Sunday, May 02, 2010


It is now the end of another very exciting and fun filled weekend. As I mentioned in my last posting, this weekend our stake put on a Trek for the young men and women. I guess they have more men willing to go than they did women because Lisa was invited to be a leader but I wasn't. I was disappointed but obviously it would be weird for the kids if the adults outnumbered the youth so I consoled myself with the fact that I'd get lots done this weekend. Imagine my joy when my friend Randy Madsen called and asked me to help out with the the black powder guns. I was thrilled.

We drove up to Riley's Ranch on Friday night and believe it or not, they assembled the hand carts and headed out on the trail in the dark. They walked about a mile and then stopped in a clearing and started to get ready for bed. It was very cold and just as some of the kids were snuggling up in their sleeping bags a mob came and forced them to leave camp. It was very traumatic for some of the kids.
They did have some "Dutch Oven" meals before they hit the trail so I helped clean up after they left and then drove around to the other side of the ranch where the kids would be ending up. We helped get the fires going and waited for their arrival. When they finally dragged themselves into camp they were all very ready for bed. Sarah was not interested in the devotional or anything other than her sleeping bag.
The night was very cold and even though I slept well I woke up a few times with some very cold toes. Lisa on the other hand froze all night long as did the majority of the camp. Sarah of course slept like a baby. We all woke up with frost on our bags so I guess that is proof that it was cold.

I woke up the next morning with the sun in my face (I love that) and I saw that everyone was huddled around the fire.
Sleeping bags were scattered all over the ground.
The view was amazing. The night before we looked out over the valley and the lights were beautiful and stretched on for ever.

I found my wife and she gave me a hug before heading out with her "family". The families consisted of about twelve kids. Last time they had a "Ma" and a "Pa" but this time they wanted to give more responsibility to the kids so they had a big brother and a big sister who were seniors. Two adults were assigned to each family as "Trail Guides". Lisa was a trail guide.

And then I found Sarah. I don't think that Wolverine sweat shirt was in style in the 1850's but when you're cold you do what you have to do. She may have slept warmly but she was sure freezing after she got up.

At one point the US Army showed up to recruit 500 men into the US Army. Since they needed the money all of the boys signed up and headed to Mexico to fight a war. I was standing by a couple of girls when the boys signed up and they were quite distraught. One said, "where are they going?" and another said, "does this mean that we have to pull the carts by ourselves?" It seemed quite realistic.

Randy brought two actual Marines to do the drills. They were very realistic yelling and screaming in the faces of the boys.

They taught them drills for fighting

While the boys were fighting battles the girls were learning crafts. Sarah made a beautiful candle with lilacs melted into the wax.

They also learned to write with actual quills. Her writing was quite nice but there were a lot of globs of ink on the paper.

Mother and daughter

They also learned a lot of other skills. Sarah learned how to drive a plow horse. When she yelled "GEE" the horse actually turned right. When she called out "HAW" it would turn left. To stop was WOA and to go was a kissing sound. It actually worked.

Father and daughter

Sarah splitting wood. I think she'd better stick with plowing.

Sarah always insisted on being in the front and on the bar.

She also learned how to throw a lasso. She actually roped her cow on the first throw.

Sarah helping girls climb a make shift ladder out of a gully. No boys were around because they were in the Mormon Battalion.

There was a pair of ropes across that little gully but none of the girls wanted to try it. Anyone who knows Sarah would not be surprised to learn that she was the first to try it. She also made it across just fine. The girl behind her took a nasty fall. It was quite scary. I think she was hurting quite badly but she shook it off and acted as if she was fine.

This is moms family. Do you see her there in the back?

There is Sarah out in front again

Climbing a big hill. I took this with my telephoto lens from the other side of the canyon.

One cute pioneer girl

After climbing the "widow maker" they still have enough energy to play some games. I need to ask Sarah who won this stick pull game. Lisa took the picture so I don't know.

Sarah loading the muzzle loader.

Sarah ready to shoot something

I tried and tried to get Mom to shoot the flint lock musket but she refused until some other men worked on her. She finally consented.

Putting in the powder

Taking aim

And fire! And then she screamed and turned her head. The flint lock musket is a weird gun to shoot. You have a flash pan full of powder so you get this big flash in your face and then a moment later you get a second explosion. It takes nerves of steel not to flinch when that powder flashes in your face.

It was a great weekend but I really enjoyed the shower and a warm bed when I got home.


Lisa said...

It was a great experience once again. Not all the kids were playing games after widow maker! Sarah and her partner won the game - surprise surprise! I felt sorry for the boy she beat.

Justin, Kira and Evan said...

How fun is that??? Sarah is soooo BEAUTIFUL!!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pictures of Mom shooting the gun :-) Made me smile!

Alycia (Crowley Party) said...

hahaha these are adorable... and you got to love mom with that gun in the last picture hahahahaha :)

Dad said...

Great pictures but that's not my Daughter in the last picture !!!!

Peter and Mandy said...

Those are some awesome pictures. Sarah is so cute!

Caitlan McConnell said...

Oh the fun memories of the trek! Good times! Sounds like the kids had a blast and it was a very different experience then when we went. However, I am sure they had a blast!
I have missed my ma and pa, but I am really excited to see you guys soon!

Lynn said...

I LOVED this post! Very interesting to see the different type of role plays and activities that another stake does on their trek than up here.

Thanks for all the pictures!! This was an awesome read.