Sunday, July 1 – In the morning everyone is invited to attend meetings at the Colonia Juarez Ward. After lunch we will be treated with a private tour of the famous Juarez Academy where many of our ancestors (and possibly some of our group members) attended school. The old elementary school is a “must see” site. We might be able to go inside like we did last year. The remainder of the day will be free time to contact friends or relatives, see the temple, take photos, or visit nearby interesting sites. After dinner we will have a great fireside with guests who have lived in the colonies all of their lives.
Monday, July 2 – Off to the mountains we go. In route to Colonia Pacheco we will stop and visit a few very interesting sites. These sites will include The Springs, Hat Cave, Strawberry (also known as Questa Blanca), and Arch Flat. By early or mid afternoon we should arrive at the Jarvis Ranch in Coralles (very close to Pacheco). Our camp will be set up at the base of Temple Hill. In the evening we will have a campfire program where amazing stories will be shared.
Tuesday, July 3 – Many sites will be explored during the day. These will include Temple Hill, Colonia Pacheco, the Pacheco cemetery, and Cave Valley. In route to Cave Valley we will pass through the Stevens Ranch. While in Cave Valley we will be within a short drive of the Williams Ranch for those who are interested. In the evening we will have another campfire program for story telling and old fashioned entertainment.
Wednesday, July 4 – The first half of the day will be spent exploring any sites not already visited. These could include rare petroglyphs on Garcia Creek and the remains of nearby colonist homes. Also, we might enjoy a hunt for Indian artifacts and rocks (fire agates). After packing up we will head to Round Valley and Colonia Garcia. The road is a little rough, but the distance is only six or seven miles. We will explore this area for the remainder of the day. We will stay the night in Colonia Garcia.
Thursday, July 5 – During the morning we will finish exploring Colonia Garcia (including the cemetery) and Round Valley. We hope to spend some time trying to find the buried trunk of Alexander F. MacDonald. The trunk was buried by Elizabeth Atkinson MacDonald (one of A.F. MacDonald’s wives) when she left during the Exodus in 1912. In route to Colonia Juarez we will pass through Hop Valley which was also considered by many to be one of the colonies. We will also make a stop at an incredible place called The Moonscapes and Winding Stairs. We will spend the night in Colonia Juarez.
Friday, July 6 – Back to the United States (or home) we go. In route to the states we will stop for a brief visit in Colonia Diaz.
As of January 29 there are already about 15 people who have committed to or expressed an interest in going. Due to limited lodging and many other reasons the group size will need to be limited to 50 people. In 2005 there were 49 people who went, and in 2006 there were 43 people. Most of us in the group will have never met or known each other, and on the first day of the trip some of us will be strangers. By the end of the trip we will definitely be the best of friends. A full list of who is going will be provided to those who are actually going on the trip. Visiting the colonies in the company of great people representing many different families is an amazing historical treat. You will probably hear stories about your own ancestors that are not found in any of your family histories. This is really the very best way to visit the colonies in Mexico. You will probably return home suffering from HIO (Historical Information Overload).