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Named for Guide, Trapper, and Frontiersman - Kit Carson

sunny 80 °F

Good Day!

The trip from Sacramento to Carson City was more than I expected. While the scenery was spectacular as I drove through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the elevation changes took me by surprise. Sacramento has an elevation of 30' above sea level. Climbing on I-80 going east toward Reno & Carson City the elevation change to Donner's Summit was 7,025' over the course of 90 miles. The MH 'huffed & puffed' but we made it to the top! The next 60 miles to Carson City was all downhill. Carson City's elevation is 4,800'.

Let me seque abit -- The Transcontinental Railroad had two major obstacles to overcome in its construction. Going eastward from Sacremento the Central Pacific Railway had to build the line through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. A location called Donner's Pass, whose elevation is/was 7,050' above sea level presented a daunting challenge. Coming westward the Union Pacific Railway had to build over Sherman Hill, a Pass east of Laramie, WY with an elevation of 8,250'. While the Sherman Hill challenge was greater in elevation the approach was more gradual. Donner's Pass rose from 30' to 7,050' in a mere 90 miles.

Donner's Pass was named for the Donner & Reed families who left Independence, MO in a covered-wagon train traveling the California Trail during the 1840's migration to seek a better life in the west. Their trip was crippled & delayed by mishaps and mistakes in navigation resulting in their being stranded in the Sierra Nevada Mountain winter snows. Of the 83 people who started the trip only 45 survived, and those people resorted to eating their animals and to cannibalism to avoid starvation. A very tragic story. At the summit a bronze memorial plaque is mounted on a large rock marking the approximate location where the survivors were found by a rescue party in Feb. 1847. This formitable Pass also claimed the lives of many Chinese cooleys who worked for 2 1/2 years with picks, hand shovels, and black powder explosives to carve roadways out of the mountain sides for the tracks, and to pick & blast over 6,000' of tunnels to enable the railroad to be built. Another amazing story.

Today, being Sunday means the State Capitol and Museum are closed. I decided to drive over to Lake Tahoe, about 25 miles away. The road wound through the mountains as I climbed from Carson City's 4,800' elevation to Lake Tahoe's elevation of 6,235'. The Lake is a beautiful sight to see. Surrounded by mountains, it is a deep blue color for it has an average depth of 989' and is 12 miles X 22 miles in size and is 97% pure. The two significant towns bordering the lake are Stateline, NV and South Lake Tahoe, CA. Both are 'touristy' towns with the major casinos, Harrah's, Hard Rock Cafe, etc., etc. along with the usual restaurants, bars, shops. I am glad I drove over to see the famous Lake Tahoe. Tomorrow I will visit the State Capitol, and Museums and whatever else the Visitor Center suggests.

Posted by dixter 19:28 Archived in USA Tagged lake tahoe

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