Sophomores Izzie Finlinson, Will Bonnett and Emily Voyles take the trek of their ancestors

Pulling+a+handcart+through+the+woods%2C+sophomore+Izzie+Finlinson+%28middle%29+takes+part+in+the+women%E2%80%99s+pull+part+of+the+journey.+Many+of+the+pioneers+taking+the+trek+lost+or+had+to+leave+their+husbands+along+the+way%2C+so+they+were+the+ones+who+had+to+pull+the+carts+along+the+end+of+the+trail.+%E2%80%9CThis+pull+was+a+really+emotional+time+for+all+of+us+because+we+were+able+to+put+ourselves+in+those+women%E2%80%99s+shoes+during+a+time+where+they+really+struggled%2C%E2%80%9D+Finlinson+said.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Sophomores Izzie Finlinson, Will Bonnett and Emily Voyles take the trek of their ancestors

Pulling a handcart through the woods, sophomore Izzie Finlinson (middle) takes part in the women’s pull part of the journey. Many of the pioneers taking the trek lost or had to leave their husbands along the way, so they were the ones who had to pull the carts along the end of the trail. “This pull was a really emotional time for all of us because we were able to put ourselves in those women’s shoes during a time where they really struggled,” Finlinson said.

Pulling a handcart through the woods, sophomore Izzie Finlinson (middle) takes part in the women’s pull part of the journey. Many of the pioneers taking the trek lost or had to leave their husbands along the way, so they were the ones who had to pull the carts along the end of the trail. “This pull was a really emotional time for all of us because we were able to put ourselves in those women’s shoes during a time where they really struggled,” Finlinson said.

Courtesy of Izzie Finlinson

Pulling a handcart through the woods, sophomore Izzie Finlinson (middle) takes part in the women’s pull part of the journey. Many of the pioneers taking the trek lost or had to leave their husbands along the way, so they were the ones who had to pull the carts along the end of the trail. “This pull was a really emotional time for all of us because we were able to put ourselves in those women’s shoes during a time where they really struggled,” Finlinson said.

Courtesy of Izzie Finlinson

Courtesy of Izzie Finlinson

Pulling a handcart through the woods, sophomore Izzie Finlinson (middle) takes part in the women’s pull part of the journey. Many of the pioneers taking the trek lost or had to leave their husbands along the way, so they were the ones who had to pull the carts along the end of the trail. “This pull was a really emotional time for all of us because we were able to put ourselves in those women’s shoes during a time where they really struggled,” Finlinson said.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Hiking 15 miles through woods, over hills and across rivers all through torrential rain, sophomores Izzie Finlinson, Will Bonnett and Emily Voyles, alongside many of their peers, took part in a weekend trip put together by their church, Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The trip is known as “Trek” and was designed to help students better understand their religious upbringing. 

“It’s a re-enactment of the migration, at a much smaller scale, of the early Mormon pioneers and ancestors of our church from the Midwest to Salt Lake City, Utah,” Voyles said. “It’s such a big part of both our church’s and our individual families’ histories. It gives us the opportunity to feel more connected to them in that way and to see the faith it takes to make such a trip.” 

The event is put on every four years in St. Louis, and teens between the ages of 14 and 18 are able to participate.

It’s such a big part of both our church’s and our individual families’ histories. It gives us the opportunity to feel more connected to them in that way and to see the faith it takes to make such a trip,”

— sophomore Emily Voyles

“This was my first year going, and I was very excited and anxious to do it. We carried all of our ‘family’ possessions in five gallon buckets on hand carts that we pulled for six to eight hours a day. We slept outside in large tents each night, and along the hike, we would meet people who pretended to be from the 1800s, and they would tell you a cool story from their time,” Bonnett said. 

The participants were expected to dress in clothes fit for the time, with girls in bonnets and dresses and boys in slacks or suspenders, while they traveled in assigned ‘families’ with ‘parents’ they called ‘ma’ and ‘pa’.

“The first night, we set up camp and had a hoedown where we learned traditional pioneer dances. It was one of the best parts of the trip. Then the next day, we hiked a lot and as soon as we got to camp, we got poured on. It flooded so bad that we dug trenches around our little makeshift tents, but we kept positive attitudes because that’s what the pioneers did. So we sang, danced and played games in the rain, then huddled under tarps to keep warm that night,” Finlinson said. 

Finlinson, Bonnett and Voyles quickly learned of the struggles the pioneers before them faced and dealt with many of the same physical and mental challenges. 

“It was extremely physically difficult. We walked about 15 miles the whole weekend, pulling the carts through the rough terrain the whole time. It was so hard but also humbling to know that the pioneers did this willingly because of their faith,” Finlinson said.

Having to take on the role as one of the older people in my ‘family’ has made me a great leader, which, in my opinion, is a great skill to grow,”

— sophomore Will Bonnett

The three were able to learn about the history of their religion and were able to internally connect with the intangible aspects of the experience. 

“The purpose of Trek is to help all those who go to recognize the sacrifices the early saints made for us, which helps us learn about the early church. It really helped me learn leadership. Having to take on the role as one of the older people in my ‘family’ has made me a great leader, which, in my opinion, is a great skill to grow,” Bonnett said. 

Finlinson, Bonnett and Voyles’ faith grew by being able to go through a part of their religious history themselves. 

“This experience was very spiritual for me; I loved going. I got closer with my friends, and it helped me gain knowledge and first-hand experience about my religion, God, my ancestors and all that they went through to help me have the life I have today. It strengthened my gratitude for the religious life I am able to live now,” Voyles said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email