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what do you want to know about the Sierra?

A place to explore the natural setting (geology, flora & fauna), people, constructed infrastructure and historical events that play and have played a part in shaping the Sierra Nevada as we know it today.

Re: what do you want to know about the Sierra?

Postby dave54 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:33 am

One of my pet hobbies is reading about the pioneering families and learning how features got their names -- which is often named after the pioneering families, and event that happened, or an unusual shape of a landmark.

Hambone Butte in Shasta County has a colorful history, as does JimJam Ridge in Siskiyou County, Penitentiary Flat in Lassen, and Humbug Valley in Plumas.

It took me a while to figger out Cement Panther Creek. But I found it -- a rock formation of marine conglomerate that from the right angle looks like a mountain lion (sort of).
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Re: what do you want to know about the Sierra?

Postby gdurkee » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:02 am

Big Ed: I think that trail came wound just south of the Sequoia boundary, came through Hockett Meadow and then down to the south fork of the Kaweah and Visalia. Though maybe we're talking different trails -- that was a cattle/sheep trail, though used very early (1870s??) -- taking stock from Central Valley to pastures on Inyo. Later, during severe droughts, they started using High Sierra meadow.
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Re: what do you want to know about the Sierra?

Postby Big Ed » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:21 am

Sounds like a different trial, that would be a lot of north south going from Reds Meadow to Visalia. Plus it was a wooden road for settlers going from the east to California.
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Re: what do you want to know about the Sierra?

Postby gdurkee » Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:35 pm

Interesting. I can't imagine an East West trail from Reds Meadow area that was used by immigrants. That's gnarly terrain and I'd not heard of anything south of Sonora Pass for the early 1840s -- 1850s era travelers. As mentioned, the only trail anywhere near Reds was the Hockett Trail and that was for cattle etc. not much for any immigrant groups. The Transcontinental RR was completed in 1869, so that limits where those foot/horse groups were coming in by.

The Minarets were a major barrier to easy travel as was the Sierra south of there. There's definite gaps in my knowledge, but I can't think of anything south of Sonora Pass that was used. The terrain to the east from Missouri essentially took wagons to Salt Lake, then into the Humboldt sink. There, they headed to Oregon or over the Sierra at Tahoe, Donner (when that was improved) and Sonora (ditto). Not south of there as far as I know though I'm very open to anything you have. Getting to Reds via the Humboldt drainage was another formidable barrier (see "A Way Across the Mountains" by Scott Stine on the Walker party in 1833. An excellent description of the terrain/route choices faced by all explorers and immigrants from then into the 1850s).
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Re: what do you want to know about the Sierra?

Postby rlown » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:03 pm

Seems like plank roads were used on US 80 and in the Imperial valley over the sand.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Plank_Road

Tioga road seemed to have some as well. I could not find the dot to dot road you mentioned Big Ed.

I know they hauled wagons over via Horse creek to Plasse as I've seen the bolts in the trees to haul them up from Summit City creek out of Blue lakes. (You really want to do that if you try; what a PITA)
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Re: what do you want to know about the Sierra?

Postby Big Ed » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:30 pm

My only knowledge of this is the pictures and story at the Red's Meadow Cafe. I also know He'll For Sure Pass was used by settlers, east of Courtright (Fresno). I've been over that Pass a couple times.
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Re: what do you want to know about the Sierra?

Postby Jimr » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:27 pm

(see "A Way Across the Mountains" by Scott Stine on the Walker party in 1833. An excellent description of the terrain/route choices faced by all explorers and immigrants from then into the 1850s)


I read that book a month or two ago. I loved it. I especially loved they idea that Scott was following Walker through the Sierra rather than pulling him through. It also encouraged me to read the "Narrative of the Adventures of Zenas Leonard" This is the first hand writing from the trip historian and the major focus for Scott's work. I also really liked his attention to detail to the extent that he interviewed one of the local packers to understand what is feesable in mileage when traveling with stock.
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