Monday, July 5, 2021

Finishing Up In Plumas County

Two days of hiking and walking and it's time to take a break. A ride up to the other end of Plumas County is in order so we drive towards Chester, the larger town at the north end of Lake Almanor.

Outside of Quincy, we pull over at a wide spot on the road to take a look at an engineering marvel, the Keddie Wye.

This is where two trestles built high above a steep canyon meet inside a tunnel, the only place in the world where this happens.

Back on the road, it's a pretty drive alongside Indian Creek with great views of Mt. Lassen, then along the western shore of Lake Almanor to Chester a more down to earth logging company town where most things are closed on this Sunday afternoon.

We'd seen a sign advertising "lakeside dining" a few miles back so we turn around. The dining referred to Plumas Pines Bar and Grill where we find a table on the deck, close to the shore of Lake Almanor.

The weather is perfect for a burger, some fish 'n chips, and a veggie sandwich before heading back to Quincy to spend one more night.

After four very nice nights at the cottage at Ada's Place in Quincy, it's time to go home. We can take the express route...shooting down the mountain to Oroville and freeway...medium route (through Truckee to Interstate 80), or the slow, scenic route (continue thorugh Truckee to Lake Tahoe and the mountain route home). 

We choose to go slow.

At the intersection of highways 70 and 89, we head south through the resort town of Graegle. Letty has me pull off at the even tinier town of Clio (popluation 74) to see a sight.

Downtown Clio is only a couple of buildings long but Main Street goes on for a few more miles. We've come to see the Clio Trestle.

Like the Keddie Wye, this is another feat of engineering. In fact, Plumas County is known for its railroading sites. The museum even publishes a brochure featuring the Seven Wonders of the Railroad World located in the county.

You can even rent a locomotive to drive yourself at the local railroad museum.

Built in 1909, the 1,005 foot long trestle carries trains 172 feet above the bottom of the canyon. It really makes a statement when you see it.

On the highway, after a stunningly beautiful drive through Sierraville and the Sierra Valley, we come into one of those road construction zones you frequently see in the California mountains with a flagman controlling the one lane that's open with a stop sign.

Lucky for us, it happed precisely at the driveway I was looking for, the Donner Party Picnic Area. We're not here for a picnic, rather we're going on one more hike.

Most people have heard the tragic story of the Donner party, who were stranded in the heavy snows of the Sierras in 1846/47. Many perished and it's likely that some resorted to cannibalism to survive. 

There's a state park with a large monument alongside Interstate 80, just west of Truckee, marking the camp where the party camped at. What many don't know is that the party actually split in two and that the Donner family didn't camp there, they camped here...six miles away...along Alder Creek just north of Truckee.

A trail, a third of a mile long, winds through the meadow where the Donner family and other camped. The trail is hard packed dirt, with a few sections of boardwalk, and most wheelchairs can make it. A buddy to help out is recommended, especially for manual chair users.

While the scenery is beautiful, the point halfway through the walk is most poignant. Here, a dead tree stump stands, marking the spot where the Donners built a shelter. A plaque and a tree planted by their descendants memorialize it.

George Donner, his wife Tamsen, and many others met their ends here in this meadow. Tamsen's remains were never found.

With that, we make our way over the Truckee and have a lunch at Jax Diner. A scenic drive along the west shore of Lake Tahoe ends with the crowds starting at Emerald Bay and into South Lake Tahoe.

From there, it's a quick drive down highway 50 through Placerville and onto home.

Darryl Musick
Copyrigh 2021 - All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment