Sunday, August 17, 2014, was a day with two important discoveries. The first was a family get-together/picnic at Pinecrest Lake in the Sierras with App descendents who have an interest in preserving family history. Lois & Jerry O’Day, Laurie Ennis Walsh and her mother “Dot”, Ricky Modrell and his beautiful family, and me. We compared historical notes and thoughts and were surprised (and satisfied) that individually we had come to the same conclusions on various matters that involve questions on this segment of John App’s journey. History aside, it was great being with these wonderful people in a beautiful place after… well, 162 years!
After the picnic Lois and I drove up to Sonora Pass for a glimpse of the geography that John App and the Clark-Skidmore Party needed to overcome to arrive safely in Sonora, California. In yesterday’s post I had been talking about John’s arrival and showed some pictures of golden, rolling hills and an arrival from the north of Sonora. Please understand that this was MY arrival into Sonora from the north on a paved road in an air-conditioned car. In this post I have included some photos of JOHN’S trip toward Sonora, along with the Clark-Skidmore Party, in 1852. There is a dramatic difference in the two arrivals, as you can see.
In 1852 the Walker-River route that John App and the rest took was essentially an unproven route (except for the Bartleson-Bidwell Party 11 years prior in 1841). They had no road, 57 hungry men, and crossed the pass at over 9,600 feet. A person can read about their trip and understand it, but they would have to actually be here in person to appreciate the enormity of this feat. Even the pictures displayed here cannot do justice to the situation, but they will have to suffice.
In the photo of the plaque there is a line that reads “This route was not attempted by wagons until 1852”, which is a reference to the Clark-Skidmore Party and their struggles. This is followed by a comment by “Grizzly Adams” (yes, the real Grizzly Adams who lived in this area) about the wagon parts he found from the Party’s slog through the mountains two years prior.
What an interesting day!