We survived the trek! It was no picnic, but we made the most of it, and I'm glad we went.
The first night was the worst with two bawling babies. Mark had to get out of the tent with Ivy at 2 a.m. to get her to stop crying, meanwhile I'm sure she woke up half the campground. The next two nights we gave the girls Benedryl (for their mosquito bites of course) and put Ivy in a snow suit so she wouldn't get cold, and we all slept much, much better. Oh, and I wasn't entirely joking about the mosquito bites. I took inventory of how many bites Millie brought home . . . a whopping 49 bites! Poor thing! I'm sure I have a good 30 or so. Mark and Ivy must have the same blood, the mosquitoes bit them but they didn't react with an itchy breakout. I am so very very jealous.
Moving on, here we are in our ultra-attractive pioneer attire, complete with sunglasses and running shoes.
At first Millie enjoyed riding in the handcart, but it got old and she insisted that I carry her, well that wasn't going to fly. I told her she could walk or ride in the cart, but all she could say was, "Hold me, hold me." So . . . I held her hand as she walked for a mile, crying the entire time, "Hold me, hold me." Such a mean mom, I know. She was much happier after we met up with grandma and grandpa (Mark's parent's came as organizers, so they drove from place to place) and ate some snacks. No handcarts are taken into Martin's Cove so we all took turns occasionally carrying Millie. (I just wasn't going to carry her when a handcart was an option!)
At one point during that longest day of hiking (7+ miles), all the men were called to fight with the Mormon Battalion and the women were left to pull/push the handcarts up this amazingly steep and sandy hill called the women's pull. So I had Ivy on my back and Millie crying in the handcart as I helped push the cart up the hill. It was pretty intense. (You can see all the men walking up the hill behind me.)
Luckily, Mark carried Ivy for most of the trip. We were so blessed to get this backpack from a friend in our ward the day before we left. We had planned to use an old school one we inherited some years ago, but this one was much nicer. Complete with canopy and detachable backpack. Unfortunately I now associate the backpack with a certain rodent. . . . As I pulled my jacket out of it one morning a little mouse came out along with it! So gross. I'm told I jumped 5 feet off the ground. We had left the backpack outside our tent overnight and the zipper must have been left slightly open. It still gives me nightmares.
All-in-all, Ivy won the happy camper award. She took many-a-nap in that backpack. It was really hot and I think it just wiped her out. What a trooper, can't say the same about Millie, but she had her good girl "moments."
We are all glad to be home, and are eternally grateful to the pioneers who made our many blessings possible.