The Stapley Family

The Stapley Family

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pioneer Trek 2008

Click to play Independence Rock
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So our adventure began after a 15 hour drive at Independence Rock. We were all so excited to finally get there that we practically burst out of the Van and up the rock. It was a very warm day and the rock was quite steep. The significance of this rock dates back to the western migration in the late 1800's. People of all faiths and with all different destinations would celebrate when they reached this milestone knowing that there was less than 400 more miles to go to the Salt Lake Valley. They would carve their names in the rock to let others who would follow know who had been there. It is named Independence rock because the Pioneers knew that if they made it to the rock by Independence day (July 4) they would be able to make it to the valley before winter. Some were so excited to reach the rock they would climb up on top and have a dance! Well I had heard that Parley P. Pratt's signature was still there on the rock, so Duffy told the youth he would pay anyone $10 who could find it. Well we never did, and as we headed back down the rock we heard someone was injured. It turned out to be my good friend Kelley. She fell an estimated 15-20 feet down the rock and broke both leg bones and dislocated her ankle. So then we had to call 911 who sent life-flight and 3 emergency vehicles. She was flown out to Casper, WY where she had her first surgery, today she had her second. It was quite an eventful way to start our trip.

Click to play Martin's Cove
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At Martin's Cove we learned about the trials the Saints endured at this very spot. After a severe snow storm the Saints in the Martin Company sought refuge in this cove for several days. With a meager supply of food and lack of proper clothing many people died and their bodies were dug up and ravaged by wolves. It was here that the rescue company finally made it to the Martin company and were deeply saddened by the state of the Saints they found there, starving and barely hanging on to life. We were told many inspiring stories by the Senior Missionaries while at the Cove, and we were told that it had been dedicated as a Sacred and Hallowed site, as was the Sweetwater river we crossed with our handcarts later that afternoon. The Spirit is very overwhelming here at this site and I can't wait to go back and bring my family. It was also very beautiful as you can see by the photos. It was a 5 mile loop and my favorite picture is of the mother and daughter holding hands at the end of the trail, after her mom was hurting from a blister and tired from the long walk, her daughter grabbed her hand and helped her go the rest of the way. It was very tender moment I was lucky enough to catch on my camera.


Click to play Rocky Ridge/Rock Creek
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The 5 mile loop was a warm up for the 15 mile hike the next day up Rocky Ridge and over to Rock Creek. When we arrived at our camp ground the night before we found that some cows had made themselves at home. It was the neatest campground setting, we had bathrooms, a fence a water pump, and lots and lots of Wyoming prairie. We were literally out in the middle of nowhere. We had a great time singing and performing skits and braiding hair that night. The next morning we headed out early with our hand carts. Duffy was lucky to represent Captain Willey on the Trek. He had a really great talk to give at the base of Rocky Ridge and at the top. Before we reached the top we joined with the actual Mormon trail. It was really neat to be pushing handcarts in the same divots that they did. Before we reached the highest point on the trail, the top of Rocky Ridge, the men were all called away in the Mormon Battalion and the women were told we had to push the carts by ourselves the rest of the way. I have to say that we rocked that hill! The kids did so great pushing the handcarts and rarely complained. We had to keep telling them to slow down! As we reached mile 12 a man was riding his horses up the trail and said that the horse he was pulling was the horse Capt. Willey rode in the movie "Rescue at the Sweetwater". That was cool, the kids told Duffy to go and jump on him. They all nicknamed him "Capt. Lambchops because he shaved his beard to have big chops on the side for the trek. I have to say it was a pretty impressive feat! As we neared our final destination, cherry creek camp ground, as if in a movie, the clouds parted and beams of light shined down upon our camp. The youth thought that was really neat. Rock Creek is where the Willie Handcart company was rescued. There is a circular grave site there with 13 members of the company who died the night after they crossed Rocky Ridge after walking 27 hours straight in a foot and a half of snow. This place is also dedicated as sacred and hallowed ground.

We were told before we left that going to these places would be life changing and indeed they truly were. We are so grateful that we were able to attend the Trek and be a Ma and Pa to such inspiring youth. We will never forget the feelings we felt there. Our family motto was, "The true Mormon trail was not on the Prairie, but in the Spirit" We definitely experienced this for ourselves.

4 comments:

Renee' Morris-Dezember said...

Kelli it looks like you guys had a fantastic time...you got some awesome photos and truely felt an experience of a lifetime!

Kristi Farr said...

Hi. This is Kristi (Burgess) Farr. Your Pioneer Trek sounds like an awesome experience. I would love to go and do that someday. I hope you don't mind, but I put a link to this blog from mine. I also have a link to Sara's, Andi's and Aunt Marilyn's blog if you are interested in keeping in touch with them.

Kathy said...

Thanks for posting the pictures and letting me know about them on your blog.

nana said...

Wow, I am impressed!!! I didn't know you had a family blog. I should probably do that instead of my own blog. Andi's done her best to teach me. I can even post a picture now. I hope you don't mind me posting. I love reading what everyone is doing.