There were over 70,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that made their way west starting in 1856. The first wagon train entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24th, 1847. Later, there were several members of the church that came all the way from England and other places in western Europe. It was an expensive journey so the leaders were inspired to provide a less expensive way to make the overland journey. Instead of using oxen and wagons they started building mini-wagons, or handcarts, and using people power, they were able to get to Salt Lake City using fewer resources. They did, however, need to walk every step of the 1,300 miles!
Our journey started in January. It was announced that the youth would be participating in a "trek" this year at Martin's Cove and there was a need for adult volunteers to be "Ma & Pa" over small groups of kids. Only the youth between the ages of 14-18 are allowed to participate. All three of our boys happen to fall between those ages. Jim and I had the opportunity to trek at that sacred place about nine years ago so when I heard the announcement I immediately thought, "Wow! Our whole family can all go on trek together!" Later I found out that Jim's first thought was, "Wow! All three of the boys will be gone on the same weekend! I wonder what Aimee and I will do?" It didn't take much to talk Jim into going.
We went through our "Ma & Pa" training. We started purchasing any equipment we were in need of. I made myself an authentic pioneer dress, apron and bonnet. About a week before it was time to leave we started gathering our equipment. Everyone was allowed to pack 17lbs. of clothing and personal items (not including bedding and tents) that would be pulled on out handcarts. I taped the checklists to the wall and put each of our buckets under the lists. Because we were "Ma & Pa", Jim and I were allowed/required to pack more gear. There were things we would need to help our "family" along the way.
Even during the clean up process...