“The Willie Handcart Experience”
In the saga of the American West, few events can compare to the triumph and tragedy of the Handcart Pioneers.
While most handcart pioneers went more quickly and more safely than their ox-drawn wagon counterparts, a few handcart companies experienced great tragedy, demonstrating courage and fortitude beyond description. Many in the West feel that these experience are sacred and demonstrate a consummate example for faith, bravery, and perseverance. In conjunction with Captain James G. Willie’s family descendants, the American West Heritage Center offers 1-5 day handcart treks (the most popular being 3-day treks) that allow participants to gain experiences that tap into this monumental and sacred exemplar. Treks are a challenging yet rewarding way for tourists, youth groups, church groups, family reunions, leadership retreats and other groups to gain valuable experiences, build camaraderie and lasting friendships, develop appreciation for heritage, explore morals and lessons in authentic ways, and to learn about the pioneers that trekked westward, while enjoying some of the most dynamic scenery in the West. As part of your journey, you can come to the Heritage Center before or after and see, via engaing and fun living history activities, what Utah was like prior to the arrival of the pioneers, what kind of environment the pioneers set up upon arrival, and what they developed.
Learn the history of the handcart treks: what pioneers were able to take along, what they had to leave behind, and explore a history of westward expansion and pioneer migration. Experience the hardships, joys, and triumphs that pioneers went through by participating in activities such as the women’s pull, proxy pioneering, traditional western dancing and more. Meet historical figures such as Orrin Porter Rockwell and the Pony Express. This program is highly customizable. We’ll do as little or as much program planning as you want, while maintaining a safe, challenging atmosphere. Designed to reduce the amount of time commitment from the individual groups’ leaders, all will enjoy the experience to the fullest. And we’re conveniently only 45 minutes from Logan and 90 minutes from Salt Lake City.