I was somewhat concerned beforehand about my role, or lack thereof, as I was not a "ma" and not in charge at all. I was "support staff" and found that it was ideal, really doing whatever I wanted. I gravitated to the Robertson's "family" of which Erik was a member and they just considered me to be the widowed aunt of the family. After the first day I got in and pushed and pulled their handcart too, to earn my keep. :) I helped the "food couple" with the meals, cooking and cleaning, and generally just made myself useful.
Our trek coordinators, the Jackmans, definitely relied on inspiration in dividing up the youth into families. All of the youth were exactly where they should have been. Marin was in the Benson's family with sweet Fawn as her "ma" and siblings that were just right for her. Erik was in the Robertson's family with his friends Brennen and Alia and had a great time even though he didn't want to. I was thrilled to watch my kids have great experiences on trek.
As I said, I was excited for this trek, but I had no idea what an incredibly spiritual experience it was going to be. Between the "vignettes" that the families performed periodically along the trail to the impromptu breaking out in hymns while walking, the women's pull and the family greeting us at the end waving white hankies, the Spirit was ever-present. I could see youth being touched and lives changing forever. I have gained a greater appreciation for and love for the pioneers who came across to build up our Father's kingdom on the earth, sacrificing so much for those that came after. The "women's pull" which is always one of the highlights of the trek experience didn't disappoint. It was so difficult and I wept to think of the pioneer women who worked so hard to get their families across the plains and mountains with little ones in tow in conditions far worse than ours. I hope I can be stronger and be able to make my Father in Heaven proud as I "pull my handcart" through this life.
I hope that I will get another opportunity in this life to go on trek again although I don't think that it will ever measure up to this experience. Thank you to the Jackmans for putting together this most amazing experience.
At our first break for a vignette - day 1 - Erik and Brennen
Marin and her "big sister" Jessica listening to the vignette on our first stop on day one
Jessica was a great big sister to Marin - they were inseparable
Erik had fun with the Benson girls and Brennen
Breakfast! Marin and her "sisters" with Ma Benson in the background (pink)
Last powwow before hitting the trail. Erik's family is ready to go with Ma and Pa Robertson in the foreground
Marin and her sisters ready to hit the trail - day 2 - still clean . . .
Erik making sure to stay hydrated and yes, I caught him smiling
Stopping for the afternoon - day 2 - exhausted on the hottest day
Erik can't say he didn't have fun