The Walking Begins

In the brightest part of the afternoon, I told my kids to put on their walking shoes. We were headed for a park a mile away. One mile there, one mile back, with probable running around the park in the middle. It was the first walking event of the many that I expect to require this spring. We all need to be walking more, because in July our family will be going on a Pioneer Trek. We’ll spend four days dressed as Mormon pioneers, learning history, walking, and pulling a handcart full of our gear. I expect it to be a fascinating experience. At least it will be if we’re all in good enough physical shape that it isn’t miserable.

Pioneer stories are often told in my church. They feature large in our history as the early Mormons were often not welcomed in previously settled communities. They had to migrate en masse more than once until they went so far out west that they settled in Utah. Outfitting covered wagons and ox teams was very expensive. Over the twenty years that Mormons traveled across the plains to Utah, they found very efficient ways to get people and their belongings across. One of these methods were the handcart companies. These groups pulled two wheeled carts across a 1300 miles. They were devoted people who believed they were called of God to walk to a promised land. Three thousand people came to Utah pulling handcarts. The stories of these people are stories of courage, faith, endurance, sacrifice, tragedy, and pain. Those last items get an unfortunate amount of emphasis in the stories that are told at church. I often tune out when someone begins to tell a pioneer story because I know that the teller will attempt to yank on my heart strings.

We’ll be going on this Pioneer Trek with all the youth in our ward ages 12-18. The event is primarily for the youth, structured to teach them about church history and that they can survive hard things. Howard and I will be there as adult chaperones. We’ll be the Ma and Pa for a group of teenagers. Our kids will all be along for the experience, which is why we were asked to go. This is likely the only chance that clan Tayler will have to take a trip like this together. It will be something we won’t forget. It is already beginning to be. I had a reason to haul my kids out into the early spring air and make them walk to a park with me. Walking together led to talking with each other. It was all good. Next week we’ll walk to a different park.