In the Rio Rancho Stake we held a trek to represent the treks pioneers made many years ago. We all had the opportunity to be dressed in the pioneer attire and feel like authentic pioneers ourselves. We had a total of 19 to 20 carts going through a trail which challenged us physically, mentally, and spiritually. We had to hike 14 miles in order to make it to our Zion (or in other words, base camp). There were so many points along the trail that challenged us, but there was never a point where we gave up on anyone.
The Spirit was so strong at the fireside on the last day that it was hard not to realize what all that the pioneers of old had to endure to give us what we have. I was able to learn so much from this experience, and I am forever grateful for those who traveled so many miles to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope I may be able to be an example to many of this generation and to future generations, as the pioneers of old are to this generation.
Alexa P., New Mexico
The Phoenix Arizona Stake has its own “Zion’s Camp” for the young men. They go up near Flagstaff and spend five days camping out and pulling handcarts up the side of a mountain. It teaches everyone some of what the original Zion’s camp was like and also what it was like to pull handcarts. The blessings come from lessons learned about teamwork and priesthood interaction.
Mike K., Arizona
Every four years my stake has a trek. We dress up in pioneer clothing and are only allowed to bring certain items with us. The whole experience is fun. When we did it this last July, the weather was great. Once we hiked to the valley, we had pioneer games and a hoedown with pioneer music and modern music. There was also a testimony meeting. People felt the Spirit, and their testimonies were strengthened. Bonds were forged with new people, and new friends were made. I’m glad we could celebrate Pioneer Day through trek.
Emily H., Washington
Our whole extended family gathers at my grandparents’ house in Idaho, in a very rural area. We take a drive to the nearby mountains, have a cookout, admire nature, and see things how the pioneers saw them. We also watch the parade from downtown Salt Lake City on television and have family time. I personally like to consider what life would have been like for the pioneers and admire their amazing faith and courage.
For the Days of ’47, my family and I went to Cascade Springs, a beautiful nature walk in Utah. We wanted to appreciate the beauty of the world and to be able to reflect on our heritage.
Every year I spend time with family, but I also try to remember what the pioneers went through so they could have religious freedom. They suffered a great deal, but in the end they came west and found freedom. [Settling in the desert] wasn’t all that great in the beginning, but it got better for them as time went by.