A GROUP of 80 youths gathered in Bulahdelah over the long weekend to take part in a three-day re-enactment of the historic Mormon pioneer trek.
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Dressed in long skirts, bonnets, aprons and suspenders, the young people pulled heavy carts through paddocks and wetlands to experience the struggles the early Utah Pioneer Church members endured on their journey to Salt Lake Valley in the mid-1800s.
“They are using handcarts similar to what the pioneers used and have to carry everything they need for the trek,” Newcastle Stake President Jacob Whiting said.
“It helps them to understand the physical and spiritual hardships the pioneers faced.”
The young people were accompanied by a support crew of 40 adults, including local event coordinator, Nicky Hammerl.
Nicky said the final day of the challenging trek involved crossing the Myall River and a mountain climb.
The group completed their journey without any modern conveniences or hygiene items.
“There are no mobile phones or anything else that might provide comfort, it’s really back to basics,” Jacob told News Of The Area.
“They slept on tarps and had to dig their own toilets so they can understand the hardships these early pioneers had to endure.”
Jacob said the trek also showed the youths that they can work outside their comfort zone.
The participants, from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, came from Newcastle and Coffs Harbour, and everywhere in between.
“We have found the people of Bulahdelah to be extremely friendly and accommodating,” Jacob said.
The tri-annual trek is one of many pioneer handcart re-enactments held throughout the world.