Monday, August 22, 2011

Pioneer Trek

Brett and I had the awesome opportunity to go with the youth from our church (age 14-18) on a pioneer reenactment.  Before Trek there was a lot to do to prepare.  I was able to make a couple of skirts, an apron and a bonnet for myself and we found some clothes that Brett could wear at Goodwill.  For his shirts, we cut off the collars.  These are the websites that I used for patterns on the things I made:

Beyond preparing our clothes, there was preparing spiritually for the Trek.  Neither Brett nor I have done much research on the pioneers, so we borrowed the book The Price We Paid by Andrew D. Olsen.  It is an incredible book that uses journal entries and historical facts to tell about the Willie and Martin Handcart pioneers.  The faith and courage they had to go through what they went through is amazing!  Brett loves using the word "conviction" when he talks about the pioneers.

On Wednesday night we met at the church to meet our "families".  We were assigned 8 "kids" to be in our family and we couldn't have asked for more awesome kids.  That night we just met as a family, got to know each other and had a little devotional.  Thursday morning we met up at the church again to drive an hour and a half north east to Riley Farms where we would be pulling our handcarts.
The "Bruschke" Family
Back Row: Colin O'Brien, Brett, Rachel, Andy Mortensen, Scott Beatie, Sam Applebee
Front Row: Trevor Edmund, Kenzie Forsgren, Jacob Clarke, Kaitlyn Frandsen, Maddie Roush

Riley Farms takes care of everything while you are there.  They provided the handcarts, food and even had many little skits throughout the weekend of historical event that took place in the life of our pioneer ancestors.

During the Trek they took the men away to the "Mormon Battalion" and the girls got to do what they called the "Women's Pull".  It was up a pretty gnarly hill, so two+ families of girls worked together to get the carts up.
Maddie in the back left, Kaitlyn, two in front of her, and Kenzie in front of her.  My mom is in the middle and Sam is right in front of her.  I am in the front right.

My mom (in the background) and Me

They also had us do a river crossing reenactment.  I can't imagine doing this in ice cold water in the middle of winter.

 But most memorable of all was "Testimony Hill".  I thought the hill of the women's pull was gnarly, but Testimony hill put it to shame.
This picture doesn't even begin to do justice to how steep and crazy long it was.  There were two sections to it, broken up so that you did 1/3 and then the last 2/3s.  I thought that I was in pretty good shape, but man were my legs tired by the end of that climb.
 Sam, Kaitlyn and Kenzie

Colin on the left a little behind the bush, Scott followed by Jacob on the right.

 Brett and my brother Michael

This picture shows the pure exhaustion that was felt during "testimony hill"

Yes, I felt it too!

I have a greater appreciation now than I ever have before for all that our ancestors went through.  They did it all for the gospel and to be with fellow saints.  I wish that everyone could experience, even for just a couple of days like we did, what they pioneers went through and the faith they had to endure such things.
 All the youth and leaders that were there, about 250 people (26 handcarts)


Megan Bruschke said...

WOW!!!!! Those pictures are incredible.....and your experience sounds amazing. I have always wanted to be a part of a trek...however, I am not sure how I would fare on those hills!
You two are fabulous! I am sure that the kids in your group were inspired by you and Brett! Way to go!

Megan Bruschke said...
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Sarah said...

You guys are amazing. Amazing pictures. You all looked so authentic! Great job, that looks like you guys had an awesome time.

Cynthia said...

Wow...what an amazing experience. Thanks for sharing! And those pictures are amazing.

Chelle said...

Oh my gosh...those are some crazy "hills"! Thanks for posting pics. I've heard so much about Trek, but now I feel like Iknow what people were talking about. Amazing to think what the pioneers went through.

Ali said...

What an experience! These pictures are AMAZING. Thanks or sharing them all and your story to go along with it. This looks super tough...but super testimony building as well.

The Trotter Family said...

You guys are brave! Those last two pictures are awesome by the way. So cool! You guys look authentic for sure.

Cami Bruschke said...

What an amazing opportunity - glad it turned out so well. Loved the pictures - looks so real! Craig e-mailed me the sepia picture of you and Brett a while back - I didn't know who it was at first.

Kari said...

Trek is still one of my favorite YW leader experiences. It was wonderful to get a taste of what the pioneers experienced and went through. It looks like you did have an awesome family. I love Brother Mortensen. Thanks for sharing all of the pictures.