Observations From Life On the Trail.

Aug 8, 2012

Well, I did it again.  I went out to Wyoming and pretended to be a pioneer for a few days with the youth in our ward.  And it was good.  Really good.  And I'd like to share with you a few observations I made along the way.

1.  Getting Older is the Pits.

The first day we pushed handcarts 14 miles over Rocky Ridge.  Which is more than I walk in an average year.  And I managed to hurt my back the day BEFORE we left.  HOW did I hurt my back you ask?  What impressive feat of strength was I performing that caused me such injury?  Well I'll tell you, since we are friends and all.  I hurt my back while I was standing up.  I had been sitting, and then I stood, and somewhere in the process something went wrong and boom, Back Hurty.  So, yeah, that totally happens all the time.  When you are old.  And I remembered that when you are old the ways you can hurt yourself are increased exponentially.  You might hurt any one of  your necessary body parts unexpectedly while:
drinking some water
going to the bathroom
waving at your neighbor
watching MASH reruns
eating a a slice of cheesy pizza
Calling your granddaughter
Doing the Roger Rabbit

Those are just a few examples.  I believe I've already mentioned how easy it is to hurt yourself, and that is just compounded when your body starts to actively fall apart.  It will betray you.  Don't trust it.

2. Walking a lot is a lot like life.

After we'd been walking for a while, my feet started to hurt.  But I kept going.  And then it was ok.  Not that my feet stopped hurting, I just go used to the fact that they hurt.  After we'd been walking a while longer, I suddenly realized how tired my legs were.  But I kept going.  And after a while it was ok.  Not that my legs stopped being tired, I just got used to the fact that they were.  And the next day we walked a few more miles.  And the next day we walked some more.  So that when we got home, besides the blisters on my toes, I wasn't sore at all. Quitting after 14 miles and laying perfectly still in my bed for a week sounded really nice, but I probably would have been hobbling around for days afterward.  Because we just kept going, I am fine.

Life is like that sometimes.  Things are good, and sometimes something crappy comes along and even though you don't want to you just have to keep going.  Keep waking up every morning and being a person and after a while (sometimes after a long while) you suddenly realize that things are ok.  Not that the crappy thing is gone, you just got used to it.  You just got strong enough to bear it.  Sometimes the best way to overcome our trials is just to keep going.

3. I'm not as bad at talking to people as I always thought.

I've never considered myself much of a conversationalist.  But it isn't so much that I'm bad at it, it's just that it takes me about 5 hours to warm up to someone enough to have an actual conversation with them, and most days there just isn't enough time to squeeze that in.

4.  The best way to show someone how strong they are is to give them a chance to prove it.

On Day 2 they let the women push their handcarts by themselves.  Up a very steep and very sandy hill.  And the men just had to stand there and watch.  I love to see what that does for the girls:  Realizing how hard it is - because sand has got to be 10 times worse for pushing through than rocks - and then realizing that they can do it anyway.  Realizing how hard it is for people who care about them to stand there and watch them struggle and not be able to do anything to help.  Realizing how much they need each other.  Realizing how strong they are.

5.  Teenagers don't complain as much as we think they do.

Everybody is always all "Teenagers are the worst!  Blah Blah Blah"  But they really aren't.  In fact, they are pretty awesome.  They can be nice and reverent and kind and hardworking and responsible and wonderful and funny, just like real people!

6. White is a BAD choice for an apron.

Day one.  White.
Day two: Holy cow this apron is crazy dirty!
Day three:  Stroke of Genius! I'm gonna turn my apron over so it only looks almost crazy dirty.
Day four:  Barbecue sauce?  Really?  Chocolate pudding?  Where did that even come from?

7. You don't need to see yourself in the mirror to know you look bad.

If you are walking around in full pioneer dress in 100 degree weather, sweating like a horse, through dust and cow pies with no shower for days and chocolate pudding on your apron, you will probably start thinking that you look pretty bad.  And even if there are no mirrors anywhere to confirm your suspicions (and there weren't) just take my word for it now.  You are right.  You DO look bad.  You are filthy and you smell.  Get used to it.

8. 50 stinky people on a bus don't smell too bad when you are one of them.

But a bathroom on a bus, used by even a couple teenage boys who apparently have bladders the size of children, can just about knock even the stinkiest of us over with its bouquet.

9.  I really, really, really, like my husband.  But nobody knows, so don't tell, OK?

I want to tell you how spiritual it all was.  I want to talk about how walking a few miles in the shoes of the pioneers - and that being my comfortable, well-fed shoes - has made me better appreciate the sacrifices they made and understand how much it meant to them to get to Utah where they could be with other members of the church and be sealed to their families for eternity.  I want to tell you how much I learned about enduring through trials and being faithful no matter what, how we are all stronger than we think we are and that the Lord has big things planned for us and getting us ready for them really hurts sometimes.

But I won't.  This is, as you know, primarily a Health and Fitness blog, and I don't want to mess with that.  I might lose my Health And Fitness Blog Certificate, and none of us want that.

Don't forget to eat your vegetables?

-a special Thank You to Lynsie from whom I stole the pictures.  Thanks!