Ariz. desert trek re-creates Mormon pioneer hardships

The 135 or so teens pulled their handcarts about seven miles into the desert. They set up camp in rugged, remote terrain, well south of town.

The wood carts bounced along on spoked iron wheels nearly as tall as the teens. The carts carried their tents, their cooking supplies, their extra clothes. They carried just about everything the trekkers would need for their four days in the desert.

They slogged along a rain-soaked dirt road, passable only by four-wheel drive -- or teen-powered handcarts. They traveled with their temporary families -- each with "brothers" and "sisters" and a "ma" and "pa."

For them, it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For the Casa Grande Mormon Stake, it was a quadrennial event meant to give young churchgoers a taste of what early Mormon pioneers went through as they settled the West.
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