When we finally reached the end of our trail, it was bittersweet. I was both glad and sad we were done with our Trek. We had walked longer and harder on the third day, but I felt great about it. Our friends gave us a good waterfight along the way. We now had Mighty Timmy in our handcart. Our little ‘sisters’ were waving flags and walking with renewed energy, our teenagers were cracking jokes, we talked and laughed and just enjoyed each other’s company. By the time, our camp came into sight, the weather had cooled and we were all fast friends. The camp we entered was where the rescuers had found the Willie handcart company and had saved the survivors there. The theme was ‘Remember the Rescue.’  Of course, my relief was nothing compared to that of the survivors of long ago, but now I could more appreciate the pioneer experience. The Pioneers no longer felt like stories in my mind, but like real breathing people who forged a bond with the angels (both in earth and in heaven), worked hard, played hard, and got sunburnt like the rest of us.

We stroke camp (yes, I learned that term from Trek—though I’m not sure if ‘strike’ works as a past tense in this case), and headed for home. Only to have one of our girls face a family emergency once we reached Salt Lake. Her dad was in the hospital, which meant instead of taking naps, taking that MUCH needed shower, and eating like we thought we would be doing, we were in for a rescue. The parents of our kids whom we took to Trek immediately offered to take the kids who had nowhere to go (volunteering their homes, showers, food, phone numbers and good plain mothering and fathering). After a few more hours, the family’s crisis was over and everything went back to normal. Finally, we were able to rest.

I sat down on my couch at home, amazed at how soft it was, and how loud everything was. And I thought about how everyone had been so tired from the Trek, but how it didn’t stop when we got home. I thought about the words Brigham Young said to those he sent to rescue the Martin and Willie Handcart Company. He told them, “I will tell you all that your faith, religion, and profession of religions will never save one soul of you in the Celestial king of our God unless you carry out just such principles as I am now teaching. Go and bring on those people now on the plains. And attend strictly to those things which we call temporal or temporal duties. Otherwise your faith will be in in vain. The preaching you have heard will be in vain to you and you will sink to hell, unless you attend to the things we tell you.”

Strong words to the rescue team, but they were meant to save lives. However, seeing the way that everyone came to the rescue the moment we came home made me believe that our friends even now would’ve sacrificed their comfort and rode out to the rescue to save those poor pioneers stuck in the snow just as the early settlers did. And that my friends, I have to say, is a great legacy!