The kids from our ward that we brought up.
We started our trek with a family of 10! Josh, Spencer, Daccoda, Kassie, Megan, Kaylee, Clara, and Yoshalyn. The best kids your could ever ask for! Here we are all clean and shiny to start our trek!
Josh and Spencer looking like banditos! These 2 guys were our muscle for the trek. They pulled almost the whole time and worked incredibly hard filling up water jugs and helping set up and take down camp. I'm so grateful for them!
Daccoda was our big brother of the family. He was in charge of keeping everyone happy, working together and encouraging any who needed it! He did a fabulous job and I am so glad he decided to come. Clara and Yoshalyn were so sweet! They were like little mothers themselves and took care of eachother and the other girls in our family. They were always watching out for anyone who needed a friend and willing to cheer anyone up who needed it. This was something WAY out of these girls comfort zone and they conquered many challenges and fears with grace! I love them so much!
That evening we had to do a skit about how a pioneer would react to a modern day item. We choose Ductape! We all came up with funny or useful things to do with it. The kids were crushed when a family before us came up with the SAME EXACT IDEA! But we stayed with it since we didn't have very much. It was an entertaining evening.
After a good nights rest, and taking down camp we were off on day #2 (thursday) which was supposed to be a simpler day. Still about 5 miles but flatter. IT WAS HOT! And the wind was blowing lots of dust. It made for a long day. Our family was struggling to stay together at this point because eveyone was walking at a different pace. I spent my time going back and forth between the family and the ones who were walking slower. I really got my steps in that day!
Again we had lots of breaks along the way and I was glad for them! Here are my cute daughters Kaylee and Megan.
When we got to camp the tent spaces were MUCH closer. About a quarter of the size of what we had with with first camp spot. A little grumbling started and a smart Pres Rogers was quick to pull us 'together and remind us of our purpose. A few expressed some concerns and another wise Pres Drais reminded us that if we were hiking with our real families there is no way we would leave them along side the trail if they were struggling and counseled us to stick together and help eachother and keep the spirit here in camp. It was a good pep talk! The campground, although small, was beautiful and many were quick to rip their shoes off and soak in the cold creek running through camp. Others (who I thought were crazy) couldn't wait to hike up the mountain. Where I'm standing is where all the tents were and below is where we would all gather,
The kids were very excited for "cousin time" that evening and had a blast running around camp exploring. I was most exhausted at the end of this day and grateful to go to sleep!
Friday oh Friday!!! Our family was offered to be at the front of the pack to set the pace on this morning which we were all excited about. We climbed to the front of the line and as we were waiting something awful happened. We were standing around talking while the medical people were getting set up on their 4 wheelers. One was about 20 yards up the trail from us. He seemed to be having some problems with it but I didn't know what. All of a sudden, we heard the engine rev and saw the quad barreling down the mountain in reverse right for our family. He tried to send his back end up the mountain which caused it to tip and skid right into our family. Chad and I were in the front and Chad pushed me out of the way and I fell down right on the edge of the little ledge we were on. Chad, from his speed and quick action, continued rolling down the mountain edge he fell off of and I thought for sure he was gone forever! The quad then hit one of our boys and knocked him over the edge of the side bars of the cart and hit another's foot. The poor medical people were scrapped up pretty good. And everyone was shook up! Chads adrenaline was pumping and despite having just fell off a small cliff, hopped up and ran back up and was the first one to reach the crash and lift the 4 wheeler back up. He was unharmed and unhurt. Josh on the other had was in quite a bit of pain and although he tried to brush it off, we knew he was hurt and sent him the the medical car immediately. Our family knew that we would all have to step up since Josh was our strongest puller! And that they did!
One of the first obstacles after we got on the trail was crossing the river! It was cool and very enjoyable!!
After a nice long rest, the boys were called away to represent those who were called away to serve in the mormon batallion, They would climb the hill and wait for us at the top. Chad told me they hiked in reverence knowing the challenge that laid ahead for us women. At the top, they had a devotional by Pres Eardley and they were instructed to call down the powers of heaven the help their families. They were told to wait in silence and not to reach out and help us no matter what. A feat that proved to be hard for them.
At the bottom, the girls had their own special devotional about women being able to do hard things and relying on the Lord for help by Pres. Howland in a beautiful shady grove. When it was time to get on the trail, we were pumped!
As we were making our flag as a family, I was impressed to put HYMAS STRONG at the top of a wheel with all our names on it. Signifying that it would take all of us to be strong together, just like a wheel needs all it spokes to be strong. I didn't know how often we would refer to that and use it as a strength
Above is our girls showing their 'Hymas Strong' muscles just before the women's pull.
As we pushed the cart up I thought I might die. Probably one of the hardest things I've done physically. As the men finally came into view I thought I can make it to that first man and then we can stop. I pushed hard to get there. What I didn't know is that the men (about 200 of them) were lining the path watching us pass in silence and tears. There was still a LONG way to go to get through the men. Lots of emotion came over me as I got weaker and weaker. The men were instructed before we got there to call down the powers of heaven to help our family. As I started to black out a little and lean a little more on the cart and move slower, somehow our cart was still moving. It was like we were in a protective bubble provided by the power of the priesthood. I Can't explain it as well as I want to but it was amazing. When I got to the top I was near delirious and there are a few moments I don't remember because of being so physically exhausted. I know the priesthood can bless us in so many ways. Ways I don't think we totally comprehend yet. Many women spoke of feeling the exact same thing. I know we were helped and watched over.
Through lots of help, Josh was also able to be there with us and I was so glad our family was so willing to help him with anything.
As we rolled back into camp, my good friend snapped this picture of our family coming in. The incredible thing about these particular youth is that there was never complaining! They did whatever was asked of them and worked SO hard. AND THEY WERE HAPPY! Megan had the best smile anytime we talked to her and the Shirley girls were exhausted but so happy! I snapped this picture of them holding eachother up as we came back into camp. They are the sweetest sisters!
After dinner, it was time to square dance! My legs and feet were so tired I really didn't know if I could. But it actually helped loosen up my tight muscles and it was really fun! Spence loved the dancing the most I think and was up in front doing his thing!
Walking back the 3 miles to where we started I had a lot of time to think. I kept tearing up knowing I would soon have to say goodbye. These kids have changed our lives forever and we will never forget them. We did one last Hymas SQUEEZE (ask your kids about this!) and hugged everyone goodbye. On of our daughters made the point that we probably knew eachother in heaven and were meant to be in this family together. I don't doubt it for a minute. We needed each member of this family so individually I know it was a tender mercy from God. He is in the little details in our life.
The theme of the trek was ASK IN FAITH. We had so many opportunities to do this as a family and we saw miracles as we did so. Everyone was given a bracelet that signified many things. There were 2 knots in the bracelet which reminded us to Doubt "knot" and Fear "knot." I found myself saying that to myself in my head many times to get through the hard times. The bead stands for BEAD-eliberate (be deliberate) in the good things we do. Do them on purpose and with real intent. The 2 strings signify folded arms and a reminder to doubt not and fear not when we pray. I loved all the symbolism of a simple bracelet and will cherish it forever.
Thank you parents for trusting your kids to us. We grew to love them so much and are grateful to you for the strong kids you've raised both physically as well as spiritually. YOU are incredible. THANK YOU!