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

1 comment:

  1. the pie story is one of my most favorite. Every time I feel like giving up Nate always asks if he needs to get me a pie, and it always works to get me back on track. I don't know how the saints survived either. So wonderful that you get the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of their commitment to the Lord and their covenants, and not outcomes.