Friday consisted of basically nothing but walking. We did 14 miles on our third day. There were a couple of things that really impressed me about our kids that day. First was that they really wanted to push and pull our handcart. Neither Adam nor I had much of a turn to pull because the kids wanted to do it. That was awesome. The second thing that was neat was that the kids sang almost the entire 14 miles we were on the trail. By the third day, we had already earned our reputation as "the singing family," but I figured with such a long hike that day the singing would subside somewhat. Not so. One of our boys had brought a hymn book, and they rested it on the front rail of the handcart and sang hymn after hymn. They got through the book twice. On top of that, I didn't hear a single complaint from any of the kids. It was incredible to see them demonstrate such spiritual maturity.
Singing their way up the hill!
Right before we reached Rocky Ridge, the boys and girls were separated. Sister Williams, our stake YW president, spoke to the girls and Brother Frakes, the stake YM president, spoke to the boys. It was my favorite part of the whole week. The girls had to pull the handcarts up a really mean hill alone, while the boys silently lined the trail with their hats on their hearts. It was so awesome to be with those strong young women as we labored up the hill, and to watch those boys, many of whom had tears in their eyes and streaming down their faces. When I saw Adam, I felt as much love for him as I ever have before. It was one of those moments that I was able to feel how much he loves me. It was incredibly special. The Spirit was so powerful. It was an unforgettable moment for me--something I will truly remember forever.
Our family at the summit of Rocky Ridge
Rocky Ridge is owned by the government, and we had to have permits to hike it. Our of the BLM's conditions was that the handcarts could not go off the trail at any point. There were a couple of pretty nasty mud bogs along the trail, and though most of us could walk around them, the carts had to go straight through. Several young men valiantly pulled the carts through. These are some of my very favorite pictures from all of trek!
When we finally reached our campsite that evening, the stake leaders had music playing and they were all lining the trail cheering for us. Adam and I both had a feeling similar to that of finishing a long race--a huge sense of accomplishment. It was special to be able to catch a tiny glimpse of what it must have felt like for the pioneers to arrive in the Salt Lake Valley.
Adam and Bishop Bashaw, our Company Captain
Later that evening, the young men and women got letters from home via the "pony express." That was another special moment for many of the youth.
We spent the evening on Friday with our wards. We had a testimony meeting, and Adam and I were both able to speak to the youth in our ward and sing a duet for them. We loved that, too! In fact, at the very end of the day after Adam and I were alone, we prayed and talked about some sacred things that had happened to us that day, and Adam whispered, "This has been one of the best days of my life." Believe it or not, I felt the same way! It was a beautiful, wonderful day.