Thursday, July 14, 2011

Deseret Land and Livestock Pioneer Trek with the Highland West Stake

Yes, I just spent four awesome days out on the prairie on the border of Utah and Wyoming in pioneer clothes, hiking 20 miles (everyone else went 27),  with no showers and we had to make do with porta-potties. Is was about as authentic as you can get in todays day and age. I went as a photographer and I soon figured out that I couldn't walk on the 10 mile days and have lots of energy for taking pictures of the camp activities in the evenings. But there were only 2- 10 mile days and the others were 4 and 3.

Our group consisted of 600 plus people, four trailers of 6 or 4 porta-potties, one large food truck with cooling, another food truck, a medical trailer, several trailers for hauling camping equipment and buckets, and trucks with water tanks. The kids had to put all their personal items in one bucket and then they could also use them as seats. The hand carts were loaded with buckets, water and snacks for each day. Each cart had a "family" with a ma and pa and around 8 teenagers (not their real parents or siblings).

Abby and Zack who is a friend from another ward

Rex is ready to go

Starting out. We did 10 miles the first day, about 4 the second, 10 again (including the women's pull) the third and 3 the last day

The weather couldn't have been better. We had cloudy skies half of the time and it only rained once briefly when we were getting done square dancing and heading to bed

I decided to take pictures of all the wild flowers that I saw. There were easily at least 10 different varieties.

There were porta-potty stops every 3 miles or so. David got to drive one of the trailers since he has to have another foot operation soon. It was kind of nice having our van there I must say

We had to watch out for holes and they were everywhere. The large ones like this were badger holes, the medium sized ones were ground hogs and the little ones were ground squirrels

It sure was nice to have my hubby there to set up the tent every night

We had some sore feet

Some great conversations

Porta-potty cleaning duty

Great sunsets for our evening devotionals

Blisters- duck tape works great if you catch them early

Cute boys

We got to hear from Ephraim Hanks who truly had an amazing pioneer life

Played pioneer games

Pioneer geo compassing anyone?

The stick pull

We got to hear some great guitar

We ate delicious food. The cooking committee truly pulled off a great feat. They were up at 5:30 am getting ready for breakfast. After breakfast they would break down camp and move to the lunch place and fix and serve lunch and then do it all over again for dinner. If they were not cooking they were cleaning. They gave us so much food we couldn't eat it all. And they were up late every evening

We learned how to Square dance

Dr. Carrol was on call day and night

Stake President Anderson. I got to walk with him for a little while on one of the days and we had a great conversation. Only on Trek

Just about all 600 of us were out there Square dancing and the DJ came up just for us. He must have been great because everyone was dancing after not very long!

I met a cousin I didn't know I had. Her name is Paula Stout Carter. She lives close by. Who would have known?

Then there was the "womens pull". Since many men died on the trail and others were sent off with the Mormon Battalion, there were many women who had to pull the handcarts by themselves. So we had a two mile uphill stretch where just the girls and women pulled the handcarts by themselves. They were a little worried and so the  boys in our ward prayed for them just before they left. Sarah Johnson caught this shot just as they were finishing. The girls were very touched by this gesture

I missed the prayer because I was waiting at the top to take pictures. You can see the girls on the left at about 10 o'clock. They had quite a haul ahead of them but they were determined to do it and the last part was the steepest and hardest

While I was waiting for the girls I met Gus. He is a favorite Ground Hog of the missionaries that work up there. They feed him but he doesn't like large crowds

"Ephraim Hanks" turned out to be from Hurricane and his wife is another cousin of mine! What a small world. They know my parents well and he promised to come and do an Ephraim Hanks presentation for us for Family Night when they get done with their mission

The boys walked up first and waited for the girls. We were all assigned to pick ancestors to walk for. Parley happens to be a descendant of "The Stone Cutter". Elder Holland spoke of John R Moyle in one of his talks

The boys stood to the sides of the road silenty with their hats over their hearts. It was hard for them because they wanted to help. There was hardly a dry eye in the place

The kids all say this was their favorite part of trek. The girls said they did something that was so hard that now they know they can do anything!

President Peterson

There was some incredibly beautiful scenery

There are 10 missionary couples who run this ranch all summer long just doing treks. There were actually 2 other groups of trekkers there at the same time we were but we never saw them. It's a huge ranch, but anyway one of the missionaries makes these hat decorations out of sage brush. I thought that was pretty cool!

Our Ward Trekkers

Abby thought she would have some fun with the camera while on a water break

Bishop Nichols

Cute girls

Sometimes there was even time for quiet contemplation and journal writing

On Friday night for the Bishop's fireside, Bishop Nichols asked me to speak on one of my ancestors. I told the story of Allen Joseph Stout who came across with Brigham Young and the first company of Pioneers. He had quite an amazing story and he wrote faithfully in journals all his life. My favorite part and I read this to the kids was his "Words to his posterity" which are very powerful. I image that we all have many ancestors who would say these words to us if they could

President Van Wagoner, Anderson and Peterson

This bird thought I was an intruder and must have flown at me 6 or 7 times

We hauled the band trekkers ahead at the last minute so they could play music as the trekkers came to the final stop. They were great


  1. Very beautiful spot for a family bonding! it is GOOD TO SEE THAT A family have a time to gather and have a family time together.

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  2. Thanks for the pics... Our Stake is heading up in a few weeks and wanted to see what we were going to be in for. Much appreciated! Beautiful shots!

  3. First off, you did an amazing job recording this experience through photography. Beautiful! Second, our stake is going to this same area this year and was wondering if it would be okay if I shared a few of your photos? I am really trying to get out youth excited and I think your photos might just do the trick.

  4. Unknown, Thanks for your nice comment. You are welcome to use my photos. Hope they help!