We took the west road around beautiful Lake Tahoe on our way to Donner Memorial Park.
On the northwest point is the town of Truckee, where there is a memorial to the Donner Party.
The brand new museum had just opened, and it was really nice, if nice is the right word, considering it is dedicated to the tragic story of a wagon train of pioneers who became trapped in Donner Pass for a long, harsh winter resulting in mass death from starvation and then cannibalism; let’s just say that it was presented well.
The grounds of the park are on the actual site of one of the ill-fated pioneer cabins, all that remains is a large boulder that once served as the back wall of the makeshift cabin.
There are a few hiking trails along the edge of Donner Lake. We braved the sputtering snow and hiked around for a while, enjoying the solitude and snow. It wasn’t hard to imagine this place during the time of the Donner Party. It was so quiet and peaceful, but at the same time a melancholy place to visit.
We returned to the car to warm up and then began the short drive to Reno in the increasing snowfall, never suspecting that the road we were traveling on, Highway 80, would shortly be closed due to heavy snow.
It was kind of creepy, since our thoughts were still on the Donner Party’s entrapment there in 1847, but we got through just before the highway patrol began turning people back.