18 October 2009

Pioneer Trek

Ok so this past weekend my Stake
(A bunch of Mormon wards together)
did their 2nd Pioneer trek.
They did one 4 years ago
and I went on it as one of the youth dressed as a pioneer,
pulling a handcart,
walking 26 miles over 3 days.
This time I was on the other side.
The background,
cooking for them, videoing their journey,
and reliving every moment with them that I had experienced.

It was an intense weekend.
I was supposed to walk the trail with them again with my dad to help video everything.
My ankle apparently wasn't ready for such an ordeal.
And I pulled something in my other leg as well
so after hiking about 10 miles the first day
(out of 13)
I wasn't able to walk it like I wanted to.
I was so sad
(still am in fact)
but it all worked out cuz I worked in the kitchen,
drove the car when needed,
and helped my mom with stuff.

Now for those of you that don't exactly know what a trek means
let me tell you.

You start with 200 youth dressed as pioneers of old.

Give them a "Ma and Pa"
and divide them into families.

Then they assemble the 150-pound handcarts they will be pulling and pushing over 26 miles
of rock and dirt uphill and downhill.

Give them a "pep-talk" speech and send them on their way.
The youth were divided into 3 companies,
and 20 families.
Each family consisted of 10-11 people
including Ma and Pa.
The handcarts eventually weighed around 800 pounds with all the gear,
water, food, and supplies they had brought with them.

The first day is by far the hardest.
There is a place called "Rocky Ridge"
well, it's called that for a reason.
Steep rocky inclines that are tricky and require everyone to help out.

But they did it!
These kids proved their mettle and toughness on this journey.
I was so proud of them.

My brother was a participant on this trek,
(the youngest. My other younger brother and I went on the last one)
so I was even more touched when I saw him trudging along
step by step, holding the baby (doll) his family had been entrusted with.
He had a determined look on his face of
"Just gotta keep walking. One foot in front of the other."
My mom and I had watched this from the trees and cried with joy
and sadness that we couldn't go help him.

When the kids arrived in "Salt Lake City" on the third day,
after having to bury the babies alongside the trail like our pioneer ancestors,
many tears were shed as they saw all of the staff there to greet them and welcome them to Zion.
(We also had a feast ready for them for which they were very excited)
After the first company came in,
some of the kids went back out to greet the other companies as they came.
One of the sweetest girls in my home ward went and threw herself on another sweet girl in our ward when she saw her coming.
They cried and hugged and said "We did it!"
It touched me to the core because I remembered feeling like they did.
Feeling that it was finally over and that I had made it,
that I had done the 26 miles and lived through it.

One of the most prominent trials these kids went through
was when the boys are called away to the Mormon Battalion
to help fight in the war against Mexico
and the girls are left to themselves to push the handcarts up a hill.
The strength of these girls was incredible.
As they try to push these 800 pound carts by themselves,
(usually only 4-5 girls per cart)
the boys watch from the cliffs and their hearts wrench
as one girl starts to scream and cry for water.
They didn't think it would be so hard for them to do,
not because they thought they were weak,
they just didn't think it would be but it was.

About halfway through this Womens Pull,
angels appear dressed in white to help the women pull the handcarts up the hill.
(There is a story in our church's history where the women said that they knew angels were helping them push and pull. They couldn't have made it otherwise)
I remember this as the most touching, the hardest,
and the most humbling experience of my life so far.
When I was the one pulling the handcart with my "sister",
all I remember was that at one moment I was in the yoke pulling and the next
I was walking alongside the cart and an angel said to me
"Don't worry, I got this for you"
and I cried like a baby with gratitude and thanked my Heavenly Father for that wonderful man.

As I listened to the girls talk about their experience this time on the Pull
and the same sentiments were heard.
When I saw one of the girls from my ward, she came over to me, hugged me, and said
"That was so hard. But I did it. Now I know I can do hard things."

This was the coolest thing for me to be able to do and be a part of.
I was so glad that I was asked to help out
and I'm glad I went.
If you ever get the chance to either go and participate
or to help behind-the-scenes,
Do it.
It's so worth it to see these youth achieve this and learn that
They Can Do Hard Things.

We were also featured in the AZ Republic here's the link:
http://www.azcentral.com/community/mesa/articles/2009/10/16/20091016pushcart1016.html

2 comments:

  1. That reminded me of so many things I had forgotten about the trek I went on. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. That's awesome! :D I'm glad you got to experience it (kind of) again. It reminded me of my trek... I wish I had gotten to experience the angels. We had them, but none of them came and helped my handcart. :( It's an amazing experience, though.

    ReplyDelete

Welcome to our adventure!