At Family Nature Summits – Lake Tahoe Day 2

FNS hiking group

Another great hike at Family Nature Summits, this time to Donner Peak( 8,209 ft. high) and Mt. Judah (8,243 ft. high). We’re walking in the Tahoe National Forest with 18 hikers.

Dave L., our leader, shows us Donner Pass where the Donner party passed through in 1846.

If Donner sounds familiar, it was because the group of emigrants (that’s what they were called) were supposed to have eaten some of their party.

Donner Lake in the background

Today Donner Lake attracts swimmers, boaters and hikers but the history lives on of the exploits and travails of the settlers  who came to California for a better life.

Part of the hike was on the Pacific Crest Trail. It must be spring here since the trail sides are full of spring/summer flowers. Mule ears, shown at the top, were abundant.

On the way out, we walked through the railroad tunnels built by Chinese labor in the 1880s. The wall meant to hold these tunnels is referred to as the Chinese Wall.

Tunnels at Donner Pass

Now the tunnels have been abandoned by the railroads. Four-wheelers can drive through them and hikers can explore them.

In case you think that Family Nature Summits is all hiking, I want to convince you that it isn’t.

There are lots of activities for adults from easy rambles and flower walks to eco tours and even a book discussion. This year, they are discussing Wild, since we’re so close to the Pacific Crest Trail.

While I was hiking, Isa was hiking with the Bears, her Junior Naturalist group. She also did some nature studies in the creek. When I picked her up, she has a soaked sock full of “souvenir” rocks. And I didn’t even bother looking for the other sock.

Square dancing

In the evening, we had the traditional ice cream social and square dance.

FNS hires a local band and everyone dances. Square dancing is conducive to a large group, with many unattached people. Here’s Isa with her dance partner.


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