Eagle Idaho Stake

Pioneer Youth Handcart Trek 2014

June 26, 2014 - Day 1

Our day started meeting at the stake center bright and early with a brief meeting to send us off in fine fashion. We attentively listened to our leader's inspirational messages, music and some last instructions. We then loaded the school buses for the trail head. Imagine, if you will, the logistics of getting 326 youth, 42 sets of "Ma's and Pa's," Company leaders, buckets, equipment, supplies, food, cooking and equipment support people, porta-potties, water, and more to the same place at the same time. The number of people involved on this trek is nearly 500. Organized chaos!

We found our handcarts, loaded our buckets and gear, had a family picture taken, and off we went! Before long, we encountered Levi Savage, who truly thought we were crazy to start this journey. Despite his misgivings, he agreed to come along to help and assist where he could. To our surprise, we also encountered a strange, yet somehow familiar, group of Indians on the trail who tried to help themselves to our food and gear. We thankfully circled the wagons and escaped unharmed with all our belongings intact.

After a delicious lunch on the trail, we continued on our journey. After much walking, talking, pushing, pulling, and sweating, we arrived at our first camp site becoming intimately acquainted with our new friend, our handcart. The best part is bonding with our new family. Nothing like working hard and being together to build relationships!

A welcome dinner was waiting for us by our wonderful cooks. Our evening was spent enjoying "Frontier Night" where we had different stations we could try new things in pioneer style.

Dancing was next! You would think that after walking and pushing a hand cart for several miles we would be too tired. Not so! We all participated and had a wonderful time! To our amazement, there was not only square dancing music, but also dance music from the future -- the year 2014? How is that possible? We have amazing leaders!

Family time came next as we met to discuss our day, what we learned and experienced, scriptures and testimonies shared, prayer and welcome rest. We look forward to what tomorrow will bring!

June 27, 2014 - Day 2

What a day! As we were getting out of our tents this morning, a mob of scary looking men invaded our camp and forced us to leave. We gathered everything as quickly as we could and left. On empty stomachs, we started on the trail. After an hour, we gratefully discovered the chow crew had prepared a fantastic breakfast just waiting for us.

We covered a lot of ground today. Along the way, we encountered a small group of 49ers headed to California. They tried to allure us to join them in search of gold and riches. Despite their persistence, we choose to follow the trail to Zion.

After lunch on the trail, the United States military found our company with a request to form a battalion of all our men. It was agreed and all the men left leaving the women to pull the handcarts. What an experience! The men watched as the women toiled. We all learned so much!

We finally made it to our camp site where we had dinner and some free time. We then heard an inspiring message from our company commander, President Stafford. Snacks and family time followed. What a great day!

June 28, 2014 - Day 3

This morning after another fabulous breakfast, we heard a wonderful message from Sister Linda S. Reeves, 2nd counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency. We are so thankful for great leaders!

We then gathered all together for one very large company group picture. We love our company!

The trail this morning was the toughest we have encountered yet. We had to help each other get all the families on top of our "Rocky Ridge." After lunch and a little rest, we trekked on to a glimpse of civilization at the Trading Post.

Back on the trail! Brigham Young visited us along the way with a encouraging message that our destination to the valley was close. Then to our surprise, the Pony Express arrived with letters from home. We had some solo time to read and reflect on our most welcome mail and our trek experience.

We are so grateful for all the hard work and efforts of all our leaders for this amazing experience.

We love our trek family. We are so excited to share with you the details and wonder of this trek! Our hearts have been touched and our testimonies strengthened as we have come to love and appreciate our pioneer heritage.