Monday found Monica and I searching for the end of the Overland Emigrant Trail. There was more than one trail named "The Overland Emigrant Trail," but the one we were following is generally considered one of the oldest, and most well known. Also called the Truckee Trail it weaves its way down the west slope of The Sierra Nevada all the way from Donner Pass, or Beckworth Pass to the south. Pictured is the trail the relief party took to rescue The Donner’s, Reeds, Murphy’s and others stranded in the deep snow at Donner Lake. The survivors made there way down this very trail seen in the above photo. You can look at the ruts at the top of the hill which were created by the thousands of emigrant wagons that once crossed over what would be one of the last hills to pass before finally reaching their destination, Johnson’s Ranch.
We took these photos at Far West Reservoir Road, just east of Wheatland, the town that grew up around Johnson's Ranch. There is also a stone monument you can see in the third photo with Monica. It is for Graham hotel, built in 1853, which served travelers until 1879. The emigrants that traveled this way were not looking for gold, like later arrivals. This trail was used mostly before the gold rush of 1849 by people just looking to start a new life. Once the emigrants and other travelers passed this spot, it was only a few miles to Johnson's Ranch and the end of the trail. Once at Johnson's Ranch an immigrant would either settle nearby or head off to another part of California to start a new life.