While the rest of the teenaged world slumbered, our Trekkers were up at the crack of dawn, (6:30,) and getting ready to roll. Breakfast had to be made, tents taken down, carts packed, and lunch--day one of fry bread--needed to be ready for the day ahead. Some common camp occurrences--braiding hair, reading scriptures, prayers, one last trip to the outhouses, oh, and an exploding lighter. (Apparently leaving a lighter on a hot metal sheet is a BAD idea.)
With carts packed a little more securely (experience helps) the Trekkers were ready to set off. They hadn't gone far when the day's first decision had to be made: an off-road trail that cut a few miles off the day's trekking, or stick to the main road for a longer, but easier route. Being the tough and adventuresome teenagers that they are, they took the carts for a bit of off-road, four, (or um), two-wheeling.
Getting the carts off the road provided a challenge, the trail was rough, but the biggest challenge was yet to come.
BIG BERTHA--a hill so named because, well, because she was BIG--steep, winding, rocky, and narrow. Somehow the group had to get 17 loaded handcarts up this hill, or turn around, re-trace their steps, and go back to the road. Scouts from every family and company hiked to the top to check it out. A council was held. The youth decided they would continue up the hill and they came up with a unique plan to get to the top.
UNITY--that's the thing that impressed me the most about this group, even over the two previous Treks I've been on. The plan they decided on was a relay of sorts. Each company had a designated piece of the hill, marked off by their company colors. (See Day One's post, the group was divided into three companies of about 50 kids, red, yellow, and blue.) At the transition point the carts were handed off from one group to the next. Using this plan every company took a role in getting every cart up the hill. On previous Treks the kids had worked together by company only so one group of pullers had to take a cart the entire way to the top.
Did it work?
Absolutely. I have never seen a group of Trekkers get up Big Bertha so fast. All able-bodied young men and young women pulled carts, switched off, and helped each other. Those who didn't feel like they could pull up the hill brought water for the pullers, cheered them on, and moved the carts out of the way at the top. (NOTE: The pictures do not do justice to how long or steep this hill was.)
UNITY--so strong it made me want to cry. NONE of the adult leaders helped pull the carts or suggested this plan. It was all the kids. What a lesson! Working together, relying on each other, they accomplished their goal, and they did it in record time. We had one casualty--toes crushed under a cart--but that valiant Trekker was loaded into a cart to continue the journey with the others.
Big Bertha conquered, the Trekkers got a much deserved rest--about 30 minutes--before they trekked onward and upward, and upward and upward and upward. (It was a long climb.) Hot, dry, dusty, muscles tired from Big Bertha--still they climbed.
A grassy, shady hill, and lunch (fry bread, peanut butter, jam and honey) brought a much-needed rest. They ate and then curled up under the trees (too tired to worry about dirt or bugs), laid down weary bodies, and drifted off into...
An angry mob from the other side of the woods, shouting "Get out Mormons!" "We don't want any of your kind here!"
Again, reminiscent of what the early Mormon pioneers had to endure. A few moments peace and then run off by an angry mob.
Chased from their grassy resting place the journey resumed. And they walked and walked and walked (uphill this time)...you get the picture.
Finally they left the trail and went into anther meadow and after about a mile of off-roading through a little woods until they had reached...
(Which of course meant camp for the night.)
No mosquitoes (or at least less mosquitoes) in this camp, more wind and more dust, but an incredible view of the mountains. As they set up camp for the second night, hungry stomachs turned thoughts to...
But like most things on Trek, there was a surprise in store and dinner wasn't going to be an easy task. Before it could be prepared the families had a "stewardship" talk. The kids were told that they have a stewardship over the land--the plants, animals, water, air--everything that makes up our earth. (You could say they were going green.) They learned that while all of these things are for our use, we have a sacred trust not to over-use or abuse this beautiful earth that God has given us. They heard stories about early pioneers, chastised by their leaders for over-hunting or wasting their resources.
Then the interesting part began.
Fish and fishing are common in the Northwest, so many of the Trekkers had already had experience catching and cleaning their own supper. For others...lets just say they had a lesson about where meat really comes from.
The fish had already been caught, but cleaning was another story.
Amidst the blood and gore that cleaning a fish creates, there was one kid who passed out, (and a lot of gross-out moments and facial expressions). Although not everyone took the "opportunity" to clean a fish, by the end everyone had learned a lesson in stewardship, fish anatomy, and had gained a greater appreciation for fast foods and grocery stores.
After dinner, the Trekkers settled in for the night, but three riders appeared on the horizon. This time they brought good news, mail from home--Pony Express style instead of internet.
By the time they crawled into their sleeping bags, most of the Trekkers were so tired that even the howling winds, howling coyotes, and rumors of a bear siting couldn't keep them awake.
Day Two Comments--What did you learn from conquering Big Bertha? What did you learn about your own strength and unity. What about stewardship and where our food comes from? What was your favorite moment of day two?