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.
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dave54
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Re: what do you want to know about the Sierra?

Post by dave54 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:33 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?

Post by gdurkee » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:02 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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Big Ed
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Re: what do you want to know about the Sierra?

Post by Big Ed » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:21 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?

Post by gdurkee » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:35 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?

Post by rlown » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:03 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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Big Ed
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Re: what do you want to know about the Sierra?

Post by Big Ed » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:30 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?

Post by Jimr » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:27 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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jeremiahkim
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Re: what do you want to know about the Sierra?

Post by jeremiahkim » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:02 pm

TehipiteTom wrote: For a really good roundup of the early history, check out Francis Farquhar's History of the Sierra Nevada.
Just picked up Farquhar and am really looking forward to it. Thanks for the recommendation!

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

Post by Big Ed » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:03 pm

rlown wrote: I could not find the dot to dot road you mentioned Big Ed.
It's mentioned here.

http://www.redsmeadow.com/history/

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

Post by gdurkee » Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:28 pm

It would be cool to find out more about the so-called French Trail. I took a closer look at a map and the only thing that suggests a route (and not a very practical one) is just following the San Joaquin. Pretty sure that wouldn't actually work the whole way. Hell for Sure was used by cattle and sheep people, probably starting in 1860s but didn't get well established until the 1870s. I can't imagine a regular route used by anyone there over to the east side. Muir went through there from Paiute Creek to Evolution Creek in ~1873. I've read his journal for that trip and there's no mention of any sign of people or domestic sheep or cattle. There is a classic description of Bighorn Sheep on the cascade on the switchbacks leading to Evolution Meadow.

In my post above, I'd forgotten about the Paiute Pass route -- significantly north of the Hockett Trail. It was a regular route used by Native Americans -- large camps all along the way -- and also followed by the Brewer party after returning from Kings Canyon via Keasarge. Also, there's French Canyon on that route so maybe some connection but hard to connect it out of Reds.Though, hmmm, could connect route roughly following current JMT to Mono Creek then down.

I'll see if I can find anything about that. Doesn't make a lot of sense but, who knows?

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