We've lived in Iowa for three years now, and we finally went to Mormon Handcart Park as a family last month. It's not from where we live or from our church. I'm not sure why it took so long for us to go to this lovely park. We had heard of it but we didn't realize it was so nearby and easy to get to until I went there for a Relief Society activity in August. When I went to that I knew I had to bring the family there too so we had a Family Home Evening there a few weeks later. What a lovely, peaceful place it is! I had no idea that it was as nice and historic as it was, and so well-detailed with informative plaques throughout. The walking trails and the native scenic prairie grass and woods are beautiful. I think it's so neat that the Mormon pioneers stayed in this area on their way West. One of the things I like about living in the Midwest is the awesome pioneer history that's here. Our temple is the Nauvoo Temple and it's been so fun getting to know Nauvoo better. We've been blessed to live out here and learn more about our pioneer heritage and to feel of its spirit.
The prairie grass has been maintained, so at the park it looks much like it must have for the pioneers...
...minus the cement walking path for walkers, bikers, and joggers, that is! The boys had a lot of fun racing down the path.
The plaques were informative and well-written.
I had no idea that there was a pioneer burial ground here. It's unmarked, but it's there. It truly is sacred ground.
There were paths that went down into the woods that we'll go back and explore in the future.
Our church is the building in the middle of the picture towards the back (see the steeple pointing up?). It's amazing to me that it's so close to where the pioneers stayed in the 1850s. The street that this park is off of that we drive to church on each Sunday is named "Mormon Trek Boulevard."
What a special place! We hope to return here many times in the future.