'Trail to the Promised Land' lecture Thursday at Gardnerville museum

Staff Reports

Carson Valley native Laurie Hickey speaks about the Carson River route of the Emigrant Trail at the Douglas County Historical Society's lecture of the month, 7 p.m. Thursday, at the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center.

Last year's lecture concentrated on the trail through Carson Valley, while this lecture and slide presentation focuses on the trail from Woodfords to the summit of West Pass, the highest point traveled by wagons in the nation at an elevation of 9,640 feet. On a clear day, the Coastal Mountain Range may be seen from the top of West Pass.

The Carson River Route of the Emigrant Trail was the most traveled route during the early years of the California Gold Rush, with an estimated 50,000 California-bound argonauts traveling the trail in 1850.

Rope and chain marks remain on trees, and groves in rocks made by the rubbing of chains and ropes may still be seen where the emigrants hoisted wagons up the Devils Ladder. Also remaining are depressions in the soil made by thousands of wagons, animals and people that traveled the trail, and names written in axle grease on rocks.

Hickey said the western migration to California was one of the most important events in American history, but no one seems to know about it.

"My goal is to stir up interest in the trail," she said. "I have been hiking the trail for a few years. Last year I led hikes of the trail and as yet I have not seen another person hiking the trail other than us."

The Douglas County Historical Society hosts lectures on the second Thursday of the month at the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center, 1477 Highway 395, Gardnerville. Admission is $3, free for historical society members. Information, 782-2555.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment