Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Trailblazer No. 1


If you are as excited as I am for the Mormon Trail Handcart Trek 2009 to start, then you probably wish that you were already in Iowa City, a trail of handcart pioneers stretching before you, the plains rolling on endlessly, and the smell of adventure filling your nostrils. But before that happens we have a lot to do. To prove my point, here’s an account from William Atkin, a member of the 8th handcart company, which left Florence, NE in 1859.

We were finally provided with our carts and on a lovely afternoon in June we started out with our little all in our carts and traveled out four miles … we had a little steep hill to pull up and this gave us a little insight to what we might expect when we came to the mountains. We arrived in camp and even four miles had its effect on some of our company, as quite a number were from the English Factories and knew nothing of the hardships they were now starting out to undergo.”

Let’s not be like those English factory works, let’s be prepared for everything that is coming our way.

Enter The Trailblazer. These bi-weekly newsletters will be your guide to important events, upcoming deadlines, and practical advice on how to be prepared for your experience on the trek.

See you on the trail,

Scott Morris
Committee Member

Upcoming Events:

January 24- Long Walk Weekend 10am, RB
January 31- Application Deadline
February 26- Prep Class Begins 4:00-6:00pm Thursdays
March 1- Family Application Deadline


As far as feet go, you’ll want to be prepared well before the trek starts. The most important thing you can do right now is get shoes and break them in. Here are some helpful suggestions to get you started.

*Choose sturdy hiking shoes or very supportive gym shoes that breath and are comfortable for long walks.
*These shoes should be broken in through 50-100 miles of walking. Do not buy new hiking shoes a week or two before the trip. Reliable shoes, in good shape, that you already own and have proven comfortable, are probably the best choice. Don’t plan on sandals, loafers, or cowboy boots.
*Shoes with internal padding are more comfortable for walking. Consider adding padded insoles to help cushion your feet.

We’ll talk more about socks and preventing blisters in a different issue. For now, let’s turn our attention to breaking in the shoes. If your shoes aren’t broken in before you leave, your feet will be very unhappy for the first week or so, maybe longer.


In order to break in our shoes, build our stamina, and meet new friends before we even get on the trail, we will be holding periodic “Long Walk Weekends.” These will start out with shorter walks, 2 or 3 miles, and then we’ll work up to a longer 12 or 13 mile walk. Feel free to bring friends with you, and we’ll have a blast.

The first long walk will be Saturday, January 24. Meet at 10am by the south door of the RB. We’ll leave around 10:10 to explore the red brick trail that wraps around BYU’s south hill. We’ll go by the Botany pond, as well as the terraced gardens to see if anything grows in winter. Expect an hour-long walk.

Please RSVP to so I know how many to expect.

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