We're back from our Pioneer Trek 2018 and it was a blast!
If you're planning a Pioneer Handcart Trek, here are some brief thoughts on how to have a successful Trek experience.
Wear Pioneer clothing
It's a pain to make or purchase, but it's worth it.
Anything that helps pull you away from modern life makes the experience better.
You may not love your clothing, but seeing everyone else in period-costume transports you back in time. The other group we trekked with brought young children and purchased or made pioneer clothing for their kids.
Be practical when you dress. Hiking in a long skirt, especially uphill, is difficult. I had to roll my waistband to shorten my skirt or I'd have tripped going uphill/downhill with a loaded handcart. I should have sewn a shorter skirt, even though I prefer the look of the longer skirts. Second-hand stores usually sell cheap khaki slacks, cheap long-sleeved button down shirts, etc, all of which can be …
Every few years, almost as a rite of passage, LDS youth groups in the Mountain West go on Handcart Treks. This year we have two teenage boys so we're going with them as a Ma and Pa on "Trek".
My husband and I did this once before, 16 years ago, again, as adult leaders and it's "fun" in a sense. The kids enjoy it anyway. In 2002, we visited Martin's Cove, crossed the Sweetwater River, hiked Rocky Ridge, got caught at the top of Rocky Ridge in a lightning storm, and had such inclement weather we felt like we were getting a real taste of pioneer misery. It's funny to laugh at now - not so fun to endure.
All these Treks focus on the worst Pioneer experience: the last handcart companies who got a late start and needed to be rescued. My husband has three female ancestors from one of these tragic handcart companies.
I think I'm going to recommend reenacting some happier ancestral memories next year. Guess I'l…
A family history priority is gathering stories & records from family members while we still can.
This Thanksgiving my mother-in-law started talking about her ancestors from Norway. She's the oldest living relative on her side of the family and she was telling stories from her childhood no other living family would know or remember.
We panicked and asked for a Thanksgiving Day redo. After picking up her family albums, we asked her to tell us what she remembered about each photo and we recorded her stories, scanned the photos, and uploaded them to FamilySearch on their Memories page.
A great place to record and store family stories is FamilySearch. It's completely free and there's never a charge for storing photos, audio files, or stories. Even better, anyone who creates a free FamilySearch account can search the entire body of tagged photos/stories/documents, so it's an easy way to share with extended family (rather than using Dropbox, etc).
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