Pioneer Trek participants

Back row left to right: Martin Virgo and Jordan Gazdik. Front row left to right: Hunter Ruiz, Erin Walker, Emma Anderson, Eve Albino, Chloe Albino, Isabela Christensen, Brielle Anderson and Sarah Huang.

About 70 Peninsula teenagers begin the Pioneer Trek today, which means leaving their cell phones at home.

The 14- to 18-year-old volunteers are part of the Palos Verdes Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who will spend three days hiking ten miles.

The trek is part of Pioneer Days, observed by church members and others in the month of July to remember those who crossed the plains in 1847, a press release said.

The teens will make the hike in the hot sun wearing clothing of the 1800s, eating only food that their ancestors may have eaten 150 years ago.

They will be accompanied by about 30 adults and will hike in the Apple Valley area. The hikers are divided into simulated families of 10 with an adult “Ma” and “Pa” in charge of each “family.”

Tim Hoopes, a leader of the group, said in the release that the purpose for the young hikers is “to learn about service, sacrifice, and the pioneer heritage of the Church--the Mormon exodus.”

Hoopes added, “They will also learn about themselves, work as a unified group and build long-lasting friendships.”

In addition to enduring the hardships of the trail, the teens will participate in singing, games and pioneer-type dance activities, the release said.

Stakes throughout the church sponsor the Pioneer Trek, usually once each four years.

— Ed Pilolla

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