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Snowshoe Thompson LbNA #16882

Owner:artTrekker Contact Supporter
Plant date:Jul 27, 2005
Location: Carson Pass
Found by: MamaSquirrel
Last found: Jul 22, 2013
Hike distance:Unknown
Last edited:Jul 27, 2005
From the URL

From 1856 to 1876 Snowshoe Thompson made legendary 90 mile treks over snowdrifts up to 50 feet high and through blizzards with up to 80 mile per hour winds, to deliver mail to those living in isolation.

All attempts by postmen to cross the Sierra on woven Canadian and Native American snowshoes had failed until one day in late 1855, Thompson saw an ad in the Sacramento Union: "People Lost to the World; Uncle Sam Needs a Mail Carrier." He had had personal experience with mail deprivation, having once received long delayed news of a flu epidemic which claimed his mother's life, and quickly applied for the job.

As a young child in the Telemark region of Norway, ski shaped snow-shoes (called ski-skates) were as common as ordinary shoes. A crowd formed in Placerville for his first mail run in January, 1856. Few had faith that he would make it over the 7,500 foot passes on his homemade 10 foot long, 25 pound oak skis. But one optimistic voice in the crowd called out: "Good luck, Snowshoe Thompson" and he set out to become a legendary postman and father of California skiing.

Two to four times a month for twenty winters, regardless of weather, Snowshoe Thompson set out at the appointed hour. His mail run took 3 days from Placerville to Mormon Station, Utah (Nevada's first town,later called Genoa when Nevada became a state), and two days on the return trip. The people of the pioneer settlement knew when to expect his arrival. Baking was left in the oven and abandoned meals grew cold. Everyone ran outdoors looking up to the top of Genoa Peak to watch as the tall blond norseman descended, streaks of snow flying in his wake.

It is really worth pulling up the page this came from--there is a lot more information as well as anecdotes about Snowshoe Thompson, who, incidentally, was never paid for delivering the U.S. mail. He did so for 20 winters--more lasting than the Pony Express--and made friends and garnered grateful admiration wherever he went.

Clues: Carson Pass, Hwy 88 (It's almost a drive-by.)
Pull in to the parking lot and take a peek at the obelisk monument to this amazing character from California's gold rush days. You can start at the trail head and hike into Mokelumne Wilderness (the wildflowers are spectacular right now!), stop at the info center to look at maps, or just go right to the box. To do this, you want to go just a little further east/SE on 88 to the first little road on the right. Turn onto it and park close to the green fee pipe. (It's $3 to park. If you're quick, or if it's after hours, you can probably get away with not paying. Then again, it's always nice to help support efforts that keep wonderful places accessible and open.)

Walk down the right side of the road about 55 steps from the fee pipe. Stop and look to 60*. Do you see the gorgeous mountain juniper up on the rocky escarpment? Go to it (carefully, it's very rocky here) and look around the southeast side. Snowshoe Thompson is stuck into a cleft in the bark of this magnificent tree, hiding behind a piece of weathered wood, and next to the rocks that come right to the tree. Have fun!

Thank you in advance for rehiding really well. Please contact the placer directly with updates & do not enter into any database.