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Local Youth Re-enact Historic Pioneer Trek

One of the most grueling parts of the trek was the "women's pull,” which re-created times when only women were available to pull the handcarts. From left are Amanda Walton, Kayleigh Hansen, Sommer Porter, Jordan Richardson, Sara Berrios, Emily Gore and Georgia Brisco.

One of the most grueling parts of the trek was the "women's pull,” which re-created times when only women were available to pull the handcarts. From left are Amanda Walton, Kayleigh Hansen, Sommer Porter, Jordan Richardson, Sara Berrios, Emily Gore and Georgia Brisco. Denise Beatty

— More than 200 teenagers and adult advisors from the Centreville Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — which includes Centreville, Manassas, Gainesville, Warrenton and surrounding areas — re-enacted the trek of 19th-century Mormon pioneers during a three-day youth conference, July 18-20, at the Marriott Ranch in Hume, Va.

Fifteen handcarts made up a train under the direction of “trail boss” Jerry Cooper. The youth, organized into “families” each with a “Ma” and “Pa,” assembled and pulled the handcarts over 12 miles. All supplies were carried on the carts and meals were prepared in the manner of the pioneers.

Activities during the trek included pioneer-era games, skills and crafts, plus evening devotionals, a hoedown, and opportunities for the youth to contemplate their relationship with and commitment to God.

Beginning in 1847 and continuing for more than two decades, approximately 70,000 Latter-day Saints — including 10 handcart companies — crossed the prairies to the Rocky Mountains, establishing settlements throughout the American west. The first company of pioneers reached the Salt Lake Valley, in what is now Utah, on July 24, 1847.

Between 1856-1860, about 3,000 pioneers made the journey by handcart. Bringing limited provisions and belongings, they pulled the carts 1,300 miles across the plains from Iowa City to Salt Lake City.