Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Our Stake Youth Pioneer Trek

well Trek was definitely an experience. haha wow we were exhausted in every sense of the word. And I had dirt on my dirt that was on another layer of dirt... I hope I can get those pioneer clothes clean...Unfortunately, to be realistic we were not allowed to be bring anything battery powered including cameras or watches.

But besides the exertion and the dirt it was a great experience and we will remember it forever.

Pioneer Trek is a 3 day reenactment of the Latter-day Saint Pioneers' Trek across the nation to pursue religious freedom. They walked, pulling hand carts on average 20 miles a day. Two of these companies, Martin and Willie, had some devastating delays and ending up in the snow and ice of Wyoming during Winter. Although many died, most lived and they have passed on their faith and love of God to us, their decedents. We praise and love them for their examples and willingness to sacrifice for the religious freedoms we now enjoy today.

Stories from my Trek:
We had 8 kids, 4 girls and 4 boys ages 14-18. And they were wonderful. We walked 13 miles the first day pulling hand carts with nothing to eat. The second day about 1/2 that and the third day half again. They gave the kids food on the second and third days.

The walking combined with looking after 8 kids, cooking with dutch ovens over wood fires out in the open w/o a tent covering was what exhausted me.

Plus it was 'that time of the month' if you all know what I mean and geez that didn't help having to use the bathroom outside in the open.

This was my first trek but I am so glad I went. I learned so much and grew in character. I used to admire the pioneers for what they did. But now I think I understand them better than ever before.

I felt a small taste of what they went through. And I know that it was their faith and love of God and nothing else that kept them going. I know now what it feels like to trek 13 miles in one day in the blistering sun through deep sand and mud. I know how it feels to want to cry from exhaustion. And I also know how it feels to pray to God for strength and feel the power of the Spirit give you the energy, strength and will you need to keep going. It was the Spirit of God that kept many of the pioneers alive and moving when there was nothing else.

I watched strong teenage boys struggle in tears, girls collapse or throw up on the side of the road. I shouldered two of my 'daughters' holding them by the waist and pulling them along for almost 3 miles when they were too dizzy and exhausted to keep walking by themselves.

One of our 'daughters' threw up and had heat exhaustion on the first day. We pulled over to the side, as the handcarts passed, and I asked my other 'children' what they wanted to do? We could leave her with the EMT truck or carry her on the handcart. To my surprise and joy they lifted her onto the cart and we moved on. It seemed to me the next 3 miles was the deepest sand yet and I watched them struggle even harder with her on the handcart without complaining. (Unfortunately Ma's and Pa's were not allowed to help pull or push.)

At one point on our Trek, all the boys and men left to join the Mormon Battalion (historically at one point in their journey, the U.S. government who had denounced the Mormons, asked these very same people to come serve in the American-Mexican War; the prophet Brigham Young prophesied that not one Latter-day Saint man who served in the war would die in battle; his prophecy was realized).

After my husband and 4 sons left, I had my just my four girls left to pull a cart outfitted for 10 people, two of which were only fourteen and small. Our Trek leaders chose the hardest part of the course, through the deepest sand. At one point, I was again shouldering one of my girls while I urged the other three on. By themselves, those 3 smallest of my girls ages, two 14 and one 16, were pulling our handcart through ankle deep sand faster than the Mormon Battalion, across the way, was walking. The women's pull lasted over 200 yards.

The most touching experience for Dan was the moving of a tree. The leaders had cut a giant tree down and it was blocking the road on purpose- a make-shift obstacle to get us to unload our wagons, pick up the cart up and over the log and reload them again. All the boys and men were called to the front and all 60 or so of them pushed on the tree and it didn't budge. Then they discussed options of what they could do. The Trek leaders whispered to the adult men to not help push if they tried again, that way the children would be forced to unload and reload their carts and their make-shift obstacle plan would work...

One of the teen boys offered the option to pray for God's help to move the log so they could continue on with their journey. He prayed a simple prayer. And Dan said he thought to himself, 'this will be a great learning experience for the kids to have to unload and reload their wagons.' So he did what the Trek leaders had asked, and along with the other adult male leaders pulled/or hindered the pushing instead of helping. But even with all the adult men hindering the teens efforts, on the count of 3 the tree flew in one great lunge off the road and out of the way. It was moved by just the few teenage boys that were left and hadn't already gone back to their carts. There was no way they moved it alone. There were 60 before, then 1/2 that left and 1/2 of those left were adult men hindering the process.

God moved that tree and taught everyone, including the adult leaders that simple prayers are heard and miracles do not cease.

It was beautiful to watch these teens come to know God in their extremities and I know that they and I will never be the same again.


  1. that is such a neat experience! Wow. Thank you for sharing!!

  2. wow- great examples and stories- maybe you can get some pictures at some point. Hopefully from the 'Trek photographer' this will be a journal entry for sure! :)