as Ephraim Hanks. He said his friends call him "Eph" which is what we call Ethan all the time. He was a really cool guy! He had a great relationship with the local Indians and was called on often to keep the peace. He rode for the Pioneer Express, which was a pre-cursor to the Pony Express. It travelled the route the pioneers did before the train, but as fast as he could on horseback by himself. It took most people 6 weeks, Eph could do it in 23 days. By him doing that, Saints could get letters to and from their families every 6 weeks. I can't imagine only hearing from my sister every 6 weeks instead of being able to pick up the phone or write her an email!
Our tent is a good size for us and I loved the softness of the air mattress. The temperature did not agree with Geoff, he shivered most of the night. I wasn't cold, though. Weird. We each rolled up a quilt in our 2 warmest sleeping bags. The campground is pretty sandy and very, very open. The half-height mountains are very far away and the landscape is rolling molehills compared to what we're used to. Lots of room for the wind to rush around in.
Can't wait for tomorrow!!