My two little pioneers all ready to go. We brought a stroller for Chris and planned for Sarah to ride on Kelson's shoulders when she got tired.
At the beginning of the trek, we sent most of the men away to move the cars to our end-point, and the rest of us were anxious to start moving, so we loaded up the hand carts and started moving. We started off up a rutted, bumpy road on a sage brush hill. Chris was bouncing all over the stroller, Sarah wanted to be carried after 50 feet, and I started wondering what had possessed me to tackle this insane adventure. Then it started raining. And then it rained harder. It was a rough start. Fortunately, someone had suggested we bring Chris's carseat in case we wanted to put him in the handcart. We moved him into the cart and put Sarah in the stroller. Things went smoother after that. However, the work was still really hard. The first 4 miles were all up and down hills in the rain, ending with a descent that was so steep that we all helped lower one cart down at a time. At the bottom, we forded a creek and then stopped for lunch. It had finally stopped raining. Chris had been a champ. He rode quite happily in the back of the cart the whole morning. Sarah was rather miserable in her wet stroller and finally gave up and tried going to sleep. She kept telling me she needed a warm bath. She was very glad when the rain stopped.
The afternoon was infinitely more pleasant. We were walking through a much flatter, forested area. We walked, chatted, and waited for our wet clothes to dry. The day ended with a short cut up a very steep hill that saved us a mile of walking. Kelson went up and down the hill 6 times helping all of the carts up. We were all relieved to see camp and get some rest.
Sarah was super excited to sleep in a tent. We brought pool floats for air mattresses, which worked pretty well. Chris was just happy to be out where he could wiggle.
Sarah went right to sleep at bedtime and slept great in her sleeping bag. Chris did a great job on his first night camping too. He and the baby in the next tent took a few turns fussing, but I was pretty happy with how the night went.
On day two, we switched things up and put Chris in the stroller and Sarah in the handcart. She made a comfy spot in the back of the cart and talked endlessly, entertaining all of us. Eventually she tucked herself in and went to sleep. It was awfully cute.
Sarah sound asleep with her little feet sticking up
Unfortunately, we went through a big dip and Sarah got jostled in the back of the cart, giving her a bloody nose. It was a sad moment. Daddy gave her cuddles. She found a pillow and laid down on his head.
Most of day 2 was easier than the first day. We walked through a lot of forest and meadows where the hills weren't so bad. Then we saw the mountain we had to go up. It was big.
We left all of the kids (except the baby) behind to be ferried up on 4-wheelers, and the rest of us started climbing.
The view from halfway up. There was a lot more climbing still to be done.
We made it to camp! The view was so beautiful. We were camped on the mountain above Banks, Idaho where the North and South forks of the Payette river come together. Not a bad spot to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. Happy 6 years, Kelson!
We were camped in a field of wildflowers, and Sarah had the best time picking bouquets. Most of the time she was following along after a group of older girls who were happy to adopt her.
Finally time to wiggle! Daddy was giving him standing lessons. Mommy was not pleased. I am quite happy with him not walking. Crawling is enough trouble.
Looking super attractive after two days on the trail. Chris loves watermelon.
That night we had a campfire, skits, and pie!
She was so worn out that she went right down at bedtime and slept all night. Chris got up early, but sleeping beauty was still out.
Chris did great on this trip. The only hard thing was that he wanted to be out exploring all the time. Eating weeds is fun.
Not a bad view to wake up to.
Still snoozing away. Apparently Kelson went in with breakfast and got a little too comfy. I think she finally emerged about 9:00.
A little more wildflower picking with one of her volunteer babysitters.
My two pioneer babies.
One more day! The first two days were 7 miles each, and the last day was only 3 miles. It was hot, and we ran out of water for a while, which was a struggle. We made it, though.
Coming over the last hill and seeing the cars parked below us was an awesome feeling. We were exhausted after 3 days of being handcart pioneers. I can't imagine doing it for months on end. (Not to mention having to do it without the benefit of a food trailer, cooks, a water truck, 4 wheelers for emergencies, and port-a-potties.) This trip showed us that we could do hard things and that bringing our little kids on adventures can be awesome. I am so grateful for my ancestors who crossed the plains pulling handcarts so that they could exercise their religion in peace. They sacrificed so much to give me the life that I have today.