As we were taking our time another Trek Group came up on us in a big hurry. They were a very large group and so some of our groups at the end let them catch up and pass rather than them hurry us on our way. A couple of them expressed envy at our group's slower pace. I really am so glad that we slowed things down this day.
As we were walking, we saw one of our groups off to the side all kneeling down. We quieted as we came up on the Blackhurst family all kneeling around a shallow hole with their Pa's shirt with a blue baby afghan laying in it. Sister Blackhurst really is expecting and she is my friend, so to watch her burying a baby really started my tears. Their faces as they knelt there with tears in the kids' eyes got me, too. I simply cannot imagine burying my child along some trail I will never have the opportunity of traveling ever again. I can't fathom not knowing where my child's body was because I had no means of marking it. Or far, far worse not knowing where they were because the wild animals in the area desecrated their resting place.
(Picture to come)
Just as we get past that experience, they came and chose one person from each family to pass into the immortal realm. They came and tied a white arm band around Kyra's arm and took her away from us. We were all kind of shock at first. I turned and saw my good friend's family and she, the Ma, was the one that had died. Her husband stood with his arms around his trek kids and the looks on their faces...! We talked about losing a daughter and a sister. And then we talked about losing Kyra. I, knowing her the best, talked about the things I admire about her. She is incredibly smart, like dizzyingly intelligent. She is way better at Math than I ever hope to be even including my college degree. She is very compassionate and is always thinking about others. She is hilarious! She is so witty and always makes me think. We really, really missed her as we began to walk again.
As we walked up on our "angels," they were all standing along the trail with their heads bowed, watching over us. The first person I saw was my friend Kelli who I had been walking with every morning and texting with everyday and we are practically family. My eyes filled with tears as soon as I saw her and before I had taken very many more steps, I was audibly sobbing. Seeing everyone standing there reverently and realizing how many lives they represented that had to leave their families behind to suffer on the trail really did me in. So many mortal lives ended along that trail. I can't help but think they must have spent so much of their next life watching over those that were still walking to the Valley. How hard for those of us left behind!
The first night that we did Square Dancing, the missionaries seemed to be functioning under the assumption that we had never done these dances before and so they were very instructional. This time they knew that we knew them and so jumped right in! They were calling things so fast, it left me breathless! This was not helped by the contest some of the boys seemed be having between themselves to see who they could throw the furthest while spinning them around!! McKay sent me spinning! I was relieved to have the dance quit right before I danced with Ryker because I saw how far he was throwing his partners! It really was so much fun!
Tonight the Pioneer Express rider visited us. Before the Pony Express, they had the Pioneer Express which delivered mail in a 6 week loop between the last settlement in the east out to Salt Lake. Ephraim Hanks was a famous Pioneer Express rider, as I mentioned before. Tonight, the rider brought letters for the kids from their folks back home. I know that my good friend and Beehive Advisor worked tirelessly to make sure every person on Trek got a letter! They all went off to read their letters and enjoy that bit of home after being gone for 3 days. :)
After personal time, we gathered again as families. Again, our family just really enjoyed each other's company. Kyra
Our family also holds a tender endearment to cow chips. And I don't mean Pringles! ;D I can't explain it and I won't say much more other than it was suggested that at our Pace-d Patty stand we should also say shellacked cow pie clocks. We would of course use the winners of an undisclosed contest involving the petrified gems of the prairie. It should also be noted that as we sat around the family fire enjoying our Pace-d Patties, Ben got a mosquito bite in his ear.