Step Back in Time with the Donner Party Hike

Travel is so easy, relatively speaking, these days that we rarely give it much thought. Hop on a plane and you’re on the opposite coast within the same day.  It’s hard to imagine the hardships and triumphs of those who first settled the west, traveling for months through grueling, dangerous conditions to reach their goal.  One great way to step back in time is the annual Donner Party Hike here238-2 in Truckee.  This year’s hike – the 23rd annual – is being held on October 2nd and 3rd.

On Saturday, hikers can choose among six guided hikes with different focuses and skill levels.  Each hike is led by knowledgeable guides who share fascinating details of the area and those who previously settled it.  Hikers can choose the railroad snow shed hike to hear about the building of the Transcontinental Railroad through the area, and the Chinese workers who lived and died to make it a reality.  Other hikes include Roller Pass, where emigrants were forced to winch their wagons up a 35-degree granite slope, or our lovely high Sierra lakes, or the Dutch Flat Wagon Road to learn about where and how the road was built and the advent of motorized transport through the Sierra.

Saturday hikes will begin and end at Donner Ski Ranch located on Highway 40 on Donner Summit. Guides lead groups of approximately 15–20 people to interpretive spots giving detailed historical information focused on emigrant and area history.  The cost for Saturday’s hikes is $45 per hiker; $50 after September 26.

Sunday provides the opportunity for an additional day of history and exploration as part of a two-day Donner Party Hike package. The day begins with an interpretive walk where participants will hear of the grueling travel and mishaps of the Donner Party and the archeological finds of the group in this area. Participants will then drive to Donner Memorial State Park to view the Murphy Cabin Site and Pioneer Monument. Participants are welcome to view the movie documentary and explore the Emigrant Trail Museum at the State Park, admission to the park is included for the remainder of the afternoon. The Saturday and Sunday package is $65 per hiker; $70 after September 26.

More information and the hike registration form can be found at the hike’s website.

Guide photo courtesy of the Donner Party Hike

Wild Fires and YOU

FullSizeRenderAs I write this, there is a Red Flag Warning in effect for our area and wildfires are raging throughout the west.  Tinder dry conditions and a prolonged drought have brought us to the brink of catastrophe.  There is no way to emphasize enough the importance of fire safety in our area.  We live on the edge of wilderness and must respect it.  Being fire safe might mean just the few minutes time you will need to escape safely and hopefully, perhaps even keep our community from facing a situation that desperate.

There is an incredible amount of information to be found in any number of places, but for Donner Summit and Serene Lakes property owners, perhaps your best resource is the Serene Lakes Property Owners website.  Here you can find the forms you’ll need to submit for property inspections, wood chipping dates, emergency checklists, the Serene Lakes fire wise assessment plan and so much more.

Let’s all do our part to protect the area we love so much, and keep one another safer as a result.

North Lake Tahoe/Truckee Waste Disposal Options for Homeowners

This Saturdpaintay, June 20th there will be a FREE drop-off event for hazardous waste. If you have you done some spring cleaning of your home or cabin recently and are wondering what to do with the accumulated waste, this is good news for you!

Saturday’s event will take place at the Eastern Regional Materials Recovery Facility at 900 Cabin Creek Road, off of Hwy 89 South, between Truckee and Squaw Valley.  The facility will be open from 8am – 4pm.  For questions and appointments for drop off, call 530-583-7800.  All customers must make an appointment to participate in the hazardous waste event so that they can assign personnel to meet customer demand safely and quickly. The program is free to qualifying residents (with certain restrictions on material types, weights, and volumes). Businesses can drop off on Friday the 19th, if necessary, with some additional fees applicable for doing so.

Hazardous wastes, including universal- and e-waste, are products that contain components or chemicals considered hazardous to the environment and animal life (including humans) and are thus prohibited from entering the general waste stream. If carelessly discarded, such items may contaminate our air, water, wildlife and land. Additionally, placing hazardous waste in the trash poses a risk to the waste handler, so alternatives are made available for customers to divert such products from landfills and waste processing facilities.

Just a note, Truckee residents may also place household batteries curbside for collection on their service day. For easy identification, batteries must be contained in a ziplock bag, and placed on top of the garbage can lid.

Green waste can be dropped off at the same facility Monday through Saturday from now through October 31st.  Green waste includes tree limbs, pine cones and needles, brush and bark, dry grass & leaves and yard trimmings.  Eliminating green waste from your property is crucial to maintaining proper defensible space around your home in case of wild fire.  Many communities, such as Tahoe Donner and Serene Lakes, mandate, or at the very least strongly encourage, defensible space perimeters be in place for all homes in their community.

Serene Lakes Property Owners Association also sponsors a free chipping program during the summer for their members. The chipping dates are July 7th, Aug. 11th, and Sep. 15th.  In order to get the free chipping the homeowner has to be a SLPOA member.  You can sign up on the SLPOA website.  SLPOA has contracted directly with Placer Co. and will pay the fees.  If the homeowner is not a SLPOA member, they need to contact a private tree company and make the arrangements through them.

The maximum load for any one drop-off is 6 yards, which is about 40 large plastic bags.  The facility asks that you tarp your load to prevent losing much of it along the road before you reach facility.  When dropping off, please present proof of residence for either Placer or Nevada Counties.

Great information about the services provided by Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal can be found at their website.

Snow Biking Gaining Traction at Royal Gorge

It’s a sunny winter day; temps are in the mid 20’s and it is a perfect day to be outside.  You head for freshly groomed trails not with your skis but with your bike!  That’s right, your bike. In recent years snow biking has taken winter by storm.  Now the cyclists, who previously spent the winter months on gym bikes or on indoor trainers, finally have another option for exercise and fun.

While untold thousands of people in the U.S. pedal year-round to work or school, it’s now captured the attention of the thrill seekers as well as the commuters.  New cycling equipment, better apparel and a growing awareness of the feasibility of wintertime riding has caused a jump in participation. Snow biking has become a mainstream offering at many winter resorts across the country for a number of reasons.   First, bikes have come a long way.  Your standard 26” wheeled mountain bike will work just fine on the snow.  Today’s wider tires and the ability to run lower air pressure with tubeless tires so that more tire surface will be in contact with the road/trail makes the snow a great format for fun.

Aside from the bike technology changing, there has also been a change in our trails.  More users are on the trails year-round now, for hiking, trail running and snow shoeing.  Some people might consider this a bad thing but for the snow biker it’s great.  More use of the trails creates more compaction. When you combine this compaction with a bit of sun and some nice temps (in the 20’s) you get conditions that create great snow biking.

Royal Gorge is one of the few resorts in the Tahoe Basin currently offering snow bike rentals.  They have a complete fleet of fat tire bikes and groomed winter trails to make your next ride your best one! Check out their website page here.

Donner Summit – King Fire update


Donner Summit Friends, you will start to see Fire Fighting equipment come through the area, heading down Soda Springs Road toward French Meadows and the King Fire. Pease do not be alarmed–the fire is not an immediate threat to the Summit or to the Cedars, the Incident Command Team and CalFire will be using the equipment many miles down the road to create “indirect” fire breaks–meaning they are creating defensible space fire lines well in advance of the actual fire.
– from Placer Co Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery’s FB page

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