Pioneer Camp (Part 2) – Discoveries on the Trek

Theme Quick Links: Pioneer Camp – Part 1 & Pioneer Camp – Part 3

The Gold Rush!

Many pioneers headed to California or Oregon to find gold, including one of our ancestors. The first activity on our Family Reunion Pioneer Trek was panning for gold.

The first stop was at the stream where we had previously scattered the gold in the creek. I thought about fool’s gold, but couldn’t find any; I was going to spray rocks gold, but I decided to just buy gold colored glass globs. I’ve learned to do some things the easiest way, as long as you get close to the concept, the kids imaginations do the rest.
Panning for gold is done with a shallow pan such as a tin pie plate, which we used in my first trek, but for this one, the gold was on the surface and the stream meandered instead of rushing, so I decided they could just pick it out of the stream with their hands, which made this activity shorter so as to fit into the time frame we had for all the activities planned.There's gold in that thar creek -- Pioneer Camp

I limited the amount of gold nuggets each child could find, in a socialistic way I’m afraid, but fairness makes Grandma’s Camps easier. Parents helped the littler kids find enough gold so that everyone had a small bag  of “gold” which they could spend later.

Onward and Upward

The trail continued on up the mountain to a grassy plateau. There we stopped for a break and here’s where my sister, Grandma Ginny, portrayed our angel ancestor.

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Grandmother Ann Jewell Rowley tells the story we call “Bless the Biscuits.”

 Ann Jewell Rowley  appeared to us and told us a little about her experiences with the Willie Handcart Company.

HawkinsTreck 061 The group listens as Grandmother Ann Jewell Rowley tells  how they encountered early winter weather in the mountains of Wyoming along with other obstacles that slowed the company down, and they ran out of food. When they had gone without food for days, Ann found an old sea-biscuit from their ocean-crossing voyage. One biscuit, however, could not feed all of her children. She put it in a pan, prayed and asked for enough food for her family, and when she took the lid off, the pan was filled!HawkinsTreck 059

Teaching Moment:

Here was a teaching moment of faith and courage!I think all of Ann Jewell Rowley’s descendants know this story and have been inspired by her great faith. Descendants may not know their great-grandparents, but further back into the great-greats, they know Grandmother Ann!

Crossing Sweetwater River

The actual pioneer trek required the pioneers to cross a river that snaked back and forth in Wyoming called Sweetwater. They had to cross that river six times in the course of their journey. So in our trek I thought we should have to cross a stream at least twice!  Our trail led to a small stream that required some strategy to get all the people and carts across without drowning or losing belongings.

…Okay–yeah, so this little stream can’t be called a river.  Here you have to use your imagination  a little. We just needed to get across without getting wet!

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Arranging the log in the river to walk across.

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Just like in the real story, young men went into the water to help each person across safely.

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Here’s another real scenario–Mom carrying two babies across.

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And then the handcarts.

Trail-side Rest Stop and LunchHawkinsTreck 158

It was time to get the bedrolls out and have a rest and refreshment. Each person had a lunch in their handcart.

Perils Along The Trail

Every pioneer had challenges on the trail such as illness and accidents, among other things. so for another teaching moment, a few of the kids were handed notes that indicated a problem such as a broken leg, or a serious illness. Their family had to determine how to help their injured co-travelers continue the journey.

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Helping a cousin with “a broken leg” finish the trek.

This turned out to be more pleasure than plight, but isn’t that the the point of Grandma’s Camp?

“But With Joy Wend Your Way.”


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