Family History Reunion–Pioneer Trek

Pioneer Trek Reunion

Another time when it was my turn, we went up Huntington Canyon and reenacted a mini pioneer trek. We used ancestor stories and planned around that. Each person was given a pioneer bonnet or a cowboy hat. One of our ancestors headed to Oregon for the gold fields. They stopped in Salt Lake for supplies and he joined the Mormon Church. So we salted the creek with some gold marbles for the kids to find as we began our trek (they could each pick up four gold nuggets), telling them the story of William Morley Black. The family was divided into families with a “Ma and Pa” for each family. Each family had a little wagon or a wheel barrow to use as their handcart. Each person brought a bedroll (to eat their lunch on) and a large squirt gun or super soaker (for the buffalo hunt) and put them in the handcart.

Family Reunion--Hawkins Pioneer Trek1
Top Row: L-Panning for gold; C-On the trail; R-A pioneer ancestor visits us and tells her story. Middle Row:-Crossing a stream. Bottom Row: L-Guns read for the buffalo hunt; C-The hunt; R-The Trading Post.

Toward the end, some anonymous person handed each family a note that told of a challenge for their family such as one of their children broke his leg. They had to figure how to best help him. The trail crossed a small stream two times, and the leaders had to figure out the best place to across. Everyone made a stop to eat their lunch (cheese stick, jerky, and an apple). We had one of our pioneer ancestor–Ann Jewell Rowley appear to us and tell her stories of faith. The dads and grandpas acted as the buffalo and had a cardboard buffalo head as a shield. The kids had the most fun with this activity. At the end of the trek, they could spend their gold at the trading post. After the trek was over, the kids gathered around an aunt who helped them make a pioneer craft. Each family was given a small book that told the stories of their pioneer ancestors, to take home. We ate chili and scones for late lunch. The there was free time for kids and visiting time for adults.

Family Reunion Classes

Set Up Some Mini-Classes &

Learn From Each Other

All families have people that are really good at one thing or another. A fun idea is to ask family members in advance to teach a Class Activity and share their talents and break the group into classes. The possibilities are endless–look around your family and figure out who could teach what. After dinner, some could show what they’ve learned, like the dancing, acting, or rhythm, etc.

Here are some of our ideas:

Crafts–Have the crafty cousin bring supplies for a mosaic craft or some other trendy craft that people can sign up to do. This is one of the options my niece is going to have us do at our next reunion.

Family Trip--Provo River

Alisha’s Craft

Here is a craft that looks so perfect for a family reunion! Check it out at Saving with Sarah blog.

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Another variation of this is found on Ginger Snaps blogab187fa0761aebb84d36a6d26a5630b4You can order supplies for these pendants at Photo Making Jewelry

Cake Decorating–I have two daughter-in-laws who decorate cakes. Either one could teach marshmallow fondant, or using tips at a family reunion. One year I made cupcakes and frosting ahead of time, and we had “Cupcake Wars” with the family divided into three teams. The cupcake flavors were Applesauce, Red Velvet, Chocolate, made before the event started. Everyone adults and kids participated and had a great time.

Grandma's Camp Wonderland

Quilting–In our family, a good class to teach would be the basics of patchwork. (Sewing machines are portable these days and can be transported to the reunion.) Our daughter learned quilting from her grandmother, and now teaches. Grandma tried to teach all of her granddaughters quilting and held Quilting Camp at her house for a couple of years.

Nina Quilting and Sewing

Grandma Nina was a professional quilter. Top Row L-teaching her granddaughters to put a quilt on frames and tie it. R-The girls finished quilt tops. The rest are Nina Grimes quilts. Bottom R-teaching a granddaughter.

Embroidery–Our  Grandma taught ribbon embroidery and traditional embroidery to one of our daughters. It would be a great class to teach something relating to an ancestor at a family reunions.  Quilting or Embroidery would be a great way to honor her in our family.

Self Defense or Personal Safety–Get some tips from someone in your family that is in law enforcement or has taken these kinds of classes.

Dance –Have the dancer in your family choreograph a simple dance.– Our daughter-in-law taught teenagers and younger kids a Stomp.

Music or Rhythm –Our grandson gave everyone some type of percussion instrument–look around there are all sorts of house hold things that can double as percussion instruments. He started a beat and we all followed it and the person next to him would start with another beat; you could follow or keep the same beat going. The longer it went, the more fun it was!

Act It Out

We’ve done this in so many different ways. You just need a director.

  • I had condensed “Joseph’s Technicolored Dream Coat,” and had some simple costumes for the main characters. We watched parts of the movie, and then rehearsed, giving tips on what their character needed to portray.
Grandma's Camp Wonderland1

All dressed up and ready to play their part. These guys write their own plays.

  • My mother had simple costumes and put together a reader’s theater about a Court Case of Thomas Hawkins–one of our ancestors, and they rehearsed it briefly and and put it on for the crowd.
  • Another time my mother dressed pioneer clothes and did a one woman show of her great-grandmother crossing the plains and mountains with seven children and a handcart. She had collected her history from family members as well as first hand accounts from her grandfather. Everyone loved it and learned so much about this ancestor.

Archery–Have the archer in your family bring some bows, arrows and targets and teach the basics of archery. We bought some inexpensive homemade bows that worked well for little kids, and a couple of adults had their own bows to share.

Grandmas Camp Medeival 2013

This archery event happened at Grandma’s Medieval Camp.

Shooting–Choose someone in your family that can teach gun safety if you are in areas where you can have target practice with guns, or maybe you are close enough to a shooting range. We live in a rural area, so its not hard to set up a shooting range in our 10 acres or go to North Springs Shooting Range near Price, Utah.

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Headed out to teach gun safety and target practice at our Cowboy Camp.

 

 

Destination: Duck Creek

Duck Creek Village and Cedar Mountain

We rented a 6 bedroom cabin and stayed at Duck Creek Village. Fishing, hiking, mountain atmosphere!

Family Trip Duck Creek1

Top L-Skating in the Ice Cave; R-Fishing in a lake; Middle L- Trail to Crystal Falls; R-Crystal Falls; Bottom L and R–Evening Family Entertainment, playing a tune on desk bells, and dancing queens.

While at Duck Creek we took some side trips. There is an Ice Cave nearby, on Cedar Mountain, and a Bristle Cone Pine Trail–Bristle Cone Pines are thought to be one of the oldest living things on the earth, some of them are 5,000 years old! Navajo Lake was close by and good fishing. Crystal Falls is a really great hike!  We traveled from Cedar City up Cedar Mountain, past Navajo Lake to Duck Creek. The side trips were in that same area.

You can rent a cabin 3-6 bedrooms for $175-350/night. See the link at the top of this post. Sometimes cabins have a two or three day minimum stay. This in between Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument just 42 miles away.

 

Destination: Black Dragon

Black Dragon Canyon– Camping/Hiking

We have been hiking and camping in the San Rafael Swell so many times and have seen so many parts of it, that I would say we have seen about all of it, except that is impossible to do in one lifetime! We had hiked the canyon rocks before, but an old timer told us there was a cave up behind the boulders, so we went searching. My husband and I found it, but it was so full of soft dirt and dust that we thought when we brought our whole family back, we needed to put masks on them (middle right).

Family Trip--Black Dragon1

The cave is exciting to find. It takes some searching. There is only a small opening that you have to stoop to fit into (bottom right looking from the bottom of the cave up to the opening). The cave is so deep and dark that we all had headlamps (bottom left).   The ceiling and floor are lit up by the flash, and you can get the perspective. There is plenty of other wonderful sites to see in this high rock walled canyon (top left) like pictographs (top right). The Black Dragon pictograph here has been enhanced. It is very faded. It is a fun place to go, and there are lots of camping sites close by, and many other sites–see Goblin Valley and the Reef

Destination: Bryce Canyon

Ruby’s Inn Campground at Bryce Canyon

We planned our reunion for Bryce Canyon, and because of our grandchildren, we thought it would be fun to stay in Tipis. They rent for $35-53.00/night depending on how many people–2-8. The cabins rent for $52-65/night. There is a restroom/shower building and also an indoor pool that is available to campers.Family Trip--Bryce Canyon  We participated in the wagon ride and chuck wagon dinner one evening. We went on several gorgeous hikes! I think Bryce has the most unusual formations of any of the National Parks. It is a fun place to explore, and tipis made the trip all the more enchanting.

Destination: Joe’s Valley

Joe’s Valley ATV Trails

We rented four wheelers for everyone and went up to Joe’s Valley on the trails there.  There are plenty of places to camp, and the trails go on and on. Besides four wheeling, there is bouldering, fishing, hiking, and lots of pretty mountain scenery!

Family Trip--Joe's Valley four wheeler

It rained for a bit, but that just made mud and what is more fun to drive through than mud? Everyone had a great time and wanted to do it again! This is the family reunion that the kids talk about the most.

Cost:

ATVs – $80.00 each at Extreme Adventure Rentals in Castle Dale, UT

We got a break on the cost because we rented so many (7); and since it was a Saturday we were able to keep them until Monday!

 

Destination: Paiute Trail

Paiute Trail in the Tushar Mountains

My kids and grand kids, and especially my husband love to camp. We went camping with our whole family along the Piute Trail in the Tushars, close to Beaver, Utah. We took a couple of ATVs and took turns seeing the sites around us. Some of the trails were very narrow and interesting (top right). We all got in the truck and visited the old Kimberly Gold Mine area. There is a large building/cabin that has information about the area (bottom right). I understand there is still gold in that area.

Family Trip-Piute Trail

Top Row–There are great ATV trails in this area. Middle Row: Wild Mountain Goats; the Silver King Mine area with Brigham Daniel Darger, and Pansy Permilia Brown’s home.

One of the most delightful things about this area are the mountain goats. We hiked until we saw them and then followed them a bit. It was a wonderful sight! It rained on us every day, but we had good tents and movies on iPads f or the kids. When it would stop raining we would gather together and play games, or go exploring.  I loved splashing mud on the kids as we drove through the mud puddles It is absolutely gorgeous area!

Destination: Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

We stayed in Torrey at the Cowboy Homestead Cabins. They are each $89.00. They have a kitchenette and bathroom and bed–cute cabins and fabulous view! This is the best deal because they are off the main road, a little outside of town. There is an irrigation ditch that runs next to the property. My city grand kids never got out of the ditch unless we left to go somewhere (top middle).

Family Trip--Torrey Capitol Reef1

We made some side trips the days we were there. We went hiking in Capitol Reef National Park (bottom left). We went to the ghost town of Fruita, where there are orchards with fruit you can pick; an old school house; a gift store; and this old truck (middle row 5, 6). We also drove to Boulder Mountain and hiked and played in the water (bottom center).Each family had their own cabin, but the back yard is large with a lot of room for ball and frisbee games, and outside grills where we cooked together. Across the fence in the back yard is a horse pasture (top right). We want to revisit this destination and stay in these same cabins!

Destination: Bus Ride to Fun Spots in Salt Lake City

Bus Ride to Fun Spots in Salt Lake City

This was my second brother’s idea. At first it didn’t sound great, but it turned out to be lots of fun. He had snacks for us on the bus, and we could mix and mingle. The kids had a great time doing this. We stopped at the  Kennecott Copper Mine. None of us had ever been up there. We toured the mine and learned some facts we didn’t know, and marveled at the tiny ant like truck at the bottom of the copper pit. It is a wonder that needs to be seen to believe! Our next stop was the Wheeler Farm. It is an historic, working farm. We toured the old farm house, saw the animals, took a wagon ride, and we ate our boxed lunches there under a tree.

Malachi, Abby, Ellie at the Zoo

Charter Bus, Wheeler Farm, Kennecott Mine, Hogle Zoo

The afternoon stop was the Hogle Zoo which was very fun to be there with our group. The year we did this, there was a huge dinosaur exhibit there. Not a coincidence that Jurrasic Park had just been released in the movie theaters, so after a sloppy joe dinner at my brother’s house in Bountiful, we went to the movie.

I have no idea how much it cost then or now. I’ve linked it to some charter bus sites that you have to contact to get a quote, but I’d like to do this again with my own big family now.

Destination: Huntington State Park

Huntington  State Park

When it was my turn, I brought the reunion close to my home. I live in Emery County. My mom was born in Huntington, so, but we never lived there as a family. I reserved campsites for everyone at Huntington State Park. It is a reservoir that is close to the town of Huntington, so it is not high in the mountains and has warmer water than most lakes. There are bathroom facilities with showers at this park.  We put up more shade so we could gather together for meals and games (bottom left).

Family Reunion--Huntington Lake Reunion1

We rented two Wave Runners from Provo (today prices start at about $500.00 a day). We all took turns on them, and it worked out great!  A friend brought horses for those who wanted to go on a horseback riding trip (top right). We visited the local cemetery where many of our ancestors are buried. Mom talked about her memories of Huntington.

Friday night we attended the Castle Valley Pageant nearby, which tells the story of the settlement of Emery County. We ordered pizza for everyone and took them with us (bottom right). You can also buy food at the  concession stands.

Ben's photos

Pre-show Activities on the set of the Pageant. Kids riding in wagons; fiddlers playing outside a dugout; crowd gathering in the audience seats; there are quilters, a blacksmith, a maker of toys, etc. fun!

 

At the pageant, as you wait for the sun to go down, there is a pioneer village that you can walk through and see how life was lived back in the 1800′s. They watch a Blacksmith make horseshoe rings, and each of the kids get one; they can ride in a covered wagon, etc. It is the a great pageant, the only one that uses live animals.