Way back in August, Darren and I got a phone call from the stake asking if they could meet with us one Wednesday evening. Now...this was recently after Darren and I both had been called to YM & YWs, but slightly before my "promotion" to YW President. So the few days before our appointment, we were brainstorming all that it could be. Then it clicked...that following Sunday was the Trek Kickoff Fireside. Trek. We were going to be asked to be Ma & Pa at our Stake's Trek.
This idea was exciting! Neither Darren nor I had ever have the opportunity to go on Trek. Right away we both wanted to go, there was just Darren's business that might possibly hold us back. So at that meeting with the Stake, sure enough, we got asked on trek. And despite the fact that June is one of Darren's busiest times of the year, we agreed. We knew everything would work out and it was an opportunity we shouldn't pass up.
A lot of planning went into this event. Monthly Ma & Pa meetings on top of making sure my 19 YW going were set and ready. Making sure they had their clothes, the parent letters, permission slips, buckets, tin cups, all that. In fact, I was helping get the youth ready up until the night before trek! It was a whirlwind of a few months, but worth it.
So...now it's officially Trek time. June 7th has arrived! Darren and I were way excited, but to tell you the truth, I was somewhat nervous. Ma Hunsaker? I'm not a Ma! We were the only couple without kids of our own. We were new to the parenting world. We got to the campsite and a few hours later, the youth arrived. We didn't have any kids from our ward in our family, which I assumed would be the case. But boy did we have a great family! I did not hear one complaint all week long. And they all pulled, or shall I say pushed, their weigh with the handcart.
The first day we pulled 11 miles. The first 4, I think, were the worst of the entire week. To be honest, a few hours in, I was thinking to myself "Why the heck did I agree to this...I want to go home...". But I attempted to suck it up and kept going. It got better tho! Once we stopped the first day, we were all exhausted. Let me tell you...Chili and cornbread have never tasted so good! In fact, I don't even like cornbread! But I ate it. We all slept like babies that night. And surprisingly we all were less sore in the morning!
The second day we walked 5 miles. Yes, it was a shorter distance, but the terrain was a lot more difficult. We were in canyons with BIG rocks. At one point it was so steep and the rocks were so big, we had to turn the cart around and pull backwards so we wouldn't have a runaway cart and broken limbs from the big wheels. The second day was also the Women's Pull. For those that don't know what that is, it's where the men "go off to war" and the women are left to continue on alone. Let me tell you...I had some TOUGH daughters. It honestly wasn't that bad. Yeah, it was hard, but do-able. And a lot shorter than I thought it would be. I was proud of my girls.
Once we hit 5 miles, we set up camp again. Then the real fun started! The rest of the day was filled with different activities such as hair washing, pioneer games, dancing, and candle making. That night was the hoedown, and our kids picked up the dance way fast. That was fun, even though we were all tired and ready to sleep. One a side note, on this day, my allergies started to get bad. My face was kinda red and rashy and it hurt to talk. I was quiet a lot. Also, my elbows were getting eczema. Lovely, huh?
Friday morning was our last morning. We were to pack up our handcart and head to 'base camp' about 5 miles away. Again, I woke up with eyes swollen shut. I was miserable and just wanted to be home. Darren gave me a blessing, and then I was banned from walking. You see, the first 2 miles that day were in 6 inches of sand. That would not have helped the situation, so instead of walking those last 5 miles, my bishop drove me down to base camp. A part of me wanted to finish it with my kids, but my allergies were so bad that it over-ruled what I wanted. So my family finished the trek without me. We just told our kids we were making it more authentic. They had to bury their Ma on the trail and continue on with Pa. Haha, in fact, they even made a little grave for me along the trail. Somewhere there's a picture of Darren kneeling next to it - hopefully I'll get a hold of that sometime.
So that was our trek experience! It was a wonderful time. And if I wasn't allergic to camping, I would do it again in a heartbeat. We really had a great time and learned and grew a lot. And so did the youth!
My favorite part of the whole thing would have to be sharing this experience with my girls. I had 19 YW participate and even though none of them were in my family, I saw them all the time. I'd be walking around camp or just sitting on my bucket and I'd hear "Sister Hunsaker!" I felt very loved. I was glad I was able to be a part of their Trek and experience it with them. My relationship with my girls grew a lot. I love them!
Side note - My camera decided to die 2 hours into the Trek. And when I say die... I don't mean I forgot to charge the battery or anything, I mean, it died. Won't turn on...so here are some pictures I snapped before that happened. Not many, I was kinda sad...
Darren and Bucky - love the suspenders =)
I did a lot of this that week.
Our 'kids' did an awesome job making our cart organized and compact!
Cart 11 out of 21. Dead Middle!
Davina and myself! So glad she came =)
Hunsaker Hobos, ready to go!!!
Gotta make sure you're snacking along the trail. We walked a lot...
Trek 2011 was awesome =)