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Paula
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« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2009, 08:52:27 AM »

Linda- Heidi will be along in a while to give some more details about her plans but her trek will be "roughing it".  Her plan is to do the trip as accurately as she can (although there will have to be some adjustments made because of sanitary regulations.)

Muriel- The man with the wheelbarrow was from the ]Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey By the way thanks for recommending the Diaries, Janet they are amazing.
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Janet Wragge
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« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2009, 08:56:38 AM »

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I'd like to do something like the many roughing it style events like Marmaduke's Raid/Piney Woods with no modern support, or at least very minimal modern backup, but it stays out of view the whole time.  These are just my thoughts, I know others mileage will vary.  

The main support you'd need out here would be water and feed for the animals.  I wouldn't drink the water running through here even with the purification tablets we used at IPW.  And there's just not enough reliable good feed for the animals.  There are even spots where the water isn't enough for the animals.  You would want at least one wagon- that's why I think about the animals.  They got around that at IPW by dropping it off a appointed places - the military knew where they'd be camping.  That would be the same here.  There are only certain places you're allowed to camp.   I have some pictures of the Martin's Cove area when we went through - if I ever get around to it, I'll post them today.  It gives you an idea of the terrain you're dealing with.

The South Pass area is another place to consider.  I can't remember which company made it that far, I think the Willie company, and there's enough space to wander around there forever.  We did 40 miles there and I never felt like we went anywhere, but you'll definately feel it.  Sandy soil, lots of hills, high altitude - all you could hope for in a grueling adventure.   Wink  I'll post pictures from there, too.  I guess I'll unhook the loud speaker off my RV - I was already making plans for you......   Roll Eyes

Janet
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Janet Wragge
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« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2009, 09:09:34 AM »

Okay - here we go...there are highways within a short drive of both spots, but you don't notice.  There are fences, gates and power lines in some places.  For the most part, these areas of the trails are pretty amazing. 

The long stretch to Independence Rock....sandy, hilly and full of stickers! 
http://i526.photobucket.com/albums/cc345/emmabilgewater/toIndependenceRock.jpg

The area around Martin's Cove.....it's the greenest I'd seen it in years and years:
http://i526.photobucket.com/albums/cc345/emmabilgewater/handcartterrain.jpg

One of the days at South Pass.....one of the few flat spots:
http://i526.photobucket.com/albums/cc345/emmabilgewater/dress.jpg

More pictures here - general junk, most of them in Wyoming....  http://s526.photobucket.com/albums/cc345/emmabilgewater/?action=view&current=handcartterrain.jpg

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Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey By the way thanks for recommending the Diaries, Janet they are amazing.
You're welcome!  I LOVE those books!!!  Cheesy

Janet
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Joanna Jones
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« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2009, 10:40:37 AM »

Oh, Janet - the picture of the two wagons and the clouds lit by the setting sun - amazing!!!!!!!

I have an admiration for those folks, and I even would like to do some of Heidi's trip if she will have part-timers, but I would have had no desire to make the trip for real.  In fact, my persona is usually one of a woman who has been dragged to Minnesota unwillingly by her husband and who longs for home in Ohio.

Linda - here is the blog Heidi has been keeping about her efforts:
Her vision - http://www.justastough.com/?page_id=96
the people she is looking for - http://www.justastough.com/?page_id=30
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Elizabeth
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« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2009, 10:57:16 AM »

Another location (fairly close to home for me) that a lot of church groups use for three-day, 40-some-odd mile handcart trips is Montpelier ID... the kids from our side of town are doing a trek this summer (I'm headed to the planning meeting this weekend, to consult on clothes that won't kill people, and have at least a flavor of history), and will be going over some great terrain (flats, hills, river bottoms).

Doing a 3-4 day trek in, say, 2010 is not impossible. Sounds pretty cool to me, and I'd love to help organize one. Let me get more information from the group going this summer (I know the organizers here), and see what they're doing for carts and support, etc.  Montpelier is pretty close to the folks with wagons and draft animals in SLC, too--it's north of Fort Bridger.

I'm still keen on doing Mormons at the Fort during that short period when the LDS owned it, before they burned it down to stop Johnson's advancing army... but with the growth around Bridger, it's not going to be a semi-pristine spot to "emigrate in"--that would be a different event altogether, of a rest layover and resupply at the Fort. At exorbitant prices. Smiley


I think the most heart-wrenching story of the Willey-Martin companies is one from the rescue... a little girl wrote about it in later years, that she was so weak and cold, and a young man on a horse asked if she wanted to ride up with him (she was down to rags instead of shoes). She said he caught her by the arm, and then pushed his horse to a fast walk, making her run beside him and not turning loose of her arm.

She wrote that she thought him the cruelest man in the world... but later understood he was trying to get her body to warm up a bit before tucking her in front of him, and wrapping her up in his coat. Had he not done it, she could have frozen to death riding. She did survive, and eventually forgave him. Smiley  I can't imagine how hard it was for that teenage boy to hold onto the arm of a starving, freezing little girl, her begging him to let go, let go, and knowing that if he did not force her to run for just a few moments, she would die in his arms--but that he couldn't explain that in the moment.

The story of the rescue is an amazing one... that women and girls in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake went to the back of the room and immediately divested themselves of their winter petticoats, and shawls, and hoods, and men left church to hitch teams... the whole rescue effort moved out in less than 24 hours, and how the rescue party finally came across the emigrants is nothing short of tear-jerking.
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« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2009, 11:17:21 AM »

Sheesh, Elizabeth, you're making me sob just sitting here.  Thanks a lot.  Now I have to sniffle it up and go teach piano lessons.....

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Linda Trent
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« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2009, 11:53:37 AM »

Joanna, thanks for the link!

Another location...  three-day, 40-some-odd mile handcart trips is Montpelier ID and will be going over some great terrain (flats, hills, river bottoms).

Cool!  That works too! What I'm finding incredible is the distances that they traveled back then while pushing a handcart through all kinds of weather and terrain.  But that's about the kind of distance that I'd like to do.  I might be biting off more than I can chew, but after what they experienced I can't imagine not trying it.  Yeah I'll be stiff and sore, but at least I'm starting out fit and healthy.

Quote
Doing a 3-4 day trek in, say, 2010 is not impossible. Sounds pretty cool to me, and I'd love to help organize one.


Yea! 

Quote
I'm still keen on doing Mormons at the Fort during that short period when the LDS owned it,


We can maybe do that, too?   Dunno, just some thoughts.

How sad about the poor little girl, but at least she lived to tell the story.  The early Exodus from Missouri followed by the immigrants crossing the plains have got to be some of the most touching and trying times in the church's history.  I just think it would be awesome to try the experience and see if I'm one of those who would have survived the journey, turned back, or died.  Cry

But definately, anyone who wants to organize something like this let's do it!

Linda.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2009, 11:58:52 AM by Linda Trent » Logged

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Janet Wragge
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« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2009, 12:29:00 PM »

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40-some-odd mile handcart trips is Montpelier ID
Oooooo, and that is some seriously beautiful country!!!  And a bit rough!  Liz, is that Becky (runs the trails center there) and Monty that you know over there?  They have wagons and horses as well - they lead a lot of the various wagon train things through there.  They did the Bozeman Trail recreation back whenever it was done, so they know how to do long distances.  The trails center there is amazing, too, I think it's better than the one in Casper and Baker City - I just fell in love with it.

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Doing a 3-4 day trek in, say, 2010 is not impossible. Sounds pretty cool to me, and I'd love to help organize one
I'll play if you don't mind people that aren't LDS.  I can portray someone in a parallel wagon train/party that's curious about you handcart folks and why on earth you'd be doing such a thing.  Wink That's just a 7 - 8 hour drive for me.  Becky talked to Kim Merchant (my friend with wagon and team) and me about coming over to do stuff - I just need a reason to go. 

Janet
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hanktrent
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« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2009, 01:07:44 PM »

The main support you'd need out here would be water and feed for the animals.

That's something I've been curious about. You see period images of wagons traveling through almost barren land. How did they get enough grazing in the period? Obviously, sometimes they didn't and livestock died, but enough must have gotten through.

For human water, I wonder if some of the period food weight could be substituted for with water. In other words, instead of carrying enough food for a month, carry water and just enough food for three days.

The wagon would have some extra capacity as well. Compared to the ratio I posted above of five wagons to 120 handcarts, we sure wouldn't have 24 handcarts for one wagon, so the wagon might have to carry less proportionate weight of extra food and tents, and have more room for water or some of their own livestock feed. I don't think they could carry everything for their livestock for three days, though.

And I'd like to have an idea what happens when there's a break-down. How do they normally handle that for trail events?

Like, for example, somebody's wagon/cart breaks down and they can't get to the pre-positioned food and water. Do they just quit and call in modern support to leave? Is food and water ferried back so everyone stops and camps with them, still in period, till it's either repaired or the event ends? Is food and water brought to them, but everyone else goes on and they camp in place, still period, "waiting for another wagon to come along" until the end of the event? Or is a breakdown (even without a health emergency) generally considered a signal to switch to modern mode?

Personally, an outcome I'd definitely want to avoid is the period event "ending" in the middle just because things were breaking down and everybody got tired of it, since that to me would be the whole point of reenacting a handcart trek. It didn't always go well, but people coped, in this particular case by using a fair amount of religious faith. Barring a true health emergency, I'd want that experience of persevering or making the best of it, even if it meant camping for the last two days, still in period, beside a hopelessly broken down cart or wagon.

Hank Trent
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Linda Trent
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« Reply #29 on: April 14, 2009, 01:45:53 PM »

The main support you'd need out here would be water and feed for the animals.  I wouldn't drink the water running through here even with the purification tablets we used at IPW.  And there's just not enough reliable good feed for the animals.  There are even spots where the water isn't enough for the animals.  You would want at least one wagon- that's why I think about the animals.

Ideally we'd have hundreds of people accompanying us on the journey, so we have to imagine that they're back there somewhere, or possibly ahead?  Perhaps we're like the poor immigrant whose handcart broke down...  He stayed behind hoping someone would turn back and help him, but no one did. He was rescued by another group coming by the next day.  http://www.webster-family.org/martinhandcart/

I picture this event as relatively small.  As Hank mentioned since we're not traveling as long or as far we can pack up our handcarts with food, water, and any other necessities .  We could also eliminate the need for a wagon and team which would eliminate a lot of hassle and modern annoyances.  Not sure what to do about the sanitary situation, but I'm sure something can be worked out.  I'm assuming that we can't just dig cat-holes and bury it?  We can use a ground cloth or something similar and rig up some sort of privacy screen for the bathroom.  Roll Eyes

I don't know, just some thoughts.  That's what we do at our eastern events, and in our modern day backpacking in the national forests. 

Linda.
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Muriel Carbiener
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« Reply #30 on: April 14, 2009, 04:24:07 PM »

Janet's pictures --  Wyoming can be green.  Shocked   In my 4 trips through that area it was August, and there was no green.  The film crew of course was able to get off road, which is really great.  I've only been off road in the South Pass area.   I wish I were young enough to a least spend a day with this potential re-enactment, but that won't work anymore.

Muriel
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Paula
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« Reply #31 on: April 14, 2009, 06:43:07 PM »

Hank-
Just throwing out an idea.

 

And I'd like to have an idea what happens when there's a break-down. How do they normally handle that for trail events?

Like, for example, somebody's wagon/cart breaks down and they can't get to the pre-positioned food and water. Do they just quit and call in modern support to leave? Is food and water ferried back so everyone stops and camps with them, still in period, till it's either repaired or the event ends? Is food and water brought to them, but everyone else goes on and they camp in place, still period, "waiting for another wagon to come along" until the end of the event? Or is a breakdown (even without a health emergency) generally considered a signal to switch to modern mode?

I'll pre-emble this to say that the "Trek" I participated was most definietly not true period and consisted of a group of about 120-140 teenagers ages 14-18, two adults (Ma and PA) per 15 "kids," a company leader and several captains over groups of twenty and fifty people and a whole bucket load of support personal we never saw.

They way they handled problems, injuries especially, was as follows.  They injured person was carried in a "period" way ( stretcher built of wooden poles and blankets, two man "chair" etc.) to a point removed from the rest of the participants.  This was done by support personal dressed to blend in with the rest of the participants.  Since we were in the mountains of PA this didn't take too long since trees and turns in the trail permitted you to get out of sight and sound rather quickly.  The injured person was then transported by ATV to a point where emergency personal could transport them to the nearest medical facility.

My particular family got to the point where we no longer had enough people left in the "family" to physically make it into camp.  At this point we unloaded our personal belongs (clothes and bedrolls) and continued to hike without our handcart.  (It was picked up later by the unseen support staff)  The next morning we joined another family who had (casualties and continued the rest of the trip with them.)

There was one exception to us never seeing the support staff.  It was about two in the morning and we still had not made it into base camp.  We were the only 14 people left on the trail and had about a 1/2 mile yet to go.  At about that time a mama bear and her cubs were spotted on the trail and they did send a ATV down to warn us and to let us know what to do if we ran into "Mama" before we made it in.  Shocked

Not sure how much of this would apply in a truly period trek, but thought that it might spark some other ideas.
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Heidi Hollister
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« Reply #32 on: April 14, 2009, 09:51:19 PM »

Ok here I am.  Smiley Yes, I'm planning an all out Oregon Trail trip.  I'm envisioning a first person re-enactment of a trip across the trail in 1846.  It may change as realities set in, but that's where it is right now.  I am going to work things out so that serious short term people can join the trip.  (And I know anyone from this forum would be)  I wrote on my blog that you have to be able to do 6 months because I don't want to get a bunch of cooler-toting, sneaker-wearing, joy-riders.  I'm trying to work out a policy for short term people, so for anyone out there who really wants to do it, but not the whole thing, I'm working on it.

My trip may possibly  have the video cameras in our faces. Sad  Not my desire, but it may be a necessity in order to make this trip a reality.  I'm going to propose this trip to the History channel and a few TV channels to see if they'll sponsor us.  I'd like to limit their access to our group to a few weeks out of the 6 months, but I don't know what the realities are yet.  Still, I'm hoping to not have them there ALL the time because I want trail time that is as real as it gets.  I want to feel the emptiness and the hugeness of everything.  You can't get that with a camera in your face.

I am going to do a short 2 day trail trip in August in Baker City, Oregon, just to wet my feet a little, if anyone wants to do that one, its August 15-16 and IIRC it is free.
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Ms. Jean
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« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2009, 04:12:21 AM »

I still wanna be on the Support list on the eastern end!  I can deliver short-termers to the airport after the first week???

(Holding First Aid & CPR cards & Missouri Highway Patrol background check, too.)

Jean
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Joanna Jones
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« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2009, 04:57:09 AM »

Jean - why is it important to mention that you have First Aid, CPR, and a background check?  Do you know something about this journey that we don't ?? ??  Grin
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hanktrent
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« Reply #35 on: April 15, 2009, 09:32:36 AM »

My particular family got to the point where we no longer had enough people left in the "family" to physically make it into camp.  At this point we unloaded our personal belongs (clothes and bedrolls) and continued to hike without our handcart.  (It was picked up later by the unseen support staff)  The next morning we joined another family who had (casualties and continued the rest of the trip with them.)

That's more my concern, than people being removed with injuries. Honestly, I'm not going to complain that I saw a modern backboard and ATV, when somebody was being transported out at risk of a spinal injury.  Roll Eyes

This kind of an event is more of a group-dependent and mechanical-dependent thing, since one person can't push a handcart alone, and five people can't do much with a handcart whose tire came off and whose wheel disassembled itself, for example.

I'd hate to spend hundreds of dollars for travel, and weeks of preparation, just to see my time in the 1850s cut short even if I could still continue mentally and/or physically. What you suggested sounds like an excellent way to deal with it, and allow those who want to continue in the event to do so. The other option to continue after an unrepairable breakdown would be to camp in place but still continue period, but what if no one else wants to stay period?

I just am really really tired of events where I'm the only one who wants to continue in the period, i.e. everyone else is there but has switched to talking about modern stuff, ignoring me who's still portraying someone in the 1860s. It's one reason I don't do military much; you're assigned to your place and too bad if those around you all switch to modern mode despite the event rules. I don't care whether I'm moving or camping in place, I just want some company in the 1850s, because Linda and I could camp in our backyard or hike in the woods around here, alone or with other modern people, if we just wanted to do that.

Hank Trent
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Heidi Hollister
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« Reply #36 on: April 15, 2009, 10:16:00 AM »

Preach it Hank!  Smiley  I love trying to get the WHOLE experience if I can.  I got into the hobby not to be modern but experience life as it might have been even if it's just for a little while.  Sometimes I have to realize that other people aren't as committed to that.  It gets kinda lonely when you're all by yourself in time.

Jean!  Yes!  I've got you on the list for support staff!  I tell you, the unseen support staff is going to be the biggest thing to keep everything running, so we love people who want to be support!  Airport runs, camp clean up and emergency co-ordination is going to be a huge part of the support crew's work. 

Maybe it'd be interesting if we had a handcart company nearby for the time that the Mormon Trail and the Oregon Trail parallel each other...  That'd be kind of cool.
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Paula
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« Reply #37 on: April 15, 2009, 10:19:35 AM »

Hank-- I think your point is a great one.  I would image that it is  hard to come to an event prepared for one thing and then to get something different halfway through.

 I say image because other than the one Trek experience when I was 14, I haven't participated in any events...yet.  That being said the idea of staying "in 1850" for a weekend/week long/month long event is a little intimidating to a newbie (although highly fascinating and what I hope to accomplish someday).  It is especially overwhelming to someone with children even if they are older.

It's NOT because I am unwilling but because I lack the practice and experience.  Any pointers for someone who wants to participate but is not sure how to be "period?"
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Linda Trent
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« Reply #38 on: April 15, 2009, 12:02:19 PM »

It's NOT because I am unwilling but because I lack the practice and experience.  Any pointers for someone who wants to participate but is not sure how to be "period?"

The eastern events (and I'm including Marmaduke's Raid since it's east of Wyoming) that I've attended have either a yahoo or google groups list.  These lists give background information, census information, rules and guidelines, recommended reading, and all sorts of things that would be necessary to help to create characters. Of course this helps both the newcomers and the oldtimers.  These lists are also for participants to ask questions about how-tos, whys, wherefores, etc.

There are websites that help with the developing of characters such as an event that I put on several years ago -- Struggle for Statehood.  http://struggleforstatehood.homestead.com/SandBC.html  This includes an article I wrote back in 1991 for the Camp Chase Gazette, and I still stand by it 18 years later.  There's also a character development sheet with a few questions that people can think about, though it can get as deep as each individual wants, a few other things, and then a more advanced article.

There are a few links that are no longer available, like the one to Vickie Rumble's First Person Development sheet, and a discussion on Szabo's forum.  I really wish I had saved the latter discussion as it was very interesting.

But the point is, there are people all around who are willing to work with first timers. 

I remember October '62 when a lady was supposed to fall in with another group of civilians.  It was her very first event and she arrived on site with her husband (cavalry).  Ironically the entire other group of civilians were no-shows and didn't inform anyone.  The organizer walked up to Hank and me and asked if she could fall in with us.  The poor girl.  Shocked  She had about 10-20 minutes of debriefing on our scenario and then the event went live.  She wound up portraying a rather shy lady and didn't say much at first.  But as the event went on she came more and more out of her shell.  As it wound up the cavalry left Saturday night and that meant she had to leave too, but she did an excellent job and still contacts me from time to time wondering about other similar events.

The point is, everyone helps each other to get ready for these kind of events, and when everyone stays in character it's much easier for those first timers to stay in as well.  It just comes naturally.  I think you'd be surprised how well you could do.  Grin

Just my two cents worth,

Linda.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2009, 12:05:24 PM by Linda Trent » Logged

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« Reply #39 on: April 20, 2009, 03:33:15 PM »

Janet, I've not met the folks from Montpelier yet, but I do have a raft of locals here who've organized multiple youth treks in that general area (they're using the Chesterfield area this summer), who may have some good information... I'd be grateful of contact information for the Montpelier folks, if you have it (PM me or email me).

I'd be VERY keen on mentoring beforehand so we could be 'live' for the whole endeavor, without a backstage. If someone really needs to think modern thoughts, they can wander 100 yards off the trail and do it over there. Smiley  I can also definitely see a place for those wanting to try the handcart event without having to know the LDS side of things (as that's a lot of learning, even for those who are modern LDS!)... while handcart travel is a pretty distinctly LDS situation, the trail experience is not, and could be wide open for those who don't really want to pretend to be 1850s LDS for the duration (my husband included).

I'll add a huge ditto to the comments about it being so much easier to maintain first-person interactions when everyone around you is doing the same.  Makes a HUGE difference.
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