Thursday, December 24, 2020

Donner Memorial

 (GPS: N39 19.350 W120 14.020)

Merry Christmas!

This is the wrap-up blog on my two trips to Donner Pass and Donner Lake. It is not my intent to give much of the history of the Donner Party with this blog. I think there is so much out there already that you really should check out some search engines, Wikipedia, encyclopedias, or read some books about the Donner Party if you want more information on the tragedy. The trips that I took to this area just fulfilled a curiosity I had after being told the story in classes growing up, seeing documentaries, and a few readings. 

I state in the video I was a little underwhelmed visiting the Donner Memorial State Park. We were there for the history, but most people there were for vacation. It was like traveling to a beach at the ocean where people are on the beach, some out in the water, and some out on boats. It was packed, but I did not blame them for this since COVID-19 had kept people indoors and isolated for so long...and still is as I write this. However, this is the part I regretted coming in August rather than in the previous October when there would not have been people. There were some areas I wanted to take pictures and videos of, but too many young teens in swimsuits were around that were in my way. 

You have to pay an entrance fee for the park. When we did that at the museum we were told that the inside museum was closed due to COVID-19, but the outside could be visited. So, that was part of the letdown about this place. Let me show you the two monuments they have.

Outside the museum there is a monument with a statue of a family.

There were a bunch of signs with some of the history and quotes from some of the survivors of the Donner Party tragedy. We then followed a short trail that goes near a stream.

The Murphy Cabin would have been here. The rock is the north end and fireplace of the cabin. On June 20, 1847 General Stephen Kerny buried the bodies found in the area under the cabin here. The sign lists all the members of the Donner Party that survived and those that died.

I walked around the trail they had. I liked this part of the stream. Obviously, it was a nice summer day. The area around was beautiful! However, I tried to imagine what it would have been like in the winter of 1846-47 with cold icy snow all around. As I often say, nature does not play by rules. The Donner Party did not have the comforts of life that those on vacation playing around the on streams, rivers, and lake have. It was truly survival of the fittest for them. This is something to be remembered as the world currently deals with COVID-19.

Admittedly,  I do not think the video clips I had to put together for a video were really that great. Again, it was that feeling of being underwhelmed at the state park. There was just not enough unique material to present. I thought and thought about this for the past few months. I thought I would tack them on to the end of the previous video. That did not seem right. There were other ideas, but I decided to use Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 as a tool to show the area. Then add the few clips. So, this is sort of a experiment for this video. It is not the type of thing I expect everyone to think is really that great, but you cannot always hit it out of the park in every video.

Flying Over Donner (Youtube Video)

I think this will be the last blog of 2020. I decided the next adventure I was going to share will probably show up at the beginning of the new year. I have a bunch of things I want to say, and changes I am considering that will be announced at some point early in 2021. Until then please enjoy and make the best you can of the holidays this year!

Music from used is Beauty Flow and A Very Brady Special.


lvg said...

We were there in October and very few people by then. I've read a number of books on the Donner party but I found DESPERATE PASSAGE by Ethan Rarick. It really brings the story to life. I've camped in big blizzards in the high Sierra in winter with modern gear and can't imagine doing it in the open while starving wearing plain leather shoes and cotton jackets. I was out and both nights it snowed 4 feet per night. You can't move at all.
Hope 2021 isa better year for all of us. Poor Donner party had it worse though.

The Great Silence said...

Very more ways than one. ;) Thanks for the book recommendation. I will have to check that one out.