Exploring the local landscape can be an effective tool for re-invigorating the creative process. I am currently in a situation where I need to live in a location that is not ideal for me. I really miss the lush green landscape of the Pacific Northwest, so instead of constantly complaining about my environmental situation, I have started looking for beauty in the nearby areas. Think of it somewhat like an old time animal safari hunt, but with a twist that I am on a pleasant environment quest looking for moments of beauty and peace in the nearby trails, parks, and towns. So far this process has had good results in making everyone feel refreshed and ready to go back to work spaces with a new vitality.
The following are the images that we collected during our visit to the Donner Memorial State Park, which is just west of Truckee, CA on Interstate 80. About a week ago the Sierra Nevada Range was blessed with several much needed snow falls, so parts of the trail and grounds still had remnants of those storms. A very merger amount compared to what the area needs and to what the Donner Party themselves, whom the area is named after, experienced well over a 100 years ago. It was this unfortunate group of pioneers heading west to California that the Donner Lake and the Donner Memorial State Park is named after. These were the ill famed settlers that either starved to death, succumbed to the elements, or were forced to apparent cannibalism to survive the severe conditions. They are definitely the poster children for the idea that not all short cuts or worth taking. They also made the mistake of not listening to the expert mountain men that told them not to take Hasting’s short cut, which could also be a lesson on doing due diligence on the people one works with or takes advice from.
The small museum structure has a modest display area, kindly staff, and a winding outdoor trail path with marked points of interest. Books on the subject matter of the Donner Party and other historical local topics can be found in the gift shop area. It is $8.00 to park in the lot which gives everyone within the vehicle admission and a chance to walk around the grounds, which for a car load of guests is worth the short adventure trip up the mountain. Donner Lake and the city of Truckee are nearby for other shopping and needs. I was fortunate enough to get some inspiring photos for my artwork, so the little trip was well worth the effort.
G. Winkler © 2014