you you hi I'm press today I'm at Donner Lake State Park in California and I'm gonna do some snowshoeing up in the mountains just above the lake here and I'm also going to talk a little bit about the Donner Party and what went wrong that winter of 1846 22 feet the lake is down there can barely see it the snows clouds have kind of closed it up but that's where they spent the winter we finally got some help a couple of the members were able to break off from the group and get over the pass and because of the American Mexican War in 1846 it wasn't a lot of people to send out a rescue party so they had the kind of delay it and then by mid-february they ended up pulling a group together and it took him several more weeks to get to get up and over the pass to bring some help to him and at that point food had run out they had plenty of water because of the snow but they were resorted to boiling bone from like oxen and actually eating eating tree bark and the fibers from the tree just to kind of not be gnawing on something just to take away that edge and then at that point people started to perish in the die and that's when at some points cannibalism took place people resorted to eating members of their own families even it's a quite quite horrific ordeal that they went through they lost a lot of weight a lot of people died but there's the pass if we're gonna get up in here get up this way this is where the Donner Party got stuck they made several attempts to get up over the pass right here and the snow was so over the wind and the snow was so strong that they had to keep turning back they came I think they did five attempts and they came went back to the lake and ended up staying there and the snow got so deep that they became snow boned but you can see how the snow would just it would just go for days the snowstorms would just go for days and it would just be feet and feet and feet of snow and so they were stuck they couldn't even go back down the mountain let alone continue on up the mountain so it was pretty a desperate situation for them folks in 18 winter of 1846 1847 really I think when I read heard their biggest mistake was that they on their way out they had a pretty smooth trip on the the California trail from Independence Missouri and they got through Missouri and got into Wyoming and then at Fort Bridger southwestern Wyoming they heard about a new route a shortcut and they actually they call it a cut-off it was called the Hastings cutoff and it was supposed to go from Fort Bridger softened to the the Wasatch Range and then around softer the Great Salt Lake and then head back up to the main trail and it turned out the 300 miles that they were gonna save it was so rugged and so so windy and it was just a rough road so that put them back by three weeks I believe and it just made things harder and harder and harder on them and then once you get to Northern Nevada it's just you're in the great base and you're in the desert and there's not much to there's the Humboldt River which people followed – to Reno which is called the Truckee Meadows back in that time and that was a very small river and it just just rained into a big sinkhole and so was just a long treacherous journey to get up open over the pass and down into California and into hospitable country but they had a lot of conflict amongst themselves and tensions and even at one point a couple of couple of the members of the Donna Reed party were moving up a hill with their horses and the horses bumped into each other and something happened and they got into a big fight and next thing you know somebody pulls out a knife stabbed him and actually murdered somebody because the tensions were so high and they didn't know what to do with this guy they thought they're gonna either hang him the guy that murdered the other guy or they weren't sure what to do so they cut him loose from the group and sent him off into the desert on his own and apparently he hiked out here on all by himself had to leave his family and everything when the downer party left from Springfield Illinois in the spring of 1846 they had 87 people in their party but because of delays and friction within the group they did not get to the base of the Sierra Nevadas until late October and in fact they were one of them they were the last party to attempt across the past year and the first snowstorm of the year was early November and that's the snowstorm that prevented them from getting over the pass and that's when they went down to the lake and they were down there until mid February before the first rescue party from California was able to come over and provide some assistance and then it was still another four or five weeks well in the March after that before the remaining survivors were helped over the past year in the California so ever the 87 people that made the trip to California only 48 made it and exhaustion's extreme cold and starvation to the rest but of the people that did make it to California many have went on to lead productive lives over there but the memories of that winter haunted them for the rest of their days

Donner Party TRAGEDY! Snowshoeing The Sierra Nevada
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17 thoughts on “Donner Party TRAGEDY! Snowshoeing The Sierra Nevada

  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    people need to reflect on our past/history every now and then to realize just how lucky we are to be in the present day…..having to do daily struggles to live/survive made those people very strong…you just dont see that in modern times…..

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    I guess someone actually ran the distance and the short cut was 9 miles ! Not much of a short cut , but they rolled the dice and lost .
    Plus the Indian attacks after their short cut took a toll . It didn't work out for them , but those people had some big nads !

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Great video and thank you for showing the beautiful environment; that sadly defeated most of the Donner Party. I enjoy learning about all things related to the Oregon Trail – especially having to do with the Reed-Donner Party. Great job. Audio needs tweaking, but perhaps it's the weather that interfered with portions of the sound.

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Read the book "Ordeal By Hunger". Chill you to the bone. PromiseğŸ˜Ž

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    They never ate kinğŸ˜Ž

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    This was really cool story telling! Especially in the middle of a snow storm! Awesome idea for a video. Thanks for braving the elements to film this.

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    I have a friend that's a direct descendant of the donners. Oh my gosh y'all tell me why it auto corrected donner to dinner.. Wowsers

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Wow, 171 years ago. Think of the change in the landscape since then. There has been some huge deforestion going on there. There must have been hundreds of trees to get through at the time.

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    This party of emigrants had actually read about Hasting's Cutoff before leaving Illinois.  They were advised by experienced mountain–man James Clyman against taking the cutoff when they ran into him on their journey west.  Unfortunately Reed took the cutoff, along with others.

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Why didn't they do some fishing for food at the lake?

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Nice video, but unless I'm mistaken, no one had to eat their own kin. They labeled and separated body parts to avoid doing so.

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    damn you, Lansford Hastings! it's all your fault. you and your goddamn "short cut"

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    it was reed that  killed a guy and he was banished, he organized groups to save the people in the mountains

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    never take a short cut!!

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Get a boom mic, your video inaudible.

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Thank you for the bit of history. Beautiful powder. Looks like the snow shoes work well.

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  • June 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm
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    Thanks for watching. I have a lot more adventures planned! ( more snowshoeing, skiing, desert hikes in the Black Rock Desert and Wild Mustangs of Nevada…)

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