Friday, April 28, 2017

It is Still Winter in Wyoming!!!

The short version:
Well another great week here at Martin’s Cove.  Monday we did RRA/RRA training (Rest Room Assist.).  There are 7 restrooms here at the homestead and 3 restroom complexes on the trails. We load up a dedicated rover and clean them all. We also have a truck with a water tank and pressure washer on it that we drive out to the bridges and statues and wash the bird droppings off them. Not the most glamorous job but someone has to do it. We are all blessed no matter where we serve.

On Tuesday Sister Sigmon and I were the Trek Hosts for a group of missionaries from 6th crossing.  The Trek Host is the couple that leads the group, with the Elder out front and the Sister sweeping up the back. We have radios to keep in contact with each other and base camp. The weather was overcast with a temp of around 42 degrees. After an hour on the trail it began to snow with a cold wind blowing right at us. The snow would stick to your clothes then freeze. We were halfway done at noon and stopped to eat. We were freezing and the temp dropped 10 degrees. President Pace was with us and the decision was made to abandon our handcarts and call for a rescue. Rovers were sent in to take us back to the trek center. They had hot chocolate waiting for us and we finished there. Even though we were cold and freezing it was one of the most spiritual and awesome experiences I have had. To experience even a little taste of what the pioneers went through was so faith promoting. My testimony of this gospel and love for the hand cart pioneers grows every day. I have been blessed with so much.
Wednesday was spent working on work crew, getting lawn mowers ready etc. (it will warm up sometime). There was a couple who had served here the last two seasons visiting that day.  They were the Johnsons.  I was working in the mechanic shop when Elder Crist came in with Brother Johnson. He introduced us and said this is Elder Sigmon. The brother then said oh yes Marcus Sigmon’s boy, I was so excited that this man knew my father. He was from Sanford Colorado, just 7 miles from my home town. I think of my dad often and miss him so much. I know he is working on the other side of the veil and because of God’s love for us we will be together again. It was a neat tender mercy of the Lord that I met Brother Johnson that day.

Thursday we worked in the Visitors center. It got a little busy, Sister Sigmon and I both had visitors at the same time. We continue to study and love all that come thru. There are so many wonderful people who come thru, members and non-members alike. We are all God’s children and it is great to be able to teach and visit with them.

Friday we were snowed in with 4 inches of snow and the roads closed between here Casper and Rawlins.  Hopefully it will clear up for the weekend.
I love you all!!!!
Elder Sigmon

Read on for the longer version:

Well let me just start out by saying this has to be the CRAZIEST WEEK we have had yet and I am not going to guarantee it will be the last BUT who knows! Oh my gosh!!! If someone had said this is what you will be doing and this is how it is going to be I would have said “Uh are you sure you have the right person because I don’t think so. I will just pass. Not this girl. Doesn’t sound like fun to me at all!” I also have to say Elder Sigmon has stolen part of my thunder since you know the outcome of it all but I’ll give you more details and of course….pictures!

RRA RRA Duty: Here we are with our designated RRA RRA Duty Rover with supplies (toilet paper, cleaning stuff, gloves, mice bait, buckets, etc.) It actually wasn’t very cold. I can tell by how I am dressed. I only have on a sweater top, my work blues shirt and one coat. The sun is out and that helps immensely. We had another couple train us, The Halls, since we have never done RRA RRA Duty yet. (Yes we did get some training on this lol). I also have to say these are the cleanest bathrooms you will ever find. They are cleaned 3-4 times a week and we don’t even have trekkers out there using them that much. I have a picture of one of the trail bathrooms for you to see how clean they really are. We even have a step stool which we clean off for those shorter people.

Now a little aside. I have been told always to keep the doors closed everywhere including bathroom doors because for one thing the wind can come along and rip it off. We actually found a bathroom door ripped off the hinges on the ground when we were with our District Leaders on a rover ride to show us the trail because whoever did RRA RRA duty didn’t make sure it was shut tight. Hence we hauled it home on the rover with us so it could be repaired.

The other thing is to open the door slowly, look inside for any creatures (snakes, etc) before entering. If we do see a let’s say a “creature” we are to not scream and draw a lot of attention, but calmly call base to have someone help take care of the situation. Of course right now it is a little too cold for some of those “creatures.” Hopefully Karl won’t have to wrangle any of them as he isn’t very fond of them.

Isn’t that beautiful?
I didn’t have to learn how to pressure wash the monuments. I mean how hard can it be you just pull the trigger and point right? I left Karl to get the training and went into the office to help Sister Scussel. We have about 200 Trek Leaders coming in Friday and Saturday to be trained. What that means is if a ward or stake brings youth and adults to experience a trek they have to have a designated Trek Leader who is trained in what can and can’t be done. The best way to prepare everyone so they can have an enjoyable experience. What they will need and how to accomplish that, etc. As a result of that there is a lot of paperwork with stories which can be told along the trail, what type of dress they should have, medical information, how to operate the speakers at different locations, trail maps, square dance music along with words so someone can call the square dance, how to get to the locations, etc. Each trek leader gets a packet of all this wonderful information which I helped print, copy and compile. Then they each got a copy of their trek schedule while they are here or itinerary.

Sister Scussel is one of the sweetest ladies you will ever meet.  She is the scheduler and coordinates all the groups coming in and where they will stay and how to move everyone along the trails without running into each other. One group has 800 people coming with them. She will break them down into groups of 200. That is a lot of people! There is a lot she has in her head. She is one of those couples that stayed during the winter and is here again this summer. We refer to those people as 2nd years. But some of them didn’t stay the winter and just came back again this summer. All the 2nd year people are awesome! They are so dedicated and just so kind and good at what they do. I am not sure who are going to be the ones to fill their shoes for next year. You have the person over Facility Management who basically figures out what everyone needs to work on and how to do it from landscaping, to repairing the road and everything in between.  Then Sister Scussel the trek scheduler and her husband is over safety; the Maxfields who work in the office, coordinates any songs we need to sing, melodramas or stories we need to do on the trail, along with square dancing, and IT for the computers; the Hunters who are in charge of outfitting-getting the carts, and flag for each company going out on a trek and lining them out; The Roundy’s Mechanic and she is over the Visitor’s Center; the Turpins who are the missonary schedular; and the Schows (pronounced s-cows) who are the campground supervisors. 

This is a picture of Sister Scussel. We are in the barn which was the actual barn of the Sun Family. We use it for eating our lunch and potlucks on Sunday. It now has a cement floor and tables and chairs instead of livestock.

Now for Tuesday and the Trek we were in charge of leading. We knew for a week that the weather was not going to be very people friendly. It had been saying rain for several days and then changed to snow. I actually was kind of happy it changed to snow from rain. I think it is easier to stay dryer in the snow than the rain. I had also been to Sportsman’s Warehouse looking at some of their clothing to see if there was something that might be helpful in keeping me warm in not wonderful weather. I was so excited to find this wonderful top with long sleeves which came up to the bottom of my fingers and thumbholes to keep them secure and in place. It also had a cowl neck which would come up the back of my head covering my ears, nose and mouth if needed. It was on clearance. I have included a picture of my clothing I ended up layering up in. I had a thermal top, the top I bought, a shell down jacket with no sleeves, my other down jacket with sleeves, and then my clearance Carhart jacket (which was waterproof). I also had fleece lined tights, long denim skirt, tennis shoes, beanie and gloves. I figured I could always take things off if I got warm but I couldn’t add things if I didn’t have them. I packed a lightweight rain poncho and some garbage bags in case I wanted to sit down and a bench was wet.

Here we are with our Trek Leaders the Gillespies. Usually the Trek Leader will be someone from the group of Trekkers who has been trained and coming with the group. But since we were with Sixth Crossing missionaries the Gillepies played the role of Trek Leaders. Here we are all bundled up ready to start the adventure! Oh and because you can’t see in this picture because my lovely ears are all bundled up I have a radio in my Carhart pocket and an earpiece on so I can hear Red Flag 1 (Karl) or base talk to me. I can also talk to them if I need to let them know something too.
Doesn’t Sister Gillespie have the best smile ever? She is a little cheerleader in my mind. There isn’t anything she isn’t ready and excited to do. I think you could take her to the dump and she would be so excited to go. I’m not kidding for reals! (Note the cute flower on her hat. She got it at Hobby Lobby and was so excited. She lost it later on the trail. We are hoping it will show up but I think with this wind here it is probably miles away.)

When we started out it wasn’t raining, snowing or anything except a little windy and was 40 degrees and went up to 42 degrees. About a couple miles down the trail where we stopped to hear the pie story it had started to do some raining. This is Sister Waldmann and Sister Taylor.
It is Louisa Mellor’s story when her mother finally gave up and couldn’t go any farther. She persuaded her family to let her stop and rest beside the trail. The company wouldn’t wait for her. So her husband, James, said goodbye, promising to return after getting the children settled in camp. Her daughter Louisa stayed and she had faith the Lord would help her know what to do. So Louisa went off a few yards away from where her mother was, knelt and prayed with faith that God would help them, that He would protect them from the wolves, and that He would let them reach camp. After her prayer she started back to where her mother was sitting. She found a pie in the road. She picked up and brought it to her mother to eat. After resting awhile they stated on their journey, thanking God for His blessings. A few miles before they reached camp they met her father coming out to meet them. They arrived in camp at 10:00 p.m. Many times…her mother felt like giving up and quitting; but then she would remember how wonderful the Lord had been to spare her so many times, and she offered a prayer of gratitude instead.

They did a women’s pull and as you can see it is starting to snow and get very windy. We later found out later it was at this point the weather dropped to 33 degrees. Then if you add the wind chill it was less than that.
By the time we got to the rescue statues it was really coming down.
Shortly after this picture we ate lunch and you know how it went from there.
Here are our abandoned handcarts. Each company will have a colored flag on the lead handcart so you know which your company is. We were red flag today.

We had the whole experience. I am so glad I was able to experience that like we did. Like Karl said it was truly humbling but at the same time such a wonderful experience. It really did give you a true feeling of what it must have been like for those people out there in similar but much worse conditions than we were. I had three coats on, gloves (which were soaked through), shoes, etc. I also could see why they told them they had to keep moving. Sitting down to eat lunch was bad for us. Can you imagine--they slept out in -11 degree weather sometimes with no shelter over them because the ground was too frozen to get a peg in or they were too worn out and exhausted to set up the tent. How did they survive? How did they not all freeze to death? These are some of the things I keep thinking and feeling. There is a story of the mother who was by herself with her three children and she set one child on her lap and one on each side of her and wrapped them up in a blanket. That is how they spent the night. I know the Lord was there to help these people. There is no way they should have survived. I hope in some small way you can have a sense of what I experienced and am trying to convey. Being here, feeling this weather, seeing the openness and nothing for miles for protection has given me such a different understanding of the stories I have heard.
This is a picture in the Trek Center depicting what I was describing above.

Below is a picture of our Rover Drivers and hot chocolate people.
L-R: Elder Waldmann, Taylor, Sister Taylor and Elder Ward.
Today Friday we woke up to terrible weather. It had started yesterday. There was 4” of snow on the ground, snowing still and blowing. The roads were closed from Lander and Riverton and a weather advisory out. We were told to stay in Missionary Village until further notice. Supposedly the roads were maybe opening about 9 a.m. This is the day of Trek Leader training. Well some people were at the homestead and 1 was here in Missionary Village. Others were stuck in Lander or Riverton and couldn’t make it in at this point. It turned out we were told to stay home the whole day due to the weather and they ended up training only 20 of the 200 they were expecting. Training ended today and will not be happening tomorrow so people could get home to their families. I have never seen such crazy weather.  At Sixth Crossing they got 1 ½’ of snow and 4’ snow drifts.

Because we were stuck in Missionary Village some suggested we get together at 3 p.m. and bring a snack and some games or movies. We all met at the Pavillion here at Missionary Village. We ended up watching The Cokeville Miracle and playing some games. We got home about 6 p.m.

About 7:30 p.m. Sister Pace, the President’s wife, wanted us to know a family had lost their black border collie when it took off to chase some antelope or deer. They had been looking for it for 2 hours and her name is Shelby and she is friendly. She wanted us to keep an eye out for it and the family left a number if we found her. I couldn’t stand thinking about this little dog being lost out in this snow so I asked Karl to take me for a drive so we could look for her. I guess I am really missing Jedi because as we were driving around I just started crying thinking about this poor little BLACK dog who may be lost and might freeze to death and how the family will miss her. I could also see why we stayed home. Unfortunately we didn’t find Shelby but I am thankful for a sweet husband who will drive his crazy wife to look for a lost dog in blowing snow and low visibility. He is a good man. At least I felt like I did something.
Until next time we hope you are all well!
Karl and Monica

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Mechanic Twins Shouldn't Work Together!

Short Version:
This week has been good. We did some training with our District Leaders Elder and Sister Scussel. They barbequed some hamburgers for us and Elder Scussel cooked the food. This was the rarest hamburger I have ever eaten in my life. It was just brown on the outside and completely red in the middle. He said yeah they looked red but he used a meat thermometer and they were good to go. Needless to say I had stomach trouble for the next 2 days.  I love them a lot, just not his cooking.

We worked in the visitor’s center on Tuesday and Monica was able to share a BOM with a nonmember couple. They were very nice and we had a great visit with them.  I also gave the training thought in our morning correlation meeting.  The rest of the week I was on work crew. I fixed a shallow well pump, put in a new pressure tanks at another well, did some sheetrock repair, some minor carpenter fixes and set up the pressure washer so we can wash all the mission vehicles.  I also fixed a water heater in one of the other trailers.  It is located in the bedroom in a closet. When I was buttoning it all up the other Elder I was with (Elder Roundy) said he had the impression we should short sheet their bed. I said I had the same impression so we short sheeted Elder and Sister Hough’s bed. The next morning I asked elder Hough how his water heater was and he said it worked good. I then asked him how he slept and he said good. I later found out Elder Hough is very particular about his sheets and he blamed his wife for not having the sheets right.  He went to bed before she did. So she had no idea what happened. It was kind of let down.

The rest of the story: A couple days later on our preparation day we were to lunch with the Houghs and we got a little more of the story.  I guess Elder Hough doesn’t like it when the mattress pad comes up at the bottom. So Sister Hough had bought these clips to hold it down and couldn’t find them so she had safety pinned it down. So when Elder Hough went to bed and was complaining she couldn’t figure out what he was doing to mess up the bed.  So she goes in to help him. She said I didn’t know what short sheet is. I was thinking someone took a sheet but we still had two of them. I had a foot and half of the bottom sheet tucked under the mattress. I couldn’t figure out how Elder Hough managed to get that sheet all folded up short like that.” So he is blaming her and she is blaming him. It was funny!

At night we continue to study and learn all we can. I am so thankful for my loving wife and all she does for me. I hope all is well with everyone.  I love you all!!!
Elder Sigmon

Read on for longer version:
I am going to try and give you a little lay of the land and where we live and where we go to work every day. We live at “The 66 Ranch, Missionary Village.”  It is located about 10 miles west of the Homestead. The Homestead is where the Visitor’s Center and Martin’s Cove is. The Homestead belonged to the Sun family and they originally owned over a million acres. The ranch was established in 1872 and when Tom Sun figured out the stories of the people who traveled this trail and the lives lost he decided to never have a plow touch the soil because of the sacredness of it. He tried to preserve the specialness of this place. So the Sun family raised cattle. At the Homestead 4 trails all converge here--the Oregon Trail, California Trail, Mormon Trail and the Pony Express Tail.

The church was able to buy 12,500 acres from the Sun Family in 1996. The church still runs about 3,000 head of cattle on the Homestead. They have a cowboy and an assistant who take care of the cattle end of things. The church has a god relationship with the Sun Family. Tom Sun was actually quite the frontiersman, trapper and often hired out as a hunting guide. He was good friends with Buffalo Bill Cody. How cool is that! Tom Sun actually taught Buffalo Bill the ropes.

Below is the entrance to the Homestead—Martin’s Cove

The path to the Visitor’s Center. (This was taken when we came to check it out last September)

There are some cool land marks I love to see when I come in each day. This is Devil’s Gate.

The to the left the mountain with the “v” is Split Rock. The rock you see on the right if you go on around behind it that is where you will find Martin’s Cove. It is 20 miles from Martin’s Cove to Split Rock. But you can see why Devil’s Gate and Split Rock are definite land marks to know where you are going.

Now on to the daily things we did this week.

Tuesday Elder Sigmon and I worked in the Visitor’s Center from 8-2. We worked with another couple Elder and Sister Turpin. 
Sister Turpin and I talked to one couple traveling to Seattle. They were so pleasant and I really enjoyed their visit. They were not members but they love history. 
We were supposed to have square dancing training at 1 and they wanted everyone to learn and practice because we are going to have to do a demonstration next week. Sister Turpin was here last summer and so she said Karl and I should go ahead and go and they would hold down the fort in the Visitor’s Center.
Before 1 p.m.Karl and I had another couple we took through together. They said they have passed by many times before on their way to California and have always said they would stop one of these times. Today was that day! They were very nice. Part way through the visit Sister Turpin wanted to know if she should take over so we could go to our square dancing practice. Both Elder Sigmon and I looked at each other and decided that we didn’t want to leave this couple and were going to stay. It is amazing how quickly you can build up a rapport with some people. After Sister Turpin left Karl joked with the husband and told him “Thanks you got me out of square dancing practice.” They both had a good laugh. We continued showing them around and toward the end we asked if they wanted to watch a movie. They were so cute they said “yes we want the whole experience.” There is a list of names of those who were in the Martin and Willie Handcart Company and the Hunt and Hodgetts Wagon Freight Companies in white and those who died in gold. On top of them is a few wood handcarts. The husband saw those and wanted to know where the gift shop was to go to after the movie. He wanted a handcart. We explained to him there wasn’t a gift shop. We weren’t in the business of making money. He was so sad. He says “I really wanted one of those to remember this place.” We have a card with a couple pictures and a quote of one of the survivors on it so I handed him that which he appreciated. Then he went in with another couple to watch the movie. While they were in there Karl and I talked to each other. There is a gentleman who makes different sizes handcarts and we as missionaries could order them from him. I knew there were some small ones in the office. Plus we had a few ourselves and so we decided that we would either pay for one of the ones in the office if they were extras or give one of ours back if there weren’t extras. So I ran to the office while they were in the movie and grabbed a little one. When they came out of the movie I handed them the handcart and a Book of Mormon and said “We have a few gifts for you.” When he saw them he actually got a little teary eyed and was very touched we had gotten them for him.” It was a nice experience.

On another note I have been put in charge of the wood medallion they give to the kids who come through the Visitor’s Center on a field trip or with a family. The funny thing is I don’t know a lot about them except you crochet a chain the length of your arm and they attach a wood medallion to it. But I have learned it has to be sanded, stamped and attached to the crocheted lanyard. We have figured out we will need about 5,000 of them for this year. My goal is to have our 5,000 done shortly so we are not having it hang over our heads for a long period of time. We’ll see how long it really takes.

Now Karl has been having his own little adventures while on work crew. He and Elder Roundy (nick named the Mechanic Twins) worked on a Pressure Tank for the well in the Wash House (laundry room for the RV people). There are two in there and they needed to take out an old one because the bladder inside had broken. Then move the 2nd one in there over to 1st place position and put the new one in the 2nd place position. The logic being the oldest one is the next one to go out and will be easier to get to when it does. They got it all done and had glued all the new fittings so they had to let the glue dry. This was when they short sheeted the Hough’s bed. After that escapade they returned to the wash house and Elder Roundy told Karl to turn the well on and let the pressure build. So he did and they are waiting. The next thing they know one of the fittings comes loose (glue wasn’t dry). I would blame it on the cold! Lol It is 1 ¼” pipe. They literally took a bath with all the water shooting out. I guess Karl was turning off the pump and luckily Elder Roundy was turning off the 220 electricity. When they opened the wash house door the water poured out. When I saw Elder Sigmon at lunch he was wet from his chest down to his ankles. I asked him why he didn’t change since they were working at the Ranch and he could have. He told me he didn’t want to make Elder Roundy feel bad because he couldn’t change because his house was at the homestead. After lunch at the Homestead Elder Sigmon found another use for a heat gun in the mechanics shop—it can dry clothes.

On our last preparation day we stopped at Papa Murphy’s again to get a pizza to take home for dinner. But as I was looking into their refrigerator I could see a pizza with what looked like marshmallows but I kept looking at the menu board and I couldn’t figure out what it was. The girl behind the counter must have noticed my confusion and she said those are our dessert pizzas. They aren’t on the menu. So she tells me there are S’mores, Cinnamon Wheel and something like Chocolate chip cookie crumble. They are $5. Then she asks me if I would like to try a sample that way I would know for the next time what they tasted like. Well who am I to turn down a sample. So I said “sure which one the S’mores or Cinnamon Wheel?” That’s when she says “either one.” So I decided on the Cinnamon Wheel. The next thing I know she gets a whole dessert pizza out of the fridge. I was expecting a small sample from one already cooked not a whole pizza so I’m still looking around for the small sample which I still don’t see. So I asked “this whole pizza?” The lady was like “yes.” Then Karl walks over having no idea what just happened and asks me if he needs to take me out of the store (meaning I keep buying things). lol  It was crazy but I was so excited. I had hit the jackpot but then I’m thinking I don’t need this whole thing who can we invite to help eat it. That worked out great because the next day we find out we are having a district meeting for some training and they are going to prepare the hamburgers and if us and the Wards could bring dessert and a salad. So I told the Wards I would do the dessert. It was a hit!

The other cool thing that happened is at 6th Crossing they lease out the land there to a Rancher by the name of Tom Abernathy to run his cattle on that land over there. I guess every year at his expense he butchers a cow and has it processed. Then he gives it to the missionaries at 6th Crossing and Martin’s Cove. All of us couples ended up with about 12 pounds of hamburger and either a roast or a round steak. This is our bag of goodies! He isn’t a member of the church but I thought it was so kind of him to do that every year. It was a very nice surprise! We had hamburgers for dinner tonight and it definitely was home grown meat! YUM!

This is the turn off to our home and here is a picture of our little humble abode. They made everyone a sign to put in front of their permanent trailer or RV. It was nice because then you could figure out where everyone lived if you needed to go talk to them.

Hope everyone is doing well and we love ya!
Karl & Monica

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Actually Trekked!


Short version:
It has been a little rough for me this week. I was sick and had to stay home 2 days, but I was blessed by a priesthood blessing.  I am so thankful for the priesthood and the power it has in our lives.  I was able to work the rest of the week and feeling much better today.  I was able to fix a hot water heater, a washing machine, a rover (this is the cart thing we drive around in).  We also did a 7.2 mile trek at the 6th crossing site for training.

As I have been here the last couple weeks I have wondered how the pioneers were able to do what they did.  They lived the law of consecration and the law of sacrifice all most every day of their journey.  They did not wait to make those covenants in a temple, they did it right here on this hallowed ground. And they did it because they live the first commandment….. thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. I am so thankful for their example.
Elder Sigmon

Longer version:
Well let’s see so much has happened let me figure out where to begin. Last Friday was our first trek as Martin Cove missionaries. It was a very cold, windy day. So I look pretty bundled up. All of those who know me well know I don’t like to be cold and being warm is much more important than fashion. The trek was 8.2 miles.

They wanted us to have an experience of what it would be like for those who come to Martin’s Cove and do a trek. So we drove in as if we were coming in as trekkers. We went to staging to pick up our handcarts. Yes we had handcarts and we began our trek. We stopped along the way and heard stories we were asked to do at different places. Of course Elder Sigmon and I had the longest one (8 pages-ok they were 4”x6” pages but that still was a lot to try and memorize). We decided to split up the pages between the 2 of us and trade off. We were to tell about the Martin Handcart Company. 

We even did a woman’s pull (for those of you who don’t know what that is, let me tell you). It is where the Men and/or boys are called away and go off. The Women and/or girls are left to pull the handcarts up a hill by themselves. It signifies the many times in the history of the Church when faithful sisters pressed on without their husbands. Many men died on the journey west. Others were called to leave their families in meager circumstances to respond to mission calls. When we get up to the top of the hill the men are lined up on either side of the trail with their hats in their hands on their heart in respect of us women. They cannot speak, participate, or help in any way. As they do this they think about the importance of the women in their life who do so much for them. And also remember the great sacrifice of the pioneer women who brought their children to Zion. 
To tell you of the experience. We women ended up taking 3 carts up this hill. I was with the lead cart. I had decided to be at the back pushing during the whole trekking experience. On our cart there were only 4 of us but it was the heaviest loaded cart. I believe on the 2nd cart there were 5 or 6 and the last cart had like 8 people. As we started to go to the carts I could see the numbers were against us and I tried to bring one more person to our cart but they were already committed to their cart not knowing what I was trying to do. 
So up we started. One of the ladies Sister Scussel had been here last year and she said we can stop and rest so we did part way which helped immensely because we couldn’t have done it in one stretch. 
After the 2nd time we stopped another Sister ran from the back and came up to help us. It made all the difference to get up to the top. As we got to the top and saw those men standing there with their hands over their hearts with their hats in their hands brought tears to my eyes. It was a touching experience.
As we walked along I thought about those Pioneers in their dresses, some with no shoes, trudging along with no coats, maybe a blanket, pulling family members in their carts along with their supplies. In temperatures colder than I am experiencing and in blizzardy snow and wind, starving, etc. I can’t figure out how any of them survived at all. I have heard these stories and have a great admiration for the pioneers. BUT until you have actually been out here in a fraction of the weather and landscape they were in. You cannot explain it or even begin to tell someone what it must have been like. I can’t even imagine. I know the Lord’s hand was involved more than we have any idea it was. I’m telling you I cannot see how anyone in Martin & Willie handcart company and the Hodgettes & Hunt wagon company should have survived in those conditions in the state they were in without divine help! It is very humbling and makes you very appreciative. 

The upcoming picture is us telling our 8 page story. I did have cheat sheets since I couldn’t memorize all of it in the few days’ notice. Don’t make fun of the attire. I am not going for fashion out on the trekking trail. I’m going for functionality and just so you know…in the wind this skirt was not the best choice. Not that it blew up or anything like that. More that it blew in between the legs, etc. I have to admit I did take the rover ride for about ¾ of a mile closer to the end. The Taylors said I was limping and I didn’t want to overdo it. I kept Sister Waldmann company. She over exerted herself on the women’s pull and was having a hard time breathing. She comes from 1300 elevation and hasn’t acclimated to the altitude here. I have to admit it had me coughing a little from the exertion but I could still breathe with no problem.

Just a picture of the trail and the landscape coming out of the cove. There were 3 antelope which decided to run across the trail before we invaded their space.

Sunday morning about 3:30 a.m. Karl woke up with a fever. So he stayed home from church and didn’t go to work on Monday. While I was at our morning meeting on Monday President Pace asked if he could talk to me. Sister Scussel works in the office and schedules all the treks for everyone coming in. I guess the night before she went to the Emergency Room thinking she was having a heart attack and it turns out she just was having severe carpool tunnel in both of her wrists. He wanted to know if I could work with her and help her out so she wasn’t having to do so much with her hands. Of course I said I would be happy to help and told him I was a pretty good typer. He did say well if she will let you but at least moving the files, preparing packets, etc would be helpful. (Can I also just say as a little aside I was kind of excited. Thursday the week before I was on what I called rock quarry duty. We had to go and collect rock and haul it over by the office building and lay it out against the building to help with water splashing and making the white building black from the water hitting the dirt. Not to mention some of the other hard labor. I was feeling a little worn out and not quite built up to all the heavy duty labor.) Sister Scussel did let me do all of the typing as she dictated and was quite pleased with the fact I knew how to get around in the programs on the computer and knew my way around things. When I went home that evening I was so happy because I was helpful to Sister Scussel and as a bonus I actually had energy at the end of the day.

On the Karl note, he was still feeling like a wet noodle someone had thrown against a wall and he wasn’t done yet. He did go to work on Tuesday but the bad part was he was outside in the wind for most of the day. Then on Wednesday when he went in, he drank his Pepsi but not any water all day. Which of course did NOT help. I had to go into town Wednesday to the Chiropractor so I wasn’t there to check on him at lunch or he would have drank water. Lol Thursday he drank 3 bottles of water and made great improvements. As of today, Friday, I can say he actually is doing 100% better although he isn’t totally back to 100%.
We also went to 6th Crossing today and did another trek with the people from 6th Crossing to get some training. It was good to see friends again. We ended up doing a 7.2 Trek today with them. I must say 6th Crossing is at a little higher elevation and an hour from where we are staying. Once again I didn’t go for fashion as it was another very windy day. On the good side we didn’t have to push any handcarts. But there weren’t any places along their trails to sit down to listen to a story or eat our lunch. We did sit in the willows to eat lunch. We were able to feel how the wind was blocked by those willows and how it was a refuge for them even though it might still have been snowing. 

It was windy the whole time and I never did take off any layers. Except for the hat. The trek is rougher ground and terrain. They also do not have picnic tables for lunch or benches along the trekking path. I am glad I’m at Martin’s Cove. I don’t think I physically could have handled Sixth Crossing.

Elder Sigmon and I did eat our lunch amongst the willows near where the Willie handcart took refuge from the storm. I was warm enough to take off one coat and my sunhat. It also made Elder Sigmon think of all the fun he had as a kid playing in the willow fields growing up, building forts, trying to snare rabbits, etc. (He never snared a rabbit) but I guess they are fun to play in.
Overnight with the runoff the stream got pretty high so we couldn’t just walk through unless we wanted to get our feet wet (No one said to bring our water shoes). They didn’t know, it happened overnight. So we had several options and Karl and I opted to keep our feet nice and warm and dry and rode the rover over. Some other people walked through shoes and all and others without shoes and socks.
They do have a very nice Visitor’s Center.
Sorry this one ended up being a little long because of all the pictures. I can try and do better and include less pictures to make it shorter.

We love you and hope everyone is doing well. In case you do not have our mailing address if you would like to write here it is: (Mail is always fun)

47600 West Highway 220
Alcova, WY 82620

Friday, April 7, 2017

Made it to Wyoming!

Here is the short version:
We are doing great here at Martin's Cove. There is so much to learn and do to get ready for this summer. They were right about (you will cry every day), I am trying to get hardened up, but it is not working so far. I was working in the visitor’s center last Sunday when a family that weren’t members came in. When we came to the room with the picture of Joseph Smith and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appearing to him, the father said “what is this picture about?” I was able to tell him some of the Joseph Smith story and then he said why are there two people appearing to him. I then taught him about the Godhead. We finished going through the Visitor's Center and I invited him to take a Book of Mormon but he declined. I was so sad the rest of the day. It really broke my heart. I have been studying hard so I can do better in teaching others.
Monday I got to work in the Mechanics shop fixing the brakes on a trailer and working on chain saws and weed whackers. It was great!
I love you all
Elder Sigmon

If you want the longer version then read on:
Well we made it here safely to our new residence for 6 months at what is called Ranch 66 (Missionary Village). We had fresh flowers on our table and a box dinner in the fridge. It was a BBQ shredded pork which we ate on hamburger buns. We also had chips, fruit cups and a homemade chocolate chip cookie for each of us.

As we drove in we met a couple driving back to the Homestead (where the office and visitor’s center is) who offered to turn around and help us unload. Karl thanked them and told them we have been sitting all day--we can get it. As we pulled into our driveway a couple we had already met at the MTC offered to help unload, Karl told them the same thing and then we started to visit for minute before we knew what was happening there were about 8-10 people emptying out the truck and hauling it into our new abode for us to unpack and decide where it all should go.
The mission President and his wife came out to greet us and bring us some bandanas and slides which we could wear if we want with our trail dress. They are very nice and we really like them. I will give you a brief tour of our house. There are some waves in the floor, very interesting colors in carpeting, and sunflower wall paper in the kitchen along with many more interesting little features!  It is an early 70’s trailer. I don’t need to say any more.

Karl tells me “Did you notice the hole in the shower curtain?” I was so overwhelmed with everything apparently I had neglected to notice. So when I went to check this is what I see. There is no shower curtain liner. Hmmm that could be a problem. So showering was tricky the first morning trying to keep as much water as possible inside the tub lol. And then as you can see you almost need to be a contortionist to reach the toilet paper. We have fixed both problems. They gave us a shower liner that day so we didn’t have to go buy one. And the toilet paper now sits on the tub edge except while we shower and then it is on the toilet tank until we are done.  Easy peasy!

Our first day was P-day so we went into town and picked up various items we needed as far as groceries, etc.  We have to wear our trail dress while we are in town also. Here is Karl looking good and yes we drove through McDonald’s in Casper. We even found a Sam’s Club, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Walmart, Target, etc. Did I mention we stopped to buy a Papa Murphey’s pizza to take home and cook for dinner that evening?

Sunday we were assigned to work in the Visitor’s Center for our very first time 9-1:30. When we got there a couple different people were visiting so Karl was able to shadow Elder Schow and I went with Sister Schow and her group.  Karl and I were listening and watching what they were doing. The next thing I know Elder Schow is gone. I am with Sister Schow as she is close to being done and the bell dings indicating someone might be coming. Karl looks out and sees someone so he asks me to go help him. I am trying to figure out where is Elder Schow and so I go to get my coat to go. Then I see another couple walking down the sidewalk. So I decide to say hello to them and they reply back with a hello but they keep walking. Meantime Karl is visiting with another family.  Then I realize my couple I said hi to are walking into the Visitor’s Center but I know Sister Schow is busy so I’m up!  Oh my! So I head to the door and greet them again and I decided I am going to up front and honest--I have nothing to lose here. So I tell them this is my first day. I will do the best I can if they are willing to be patient with me. They were very kind and so off we go. Luckily I could remember a lot of what Sister Schow had said. They were not members of the church and so when I came to the display of Joseph Smith I said “This is Joseph Smith and how our church came to be. Would you like to hear the story or skip it and move on?” I wanted to be respectful and they were nice and said “No go ahead and tell us.” It made my day! Now for my unknowingness. There is a map which shows different points on the trail that you can light up. I came to Bessemer Bend and I light it up and say “This is Bessemer Bend and then I sit there for a minute and then I say, I can’t remember what happened there. Sorry” and moved on to the next one. They were very patient. All in all it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be and I was pretty calm.

Karl has gotten to work in the Mechanics shop and was in heaven. He also did get to help on one of my assignments. I have had various work crew duties.  Setting up the trek center and getting it ready for summer. I had to take a picture of all the dead flies in the window sill I found when I raised the blinds to clean the window. I have never seen so many in my life and probably never will again!
L-R: Sister Gillespie, Me, Karl, Sister Waldmann and Sister Hough
I also can drive the rover around. As I was trained in the first 5 minutes of my first work crew day by Sister Roundy.

I have found one place in the world where the weather changes faster than New Mexico. We always would say if you didn’t like the weather wait 15 minutes it will change. Well here in Wyoming you only have to wait 5 minutes. It can go from sunny, to snowing, to raining all along with windy.
Hope you are all well and doing good.

We love you!