Saturday, June 09, 2012

Faith in Every Footstep - Day 4

This morning we broke camp. It was very bittersweet. Although I won't miss sleeping on the ground, I will miss what we've been doing here. I'll miss the people I've been able to hang out with. I'll miss the amazing sunsets with no mountains to cover them up. I'll miss the closeness of the Spirit we've created every day by talking about the Pioneers and walking where they walked. The Spirit of Elijah is so strong with me and I hope I can keep it going and keep feeding that fire by researching my own ancestor's stories. Maybe I'll even find a gap or two that I can help fill.

We took family pictures this morning.

Aren't we beautiful?! From left to right there's Julisa, Kyra, Auntie D, Unca G, Ben, Steven, Mama B and Papa Steve. I truly do love these guys! We had SO MUCH FUN! One of the reasons I walked for who I walked for (to be elaborated on in another post) was because she kept her sense of humor even through hard times. I truly believe there were people like us who tried to lighten the severity of their situation by finding joy. Seriously, we had the best family ever!

These are our fearless leaders. The Dickeys were our Trek Planners, Motivators, Question Answerers and just general Trek Extrodinaires! They put an amazing amount of work into this whole thing. We got to ride up with them and I know they put their hearts and souls into making this into what it became. Not to mention Kimberly sewed her apron and bonnet and it was practically her first time sewing. She did Awesome! Other than using the glue gun for the flower! ;D Next to them are Elder and Sister Billings, the missiornaries that checked on us every day and encouraged us. They square danced with us and prepped us for the different activities. Aren't they adorable? I think this would be an amazingly Awesome mission!

The only thing on today's agenda was to drive an hour and a half to Rock Creek and have a testimony meeting. We almost lost a carload, but we found them. It was a web of dirt roads after following a miniscule sign off of the "main" road. It's a wonder that we all made it there, honestly! Totally worth the trouble.

After eating lunch in their picnic area, we dropped our water bottles outside of the gate and reverently walked back to a memorial of the people that died. When the Willie Company got here, it was during a horrible winter storm. Wind, lots of snow and lots more wind. It took them 27 hours to get all of the weakened Saints up and over. They lost 13 people that day. Including little Jens and his foster sister Bodil. They were all buried here at Rock Creek in a common grave. The two men that dug the grave died by the next morning and were also buried nearby. Some of the accounts I read said that not everyone who had relatives die even came for the funeral. They were incapacitated of body and also spirit in some cases. We walked by reverently to pay our respects.

When President Hinckley visited Rock Creek, he declared that the Savior had walked there. It truly is sacred ground. He and other members of the first presidency brought their families to visit here and feel of the Spirit there.

You can still see the wagon tracks engraved into the rock. As I stood and looked, I imagined I could see some of the Saints that I have gotten to know through their stories. They would not have been looking back at me, though. They would have been looking forward, towards the Valley. They would have kept putting their feet down in the direction of Zion no matter how much they hurt or how sick they were. 

 It was so sacred here. I felt like I should take off my shoes in respect. I didn't say hardly anything this whole time. I just soaked it all in. We gathered in a little clearing on some long benches for testimony meeting. They had a little portable microphone and I wondered if the wind would carry the voices away, but I was able to hear every word. So many sweet testimonies were shared. My eyes were wet the whole time. Before we went on this Trek, I thought I knew how Amazing our Youth are. They floored me. They are INCREDIBLE. As they stood there one by one with light shining in their eyes, I couldn't help but echo everything the General Authorities have ever said about the Youth. I am so grateful for every one of them and how the time I spend with them makes me a better person. They spoke with power and love for their Savior and the Pioneers. I think they are a great testament to what the Pioneers suffered. (I hope they get to glimpse from Heaven the testimonies that they are still affecting, hundreds of years later.) I felt like my heart was going to burst! I am in Awe of these warriors of the last days. 

This is all of us seated as families after the most amazing testimony meeting of all time.
I wish I could say we were flown home on the wings of angels. I really didn't want to leave this holy place, but if we had to go, it would have been nice to have done it uneventfully. Geoff had a "windshield war" with some unnamed youth. (Don't tell him that I was the one that gave them the glass chalk to write with! ;) By the time we left Rock Creek, everyone had a fun phrase on their cars to distinguish us by. Geoff did a fun collage of all of the sayings on his blog.

The Awesome Brigade
 As we traversed the dirt roads back towards the main road, we decided to stop by a small ghost town we had noticed on our way in to Rock Creek so Geoff could take some pictures. We only planned to stop for 5 minutes and bring up the rear. Right after we finished waving to all of the other cars passing, we turned to get back in the car and discovered a flat tire! I wish I was kidding. It was extremely ironic. We were travelling with Bob and Paz, the newlywedded couple that acted as the liason to the Spanish Branch, and 2 kids from the Branch I hadn't met before. Bob pretty much changed the tire and we drove on the donut for an hour and a half before we could get the tire fixed.

I sent out a mass text letting everyone else know what happened. The trick was that we were pretty much the only ones with a signal up there. I sent out the text knowing that no one would get it until they were close enough to civilization to get a signal. Lucky for us, the Blackhursts got the text and they were traveling with the Dickeys who were driving their other car. They waited for us, but we didn't know that and accidentally passed them. They caught up and we were grateful not to be alone. We stopped at a Walmart in Rock Springs, WY to fix the tire and get dinner for the kids in our cars. It's not a family vacation unless you eat dinner in a parking lot, right?! :) 

Fried chicken! Yum!
If someone came up to me right now and asked me to go back out on Trek for any reason, I would go in a heartbeat! It was the most amazing experience and I am so grateful to add it to my memory banks. If you start to hear rumblings of your Ward or your Stake going on a Pioneer Trek, find a way to go! When the Dickeys heard about Trek and offered their help, they were put in charge! Honestly, though, it is the hardest experience you will ever LOVE.

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