By Mary O’KEEFE
A group of about 135 teenagers stepped out of the 21st Century and into the 1800s. Girls were outfitted in long dresses and bonnets; for the boys, plaid shirts and straw hats seemed to symbolize those long lost days.
The kids, along with about 40 adults, were from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in La Cañada, La Crescenta, Sunland and parts of Glendale. They dressed in period clothing and went on their Pioneer Trek to Riley’s Farm in Oak Glen on July 14.
“We are there for three days,” said Joe Grigg, stake youth men’s president.
For those three days they had a chance to experience, at least in part, what their LDS forefathers and mothers went through as they trekked across the country. In 1847 an organized wagon train left the mid west and traveled to Utah.
Those on the modern day trek traveled with hand-carts made of large wooden wheels.
“The [first day] we traveled six and a half miles, the second day we walked two miles and the last day we walked a mile and a half up a steep hill,” Grigg said.
“The last part of the hike [was the toughest],” said Dallas Ross, a local teen who has made the trek twice.
Ross said this time the event was a little different than last year. The group had to cross a small river. The men had to carry the women across the water, as the pioneers did.
“At first the guys didn’t want to and the girls wanted to cross on their own,” Ross said.
Eventually men picked up the women and crossed, learning not only how difficult it was for pioneers but how much society has changed.
The trip was a way for the congregation to relate to the history of their church. Ross said despite the lack of technology, the hot days and long walk the trek was well worth it.
“What I learned was, when you are asked to do something if the request comes from the right people, any sacrifice made was well worth it,” he said.
The group did not have a difficult time adjusting back to the present.
“I came home, took a shower and went to see ‘Harry Potter [Deathly Hollows Part II),’” he said.
The next weekend he went to Comic-Con, a comic book convention.
“Quite a culture shock,” he said.