Sunday, July 24, 2011

Remembering the Pioneers

Between 1856 and 1860 ten handcart companies made the trek west, and eight companies made the journey without incident. On October 19th 1956, the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies were caught in a blizzard. More than 210 individuals would die before being rescued.

Sierra experienced Pioneer Trek for the first time back in North Carolina in 2008. It was the best life changing experience she has ever had in her life. She was 14 years old and I will always remember the day she returned home humbled and grateful that she endured the experience without any problems.

I remember all the preparation it took for her to be ready for this fun yet trying adventure. We both would go on walks, go to the gym and walk on the treadmill for about 20 minutes at least three times a week. As a family, we would read our scriptures daily, pray, fast, and after three months of serious preparation...she was ready to go on the trek. Although her experience was nothing compared to what our ancestors went through, she did mention to me how heavy it was pulling a handcart with her 'trek sisters' in 95+ degree weather.
Mormon Handcart- picture via google

One of her greatest memories was having a loving ma and pa and being in a family of ten. She is the oldest in our family of six so having two older brothers in her trek family made it all the more fun. She was grateful to have experienced having older siblings in her family.

One of her not so great memories, (although very appreciative) was eating cracked wheat or cream of wheat for breakfast. They were limited on resources for dinner so they had rice and some meat. There were no snacks during the trek. They made their trek experience as real as possible. Sierra enjoyed all the games they played while they stopped to rest. They played stick pull, had flour sack races, and made loops out of rope to play bean toss. It was interesting to hear about how they came up with ideas to entertain themselves throughout the trek.

I wanted to write about her trek experience in memory of what our ancestors went through. Sometimes we forget our heritage and as a member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I believe it's imperative in our lives to remember what they went through in detail, and to think of all the trials they went through in order for us to be here today. What makes me more appreciative is the fact that my husband's ancestors were part of the Willie and Martin handcart companies, and that makes our testimonies even stronger. I saw the growth in Sierra as she returned home to us with open arms giving us tight hugs, and was in tears because of what she learned about the pioneers during the trek.

I still see that growth in her today.

I am grateful that Sierra had this opportunity to experience Pioneer Trek before the move to New Jersey. Unfortunately, our stake here in New Jersey hasn't had the privilege in experiencing trek...yet. I hope that someday the youth in our stake will have that opportunity.

 I know it would be a life changing experience for all of them.

"Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No! Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company."
~Francis Webster

*Have you experienced pioneer trek?


  1. Wow! Loved your post. Found thru Pinterest. Preparing to be a Ma myself, this makes me want to put forth 10x the effort that I have. Thank you!

  2. Bridgette-Sorry for the late response! Good luck on your trek this summer! It truly is a life changing experience, and makes you appreciate all that the pioneers went through. My daughter came home with tears of appreciation. She is almost 17 now, and is sad that we don't have trek up her in Jersey. Oh well, maybe that'll change sometime in the future. Glad you enjoyed this post! Keep reading!

  3. Just found this through Pinterest. I'm also going to be a Ma this year on part of a trail running through Wyoming. This post gets me even more excited. :)

  4. So excited for you both! Hope y'all had a great experience! I sure wish we had a trek here in New Jersey. Haven't experienced one since North Carolina. Maybe that'll change soon. take care!