Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hand Cart Trek (minus the hand cart)

Last Wednesday on our p-day, I decided to walk on the trail for the hand cart treks. They have either a 1,2, or 3 mile route, and of course I choose the 3 mile one! It was a beautiful day. We have had a cool front move into Nauvoo the last week so the temperature was probably in the high 70's. I don't think I could have done it in the 90 + degree temperature we have had, and about 90 % humidity. In fact, they even close the trek if the temperature gets 95! Anyway, it was a beautiful hike, BUT I didn't have a hand cart, AND I wasn't doing it in a foot or two of snow with not enough clothing or shoes to keep me warm, AND I didn't go 15 to 20 miles which is what they did day after day after day!! It would be a fun thing to do as a family if you come to Nauvoo, though. You do get a little feeling of what it must have been like. You cross several rivers (actually just streams) and go up and down a lot of hills which with a hand cart would have been hard. Luckily when I went, it was not muddy, but you could see the deep ruts in the trail made by the hand carts when it had been. There are signs all along the way telling you when you are along the trail- like Council Bluffs, Winter Quarters, Devils Gate, The Great Divide etc. etc. There are also signs with quotes from the original hand cart pioneers, and even stories laminated and put in plastic tubes hanging from the trees that you could take out and read all along the way. This made it a very spiritual hike.

Some of the Nauvoo Brass Band Missionaries taking the trek. I passed them at the very first and for the rest of the time was all alone.

Some of the signs along the way. Click on them to make them larger if you want to read them.
Many of them were so sad. It really made me realize again that my trials are nothing compared to what they endured. I don't know how they did it!

Some of the scenery along the way.

There were SO MANY little frogs at the edge of this pond. I wondered if the pioneers caught and ate frogs :)

Can you see the orange tubes hanging from the trees? This is how the trail was marked, but several times I couldn't see the next orange tube so did NOT know which way to go! I don't know if they do that on purpose or not....maybe to make the trek a little more exciting :) I did always finally find my way, but it was a little frightening.
The trail even went through a herd of big black cattle which was a little disturbing - to both me and the cattle :) I just pretended they were buffalo. The pioneers had to deal a lot with those!

I thought for sure this one was going to charge me! He really looked mean! I don't know what I would have done if he had!!

Can you see the deep ruts in the trail going down this hill? Can you emagine how that would be if it were muddy, which I'm sure it is many times because it rains so much here. That is the condition of the trail the pioneers had when they crossed Iowa...only able to go a few miles a day because of the mud!

A mulberry bush with ripe fruit. These grow wild in this area and they are very good. I found several of them along this trek trail. They are almost as good as the blueberries I picked in Newfoundland :)

This is a place called Inspiration Point that you come to at the end of the trail. This was a spot where they say Joseph Smith would come often on his horse, just to look out over the Mississippi . Of course, by this point in the trail you are almost to the valley of the Great Salt Lake so I guess this could be Salt Lake, not the Mississippi :)
Some of the beautiful wild flowers that I saw along the trail. Don't know what they are, but they reminded me of all the wild flowers at the cabin.

All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon, and like so many experiences here in Nauvoo, it made me appreciate more those pioneers and their physical and spiritual strength . I am so grateful for them and the heritage they have left us.

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