Back last fall, Rob and I were asked to go along on trek this June with the teenaged kids in our ward. This is a reenactment of the Mormon pioneers who came across the plains. While many of them came in covered wagons initially, it was more than some of them could afford. Brigham Young came up with the idea to make "handcarts" which used people instead of a team of oxen to pull a family's belongings across most of America. One of my own pioneer ancestors, Mary Ann Argyle, was in the first company of handcarts that came out to Utah.
Going on trek is something that has trended since Rob and I were in our teens. Only one person of our generation went, and her experience was kind of hardcore (the leaders brought live chickens and made the kids figure out how to slaughter them) (ugh). Now, however, most teenagers around here get a chance to go on trek once between 14 and 18. This was the first time that our stake (a group of congregations) had put on a trek.
I was skeptical because we weren't getting a full-service trek where there are professionals along the path to help you out and show you how it's done. Instead we were using all stake people and provisions and heading out to a site not normally used for handcarts. But we borrowed our "pioneer drag" as Rob called it.
The McFarland family just setting out:(L to R) me, Rob, Brian, Katelyn, Brayden, Soa, Kinley, Caroline, and Sam. We had no idea how awesome they were at this point
Here is Maddie, starting out with her family. She was excited because for once she was the youngest -- with two older sisters!
The first bonus was that Sam's older sister, Jessica was back from grad school and had come to drive another brother back early. She, and her newly-rescued dog Moxie came along and were quickly adopted into our family. Yeah, that's right. We got a dog.
Here Soa and Brayden demonstrate the high-tech brakes.
And here Caroline, our sunscreen nazi, applies sunscreen to anything that stood still. We asked her if she could yell at people. When she said that she could, we knew she was the right person for the job. No sunburns here!
At various points along the trail, there were games and activities set up. Some were team building, some were mensa problems, and some were just games. Here we are playing tug-of-war.
This was a run-and-catch-your-neighbor's-stick game.
And stilts were just bizarre. It turned out that Rob and I both rocked the stilts even though none of our boss, athletic kids could. It was difficult terrain, filled with mole holes and tunnels. Later Maddie told us she was a stilt ninja too. Who knew?! Now we have to find a way to integrate this skill into everyday living.
Pa Rob shows his horseshoe throwing skills, which he kept at a fine sheen in Dorfgastein.
We lunched at a lake.
We fell behind the kids, who were racing down the trail.
By the time we caught up, the front handle had fallen off and they had come up with a very effective solution: the duct tape I'd brought for blisters, and some cord. This was probably the best team building and mensa exercise of the trip, and it certainly solidified our feeling that the kids were completely capable.
Rob, sporting his pioneer wear and his hippie, environmental, bleeding-heart liberal Sundance water bottle. Great grandpa Robert, that anti-suffrage signer of the Utah constitution is rolling in his grave.
We had a river crossing. I love this picture (which Maddie took) because it shows everyone helping. We found out later that in some families the boys had the handcart the whole time and the girls just walked along.
Not our family. Katelyn and Kinley certainly pulled their weight.
"For some must push and some must pull/ as we go marching up the hill"
And can we just stop and admire the scenery?! This is why Rob and I kept falling behind. It was GORGEOUS! Like Meg Ryan in "French Kiss": "Oh-hoh! Beautiful! Wish you were here!"
Sam let a bee into the boys' tent and they were all screaming like toddlers at naptime. Poor Sam!