Sunday, July 20, 2014

In honor of our pioneers . . .

Pioneer day is coming up this week.  While I’ve always held our ancestors in proper awe, it is probably always good to have a little personal taste of what things were like for them so I never take what I have for granted.
That was not the purpose for the Law Family camping trip this last June, but . . . well . . . look what happened:


I don’t know if you can see it, but it’s hailing.  This is what we encountered during our drive over the mountains and into Bear Valley where we were camping.  And it kept hailing off and on while we were setting up camp and trying to make and eat dinner.  My fingers instantly lost circulation while setting up the tent.
Tim and Stephen cutting woodDSC_0788

Someone managed to get a fire going.  In between hail storms everyone would huddle around the fire.  When the hail started, we would reluctantly pull ourselves away and huddle underneath a tarp we had stretched between the trees to cover the picnic table.


By the time we had eaten dinner, and though it was still light outside, I was done with the day.  I grabbed Cassidi and figured I would huddle with her in our tent in my sleeping bag in order to stay warm and go to sleep.  I had just gone inside the tent, decided I was too cold to change out of my clothes (and I wouldn’t change out of them for the next two days), and Tim was herding the kids to the bathroom when I heard exclamations and Tim saying, “Irene, you have to see this.”  Through the open tent door, I saw the hail had changed to big, fluffy snowflakes.  Great.

Cassidi had no intention of going to sleep.  I don’t know what is wrong with toddlers, but they seem to be oblivious to cold, and all Cassidi wanted to do was run around outside.  She squirmed and cried until Tim took her and strapped her into her carseat inside the van.  Then she was immediately docile and sucked her thumb for an hour, but didn’t go to sleep.  But she was calm enough to put into her sleeping bag.  I worried a lot about both her and Declan being warm enough, but they seemed to sleep the most soundly out of the whole family.

My feet were icy all night, but I managed to sleep up until who-knows-when in the middle of the night when I realized that I had never used the bathroom before going to bed and now I had to.  It took me FOREVER to get myself out of my sleeping bag and looking for my shoes.  Everything seemed cold and wet.  Throughout the night, each one of the older kids woke up and had to be helped because their sleeping bags had gotten wet and cold and uncomfortable.

While I huddled in my sleeping bag and tried in vain to warm up my feet and thinking how miserable camping could be when you’re cold and wet, I thought a lot about the Martin handcart company being stuck camping out in the snow for days and starving and freezing to death.  I knew that in a couple of days, I would be back in a bed, and the thought of freezing feet would seem so remote as to be unbelievable.  I would have preferred a quicker escape from the conditions, but I was in a tent which was relatively dry.  We had food.  And although I hated walking to an outhouse in the middle of the freezing night, at least it was there.  With toilet paper.  And it was designed not to smell if the seat was down and the door was closed—and it didn’t!

I didn’t experience anything close to what they lived through, but I got enough of a taste to think of them and sympathize heavily.

We woke up the next morning to snow on the ground.  The snow you see in the picture below is merely a remnant of what was there before.  And I’m sure you can tell that you are also viewing the remnants of my good mood.  Cold, cold remnants.

Sarah’s in a better mood.                                                  DSC_0790                                  So is Keller.DSC_0797

We kept busy that day by having the kids take trips in Grandma and Grandpa’s heated van to the meadow we drove through as we were coming into camp.  It was a wildlife viewing area and at that time was full of elk.  Tim and I and the older kids went on our own as well.

Here’s a shot of it as we were driving to camp the day before:DSC_0781
I wish I had pulled out the camera to take a picture the day we left.  
It was beautiful.

We also drove to . . . hmm . . . I think it was called Dagger Falls, just to check it out.


This is a shot of Mitchell’s white belly, not the falls, which are just beyond that fence.  Why on earth I took a picture of this and not the falls, I’ll never know.  This is what cold does to a person’s mind.
So the day we left, all the storm had blown through and the weather was wonderful.  Some of us even got to take off the coats that hadn’t been removed since we put them on two days ago.

    Are you seein’ Ian?


    Our cute nieces, Cati and Cari.

The rest of the reunion was spent in comparative bliss at the homefront.  Food, movies, late-night chats, and cake (we had two birthdays).  Oh, we picked lots of cherries too.  But my most lasting memory of it all will be when I gained a better understanding in the middle of a freezing night of why pioneers are amazing.

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