Monday, July 13, 2009

Walk as a Witness

Porter Rockwell Family, minus papa Porter, big sis Larue (Caiti) and Little P.

This year our ward decided to do a Pioneer Trek for our youth conference. We have never done one before, but luckily we had awesome coordinators and the whole thing got put together in two months.

We were on a tight budget, but were able to borrow handcarts from a nearby ward.

We were lucky to have a guy in our ward who owns a bunch of land in the mountains that let us use it for the trek.

We have awesome youth who pulled and pushed those carts on empty stomachs, over steep rocky mountains, through hot summer days, all without complaint.

River Crossing

I really think this trek was "meant" to be.

I am so glad that Tom and I got to be a Mama Anne and Papa Porter to the awesomest group of kids out there. We had 6 kids and flour sack baby, a handacart piled high with bedding and clothes. We had meager rations of food that lasted (we even had leftovers) and tasted delicious. These kids ate vegetable stew (water, veggies, salt and pepper) and thought it was the best stuff on earth.Our Camp

They were awesome at rationing their food so we had the most divine breakfast on the last day: light and fluffy flapjacks, banana "jam", and brown sugar. We were fortunate to find an egg in the chicken we killed so it made the flapjacks awesome. We also got a little buttermilk and butter from fresh cream.

It was an emotional experience to watch these kids struggle to push and pull the handcart up the steep, rocky mountains and not be able to help them. I wanted to. We did get to help in one extra hard section. I think that made the trek extra awesome, because it taught the youth that they can conquer whatever challenges they are faced with, but if the going gets really tough, there will be help available to them.

The women's pull was so awesome and so hard. We had 15 exhausted girls pushing two carts up the steepest section of the trek. The young men and leaders walked beside them in silence. Many of the young men moved rocks or brought water. It is bringing tears to my eyes just thinking about it. These girls probably never worked so hard in their lives, but they did it. They were able to get these carts up all on their own.

Overall, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.


Sharron said...

Love the fashion statement! This sounds so neat. I wish they had had them when I was a kid. I wish I was in good enough shape that I would dare go on one now, in fact. The pioneers had grandmas, didn't they? I don't think I have heard of many of them being left behind!

It sounds like it was a wonderful experience and I am glad that there are leaders who will do these treks with the youth, a great life experience for all!

Jen said...

So if things had got really tough, would you have eaten the baby? J/K

Sounds like an awesome youth conference!

Linda said...

I had tears reading about your experience. I've been on a few handcart treks and believe they are by far the best teaching tool on sacrifice out of anything that the youth can do. It looks like such a great place you went, the real "wilderness." I bet you are an awesome YW leader.

Catherine Williams Photography said...

Wait wait wait, you really killed a chicken? Wow! But seriously, this sounds so amazing. I never went on trek and I have never regretted it until I just read your post! Maybe I will get to be a "Ma" someday! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

Janelle said...

wow what an awesome experience! We never did anything that cool in AZ. Maybe I will get to do one as a leader some day. Thanks for sharing the experience.