Filthy. Stinky. Grumpy. Prickly. Greasy.
That's what I was when I arrived home yesterday afternoon after 4 days at the ranch followed by 4 days on trek.
My grandpa's ranch is heaven on earth, despite the tent factor. It was cold and slightly uncomfortable, but we do it every 4th of July and I love it. I have never been home for Independence Day. Ever. Although I would much rather tent it than go to "town" (Vernal) at night with some of the others to sleep in a cheap motel, living in a tent gets tiring after a few days. But I do love being in a place where there is no cell phone coverage (no land line either), very few clocks, no TV, no internet. Just grass, trees, wind, rocks, a painfully cold river, solar power, and dozens of cousins.
Directly from the ranch, my man and I left the punk with his grandparents and drove to Middle-Of-Nowhere, Wyoming to meet the teenagers of our stake for pioneer trek. (Tell me, is there anywhere in Wyoming that is not the middle of nowhere? No wonder why no one stopped there in the 1800s on their way to Utah, California, or Oregon!) Unlike the ranch, there were no showers on trek. No sinks, no tubs. Just Camelbaks with which to brush our teeth, and wet wipes for our faces. We walked an easy 6 miles around Martin's Cove on Wednesday, but on Thursday, we pulled our handcarts 14 miles on the Mormon Pioneer Trail, ending at Rock Creek Hollow. The LDS Church has an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management in Wyoming so we can do these treks with our youth; however, the agreement stipulates that we must stay on the designated trail, no matter what. This trail took us through about 7 large mud holes, some up to the waist, and we were not allowed to go around them. We even had two missionary guides on horseback who made sure we stayed on the path. Many people lost their shoes to the hungry muck. My man has quarter-size blisters on both feet. I have one smaller blister; it was pretty much impossible not to get one since we were all walking with wet socks and shoes that were filled with mud and rocks.
After this long hike, everyone was tired and filthy, but happy to have accomplished such a feat. We ate well and had a nice testimony meeting that night. In the morning, we packed up camp and headed home.
At a gas station on the way home, my man picked up two small fountain drinks for us: Diet Cokes. Yum! Now, it's not like I hadn't had any Diet Coke this week. Aunt Cindy had shared her stash at the ranch, and I had joined two other leaders in the back of a trailer for a "discreet" (read: secret) Diet Coke pow wow on the second day of trek. But for some reason, this Diet Coke with ice in a styrofoam cup tasted like love itself. I took a sip and sighed with pleasure. Although my legs were still caked with dried, cracked mud and my hair was a giant glob of grease and dust, I was satisfied.
So when my man reached for my cup because he had finished his, I screamed, "No! No! No! No! No!" and violently grabbed it out of his hands. I think I shocked the teenage boys in the back seat, who started laughing nervously, and I know I shocked my man. He looked at me like I was just a tiny bit crazy. About 60 seconds later, I started giggling. It took me that long to realize that yes, I was crazy indeed.