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Cheadle Sisters participate in Trek

July 10, 2014

	Crossing the Sweetwater River was part of the Trek. The temperature was in the low 40s, the wind was strong and the water very cold, but Sariah (front) and Ruth (behind Sariah) chose to cross the river while holding onto a rope for safety. 	<br><br> 
 FULDA FREE PRESS/Submitted Photo
FULDA FREE PRESS/Submitted Photo
Crossing the Sweetwater River was part of the Trek. The temperature was in the low 40s, the wind was strong and the water very cold, but Sariah (front) and Ruth (behind Sariah) chose to cross the river while holding onto a rope for safety.

by Norma Dittman
Sariah and Ruth Cheadle had the privilege of participating in a reenactment of a pioneer handcart trek sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The event was held June 17 through 20th.

The Cheadle sisters met with approximately 100 other teens and leaders in Sioux Falls early on June 17th. The group traveled by bus to the Mormon Handcart Visitor’s Center in Martin’s Cover, Wyoming.

Sariah had experienced Trek when she was fourteen years of age. “It was such a great experience and I wanted to do it again!”

For Ruth, this is the only Trek that she will experience. “I went just to see what the pioneers went through in order to be able to worship the way they wanted to.”

Both sisters were seeking a spiritual experience as well as the opportunity to meet new people.

The reenactment is representative of the Martin handcart company that traveled from Iowa City, Iowa to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1856. Having been mocked and persecuted for their religion in their former homes, this group of travelers were seeking a new life in a new place. Their trek was 1,300 miles flong. During the trek, many of these pioneer people froze or starved to death.

Preparing to go on the twenty-five mile journey, Sariah and Ruth packed the pioneer-style clothing that they would wear during the Trek. Clothes for the girls included long skirts and bonnets. Boys wore long-sleeved buttoned shirts and wide-brimmed hats.

The young people were divided into 14 “families” with nine or tens children and an adult married couple acting as their parents. Each family was given a 60-pound handcart to use. The handcarts were made from wood and were about the size of a small bed on a modern-day pickup truck. The handcart pull shaft was seven feet long. The handcarts were pushed and pulled over trails that were sometimes rocky, sometimes smooth, up and down hills and through streams. Parts of the Trek crossed the Sweetwater River.

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