We left for Martin's Cove on July 26, and we arrived home on July 29. It seemed like a long time to be away from Jackson, Bowen, and Alivia. But they were in good hands with Grandma Bailey! We arrived at Martin's Cove and did a little 6 mile hike around Martin's Cove and even crossed the Sweetwater River. Martin's Cove was beautiful. We had a really spiritual devotional there. Our Stake President gave a blessing over the youth of the Stake that was very powerful. Then, we were able to go and sit for awhile in Martin's Cove. I tried to picture the Martin Company seeking refuge there--starving, freezing, waiting out the storm, and praying for help. We then walked down and had another devotional by the banks of the Sweetwater River. This is where a great rescue effort occured by young men who were part of the rescue party. When the Martin Company reached the Sweetwater River, they shrank back. They couldn't imagine having to cross another frozen river in the physical and mental condition they were in. When these young rescuers saw this, they literally carried the pioneers across, and helped pull their handcarts and their belongings across the frozen river. We were able to participate in a silent crossing of the Sweetwater River.
Day 2 was a bit trickier! We pulled and pushed our handcarts for 15 miles. It was really fun to be with the youth in our ward, especially those in our family. They are amazing people. We were definitely tired when we got to camp. But, we still set up camp and had family devotionals that were fun.
Day 3 was hard. We were already tired from the day before and from camping out 2 nights before. We had another 15 mile walk as well. We had quite a few "water crossings," and the Women's Pull was this day as well. Our family definitely got quieter towards the end, which was good. It was a humbling time. We just kept reflecting on how the pioneers walked at least this much every day, but they were freezing and starving. They literally had no food. We had sunshine and lots of snacks. This experience was really faith building, and it was evident it had an affect on everyone.
We were able to camp right by Rock Creek Hollow and view the little cemetery there. This is where 15 people were buried from the Willie Handcart company. On the final night, we ended with one of the most powerful testimony meetings I have ever been a part of. I am amazed at the strength of the youth today. We left Trek with a stronger resolve to be like our pioneer ancestors--strong, faithful, enduring.
The Boys in our group: Dillon, Alex, Jared, Justin (Nic not pictured)
Me, Mikaela, Kaitlin, Whitney
The Mauss Family!