Saturday, July 20, 2013

Nashua Stake Pioneer Trek

Last weekend, we participated in our stake's 3 day pioneer trek.  Jonathan and I were Pa and Ma to a family of 9 wonderful teenagers.  They took turns pulling our handcart of possessions and camping gear for 20 miles along rail trails between Auburn and Raymond NH (after an opening meeting at the temple).

Our amazingly awesome trek family: Pa and Ma Dodge
Girls: Claudia, Meagan, Eliza and Aubrey
Boys: John, Forrest, Nate, David and Nick

We met our families at the temple in Belmont, MA and talked about the saints leaving Nauvoo after going to the temple and what temple covenants mean to us personally.

Getting the cart loaded and ready to roll from Lake Massebessic Park

Jonathan was sick for two days before we started hiking and I was worried he wouldn't be able to join us the first day, but he felt well enough by the time we started out and the first day was an easier pace.

Our first day of pulling.  We got rained on in the afternoon after stopping for some pioneer games.  The weather stayed warm though and our camping gear stayed dry.

The boys had the handcart loading down to science by the second day--evenly balanced with the water jug off the back and a back of snacks accessible in front.  All our personal buckets and camping gear went in the cart each day.

The second morning the girls did a 3 mile women's pull on their own while the boys had mission training.  It was hard pulling up the hills, but by helping each other out we all made it.

This is where we camped the second night in Candia--nick named Shangri La.  It is privately owned land with a man-made pond, waterfalls, and grassy meadows.  It was the ideal setting for this large group.

The trek was physically challenging and spiritually uplifting.  The talks, firesides, and devotionals were great!  We talked about the pioneers and their sacrifices.  The focus, however, was on the youths' own call to "Come Unto Zion" by bringing themselves, their families (and ancestors) and friends to Zion.

The stake had 18 handcart families--about 200 people trekking.  We had wonderful hot breakfasts and dinners cooked by the food committee waiting for us morning and evening.

 We were a little overwhelmed by the welcoming committee--hundreds of people from our stake were there to cheer us on.  It felt like we were in a parade so I waved and smiled (although I just wanted to sit in the shade and take my shoes off).

Here's Curtis' family.  The Hogan are a couple in our ward.  Curtis had a great time and was a cheerful hiker.  He even tried to catch fish in the pond and square danced with me for a minute. 

I don't have pictures of Trevor because he was in a different family, but we saw him participating on the periphery.  I was so glad we were able to experience this together.

Olsen Family Reunion at Camp Alpine July 3-6

back: Sheryl, Mom, Dad, Brenda  front: Carl, Ken, Neil

We had a great visit with my family over a long 4th of July weekend south of Corvallis Oregon.  It was great to see everyone after being away for over a year--especially the expectant Jessica!

Dodge Family (minus Elder Jason Dodge in Las Vegas)
We surprised Grandma with a birthday party (a day late)

Uncle Ken had fun crafts to do everyday.  They're making rockets to launch.

Jessica on the zip line

Curtis on the zipline

Sam, Curtis and Erik in the canoe
Grandpa explaining Mayan glyphs to Laura, Grace, Robin and Rachel

Jessica teaching me to crochet a rose

Trevor spent a lot of time on borrowed guitars

Confidence Course at night

Male bonding time working on the Brewster Beast

Curtis and cousins at the archery range

Water balloon volleyball (thanks to Jason C.)

Merit Badge Clinic with boy scouts: Curtis, Erik and Sam
Annual Talent Show
Young Mom's group--Stephanie, Emily, Gabriel and Jessica
Until next year!!  We miss all our family and friends in Oregon!!