Tuesday, February 19, 2013

That Don't Taste Like Chicken

It's on this day (February 19th) in 1847 that rescuers reached the stranded Donner party. Now I think everyone has heard of the Donner's, but do you know their story? I admit, I did not know the story. So if you've heard this one, don't blow it for everyone else.

The Donner's were a group of California bound emigrants that became stranded by snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Apparently they chose poorly and didn't take the normal and well established trail to the west. They instead took a new trail recently blazed by California promoter Lansford Hastings, the so called "Hastings Cutoff". It was supposed to be a "short cut".

Apparently it wasn't anything of the sort and put the Donner's back three weeks and cost them precious supplies. Despite the lateness of the season, they pressed on and camped at Truckee Lake. That night an early winter storm came through the area and blocked the mountain pass, trapping the Donner Party.

Most of the group stayed by the lake, now known as Donner Lake (it's never good when they rename a place after you), while others took camp about six miles away at Alder Creek. This is where it starts to get dicey. They build shelters out of their wagons and killed their oxen for food. I'm here to tell you, once you come to a point that you have to convert your means of transportation into shelter in food... That is BAD.

Fifteen of the emigrants, later known as the Forlorn Hope, set out on snowshoes for Sutter's Fort to get help. Three weeks later after continuous brutal weather and lack of proper supplies, several of the expedition died. The others.... resorted to cannibalism to survive. Only seven reached a Native American village.

Finally news of the stranded party reached Sutter's fort and a rescue party was sent out on January 31st. Twenty days later, they arrived to find the survivors. Of the original 89 members of the party, only 45 made it out alive.

Now you know....

Twitter @MortisG187

Contact Jeff at author@jeffjake.com

Be sure to check out Jeff's sci-fi adventure, Assassin's Retribution. Available for Nook or Kindle.

Assassin's Retribution:
In the future, technology is the new currency. Assassins are used by companies to stop or steal the latest cybernetic designs. Natasha is one of the best in the business. However, a nemesis from her past has found her, and now she must hunt him down or be killed.

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