The 7 Stages of Doing a Pioneer Trek

Mormon youth participate in a pioneer trek re-enactment.

A pioneer trek re-enactment is practically a rite of passage for many Mormon youth. And let’s not forget the dozens of adult leaders it takes to make a trek work, too.

Whether it was a quick overnight trip over flat ground or a weeklong trek where you conquered 13 miles each day, these moments might feel familiar to pioneer trekkers.

When you find out you have to wear pioneer clothing

Dwight and Michael raising the roof

This will be kind of like an intense game of dress-up, right?

And then you try on said pioneer clothing…

Captain Picard facepalming

Turns out not everyone looks like the pioneers in the movies.

What you think practicing for all those trek miles will be like

The Flash running

How hard can pulling a handcart 15 miles a day at a pace of 3 miles an hour be?

And then you quickly give up on the whole “preparation” thing

A scene from Pitch Perfect

Oh — that hard.

When the first day of the trek comes, and you and your friend look at each other like

Power rangers shrugging

Might as well get it over with.

And you do as the pioneers did (AKA “walked and walked and walked and walked”)

Penguins walking

When your 14-year-old trek brother tells you how to pull the handcart (but doesn’t actually help pull it)

Kamala Harris glaring

“Make sure you don’t go off that cliff on the left!”
“Thanks. I totally would’ve if you hadn’t told me.”

— Actual conversation 16-year-old me had on my pioneer trek

When you’re tending to blisters and sore muscles at the end of the first day

Will Arnett's character on Arrested Development saying, "I've made a huge mistake."

At least you get to play some surprisingly fun pioneer games after dinner!

But then you wake up in the morning like

Liz Lemon saying, "Let's do this."

After all, you’ve made it this far.

When the men leave for the women’s pull

Ryan Gosling saying, "Don't go."

And then the women totally crush it

Like Wonder Woman smashing through this window. *insert Wonder Woman theme song*

When you finally get to the end

Frodo saying, "It's done."

All good things must come to an end, after all.

And then you hold testimony meeting

If you’re not crying, all the people around you probably are.

And you realize…you actually had a really good time

Diana Agron smiling

Maybe you’ll go on another pioneer trek, after all.


Have you been on a pioneer trek? What was it like?

Ashley Lee is a news media student with a minor in editing at Brigham Young University. Her hobbies include reading, stand-up paddleboarding, and reciting seasons 1-5 of The Office word-for-word. She hopes to be a reporter for a national newspaper after graduation.