Donner Pass
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Where: Donner Pass Memorial Park, just off Rt. 80 in California
When: Sunday, August 18, 2006
Who: Most of us  :-)

I don't think we initially expected to visit Donner Pass when we were planning the trip, but it certainly made for a nice diversion while en route from Reno to San Francisco.  We stopped here for a little over an hour, checking out the small museum.

People not already familiar with the tragic story are encouraged to check out this link on Wikipedia.  The long and the short of it is that a group of over 80 settlers were trying to make their way to California and were trapped at this spot during the winter of 1846.  Only half survived.

The memorial shown to the left is impressive in its own right, but the height of the main pedestal is 22 feet... the amount of snow that fell that winter that trapped the settlers!

(Kinda makes our winter campouts look pretty easy by comparison.  It's always humbling to learn about what the early pioneers had to put up with.)

The learning center at the rest stop was equally impressive (even outside learning about the Donner Party).  There were nice dioramas describing the history of the area, and displays that talked about all the local wildlife.  Of particular interest to at least a couple of the scouts was the long wall showing specimens of local butterflies!  It went on, and on, and on, each nicely arranged as shown here.