Thursday, 2 March 2017

California Here I Come

...but thankfully not right back where I started from.  Early morning on Sunday October 23rd and hostess Kim Harris comes out in her dressing gown to see us leave..
 A quick stop at the Genoa Pony Express Monument on the way out of town...
 This is across the road from the museum and marks the site of the original Mandlebaum and Klauber's store which also doubled up as a Pony Express station for a while.
After a couple of miles we came to Walley's Hot Springs where there has been a spa since 1862.
 Famous visitors over the years have included Mark Twain, Ulysses Grant, Clark Gable, Baby-Face Nelson, and more recently Rowena.
After advice from Petra, we had opted to follow the original Pony Express route which looped south of the Carson Range through Woodfords and over Luther Pass. The alternative route which was being used within a few weeks of the start of the Pony Express service was a short cut over the Carson Range to Lake Tahoe soon after leaving Genoa, following the steep valley shown in the photo below....
 Notice the rather dilapidated but relevant sign for the Pony Express Stables in the foreground, (a modern establishment I hasten to add).  From here the riders scrambled up the steep Kingsbury Grade and crossed the Daggett Pass and down to Friday's Station by Lake Tahoe (then called Lake Bigler). If the track was impassable due to winter snows the longer but easier Woodfords route was used, and that was the way we went.

Not very welcoming...
 This photo shows the Carson Range not far from the modern vehicle turnoff for the Kingsbury Grade, and gives an idea of what the riders were facing by taking this short cut. You can see there is already a sprinkling of snow on the peaks.
A muppet is out to support me on my way ....
 .......crossing the border into California!....
 By the Pony Express monument at Woodfords.....
 A little further on up the deep valley we found a peaceful camp spot in beautiful surroundings at Crystal Springs beneath Cary Peak....
But not as sheltered as it appeared, as a storm blew in overnight with a howling gale and rain. The rig swayed and great pine cones clonked on the roof. Lady was relatively sheltered on the lee side of the trailer with a rug on, but I was relieved when the wind eventually began to die down near dawn.
The following morning Monday October 24th we tramped off along the road to Meyers in the cold and wet, over Luther Pass and down the other side...
Meyers was the location of Yank's station (named after owner Ephraim 'Yank' Clement), where there was a large three storey hotel with adjacent corral, barn, and stabling.  Besides functioning as a stage station, it was also used by the Pony Express. However it was destroyed by fire in 1938 and a supermarket stands in its place.
Near this point the trail rejoins the route over Daggett Pass and starts to climb up the eastern escarpment of the Sierra Nevada to Johnson Pass.  I had been a little worried about negotiating this pass, but conveniently it is possible for foot traffic to use an abandoned section of road which has been replaced by the new Highway 50....
 ....though the fallen rocks littering the upper sections were a trifle worrying!.....
It was a long steep climb which involved a tricky crossing of Highway 50, but we reached the top unscathed by falling rocks and traffic.
Did I really climb all the way up from there? Lady surveys the view from Johnson's Pass on the old road ...
You may just be able to see the blue glint of Lake Tahoe, where Friday's Station was located.  Woodfords is off to the right.   
We found a place to park up overnight just beyond the summit and no snow imminently forecast.  A relief as the tracks through the Sierra Nevada become impassable once heavy snow falls, usually at the end of October/beginning of November.  In a couple of days I would be far enough down the western flank of the mountains to be clear of danger.

1 comment:

  1. You have explored so much good places while travelling to California and then explored this city also. Its always good to explore new cities and countries. Travelling is my favorite hobby.

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