Starting on July 24, 185 Mormon young women and young men of the Cranbrook B.C. Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or Mormon Church set off through the back country of Horseshoe Lake of the Cranbrook area — a four-day trek. The young men and women are taking part in an reenactment of the Mormon pioneers of the 1850s who walked across the plains of the American west in their search of a new home and religious freedom in the Salt Lake Valley of today’s Utah. The actual distance was 1,300 miles.
These youth will travel only 18 kilometers, but will experience of the many hardships that their own ancestors did in the 1850s. Dress for the trek will be authentic pioneer clothing as sewn by many of the youth. Many adults will be along as well to act as ma’s, pa’s, aunts, uncle’s, grandpa’s and grandma’s. All will be reorganized into new families for the four day trek and encampment. The mode of transportation for the trek will be walking with 15 handcarts used to carry the limited provisions needed for the four day trek. No modern conveniences will be permitted.
During the trek, the youth will be involved with many actual duties that their pioneer ancestors had to deal with. These includes making their own bread, and butter, baking cornbread and biscuits on an open fire, and cooking their evening meals with dutch ovens.
They will also experience visits by the local sheriff, a pony express rider, the native people, and famous Mormon historical characters. There will be square dancing, firesides, and story telling around the camp fires.
In the 1850s. 62,000 Mormons walked across the American plains to the Salt Lake Valley as this was the least expensive way of reaching their new land and future homes. Many died along the way due to cold, lack of food, sickness, and other hardships.
The youth participating come from the many communities of the East and West Kootenays. Many are descendants of the early Mormon pioneers of the 1850’s.
The Cranbrook B.C. Stake includes all the communities of the East and West Kootenays including Trail, Creston, Castlegar and Nelson to the west, Golden and Invermere to the north, and Sparwood and Fernie to the east and to the Canadian border to the south.