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October 18, 2011
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Donner Party Hike an authentic experience

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The 19th Annual Donner Party Hike, produced by the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce, provided an authentic experience this year. As the Donner Party experienced in 1846, an early and significant storm brought more than 22 inches of snow to Donner Summit Thursday, Oct. 6. As promised, rain, shine or even snow did not keep the event organizers and participants from forging ahead, just like the emigrants.

“To receive this amount of snow this early is a bit unprecedented. I went up on Donner Summit on Friday with some of our volunteer guides to assess the situation,” said event coordinator Kathy Hess. “While it was absolutely gorgeous, it was clear we would have to make modifications to the hikes offered.”

A heavy fog enveloped Donner Summit early Saturday morning, Oct. 8 when more than 230 eager hikers arrived at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort’s Mt. Judah Lodge. By 9:30 a.m., all were out on the trail hearing about emigrant history, the building of the transcontinental railroad and more. As the morning progressed, the fog lifted giving way to brilliant blue skies and dramatic views.

“One by one the groups of hikers returned invigorated and grinning from ear to ear,” said Hess. “It is so rewarding to share our unique history, adventurous spirit, recreation and amazing scenery with our visitors every year.”

Participants were treated to early Donner Summit and Highway 40 lore by local historian Norm Saylor, followed by a captivating Chautauqua performance by David Fenimore of the most infamous and often vilified Donner Party survivor, Lewis Keseberg.

The Donner Party Hike is produced by the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce. Every year it draws hundred of visitors to Truckee, most from out of the area. Participants choose from six different hikes Saturday and Sunday there is a walking tour. All events offer insight into emigrant history from area guides, along with invigorating recreation and beautiful scenery.

Sponsors of this year’s event included: Cedar House Sport Hotel, Donner Lake Village Resort, Donner Memorial State Park, Donner Summit Historical Society, Hampton Inn and Suites Tahoe-Truckee, Larkspur Hotel Truckee-Tahoe, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, Town of Truckee, Truckee Donner Lodge, and the U.S. Forest Service.

For more information, visit www.truckee.com or call 530-587-2757.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Oct 18, 2011 06:00PM Published Oct 18, 2011 05:44PM Copyright 2011 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.