A most beautiful valley! Friday, July 11th, 2014
We've passed this site coming and going every time we've traveled north on Hwy 89, a few miles above Truckee CA. I've wanted to stop, but the timing was never right ... till today. This historical site at 6,000 ft in Tahoe National Forest is called Donner Camp Picnic Area and Interpretive Trail. The place is Alder Creek Valley and it is a most beautiful valley. An easy 1/3 mile interpretive loop offers glimpses of what the Donner party went thru in this valley where they had to "camp" in the winter of 1846-47. After we set up our own camp on Friday, the 11th, we drove the few miles from our c/g, parked the car and with water in hand, set out to discover history.
Alder Creek Valley
The sign in front of Jimmy reads:
"We camped by a tall pine tree, we cut poles and stood them up around the tree and cut brush around the tree to serve until we could build a house. But the snow came and that was all we had with our tents."
Elitha Donner Wilder (14 years old during that fateful winter)
For many years, this ancient stump was thought to be the aforementioned tree; however, archaeological evidence revealed no evidence of a campsite right here. Evidence of the campsite was found nearby.
Isn't it hard to fathom snow up to 20 feet covering this serene valley?
Once begun, it's hard for us to quit. We found this path off the interpretive trail and set out for the tall trees on the right, (really).
I don't know if this dinky stream is Alder Creek. Barely any moving water in it a'tall.
Aha! Beavers live here or have lived here. We doubted any could survive in such low, stagnant water, but we followed one dammed up pond after another, searching. No dice.
Wandering, we made our own path.
A very large lupine continues to bloom next to the creek.
Sadly, at trail's end, we spotted this sign/tree. Enlarge the photo to read the words.
Maybe it is fitting after all....