So that second night, we limped into camp. My shoes were way too tight with hiking socks and I sat down at my tent and pulled off my socks to assess the damage. My toes have never been so ugly (I hope). I cleaned them off with baby wipes (another benefit of living in our century), and got our ‘uncle’ to bandage up my toes. People from all over the camp came to him with their owies. He said he felt like he was in a refugee camp. He and the other four doctors treated rashes, blisters, sunburns. They were as tired at the rest of us, but couldn’t rest until they had fixed up everyone else around them.  And of course, our uncle did it with a great sense of humor. He loved to ask if anyone wanted butt cream (which is a true cream that hikers use, but it threw us into a fit of laughter every time he said it—yeah, we were starved for entertainment). The rest of the kids in our ‘family’ realized he always had a straight face when joking, and so it became our mission to get him to crack a smile. Sadly, I don’t think we ever got him to break.

For the hundredth time, I imagined how the pioneers must’ve felt at the end of the day and how they must’ve worked tirelessly to help each other. You couldn’t go home and just crash. You would have to make sure all ‘owies’ were taken care of, there was warmth and shelter provided for everyone and food. There had to be food prepared before they could crash. Would I be one that others had to take care of or would I have worked as tirelessly? Judging by that night in our own little refugee camp, I guess both.

I had assumed that as soon as we got in that night that we would head straight to bed, but no such luck. The aunts were in charge of pioneer games—and seeing as I was an ‘aunt.’ At the time I thought it was crazy to play games when we just wanted to go to sleep, but now to be honest, I think that was why I wasn’t as stiff the next day (like I usually am with long hikes). It served as a type of stretching activity. After getting everyone to bed, we finally crawled into our tents…and would’ve slept if not for the intense game of Mafia a few tents down. I think I fell asleep around 12:30 that night. As soon as it was quiet, I could hear EVERYTHING! It was too quiet out in the plains of Wyoming. I almost didn’t want to sleep I was so afraid to snore and wake someone up.

Stay tuned for part four—the final day…