Donner - Reed Tragedy by Ted Davidson


The Great Salt Desert (August 30, 1846)
Already having come twenty miles from the springs in Skull Valley on the eighty mile dry drive across the desert, the party passed about three miles southwest of this spot. [Picture taken from the rest stop on Interstate 80; part of Greyback Ridge (relatively close on right) obscures the view of the salt desert between the ridge and Silver Island Mountains on the right horizons; Pilot Peak, Nevada is in the clouds to the right of post on right.]



South of Pilot Peak (September 11, 1846)
While moving along the base of the ridge that drops south from Pilot Peak (right side), the party endured a foreboding, early snowstorm, and then was further shocked-- it faced another long drive:dropping into the depression (center), climbing through a low gap [Silver Zone Pass], and going another ten miles to water at the base of the Pequop Mountains (center horizon).


Pilot Peak (September 2, 1846)

At the low pass in the Silver Island Mountains (far right), Reed was shocked when he saw that there was an additional thirteen miles of unexpected salt plain between him and the springs at the base of Pilot Peak--the end of the eighty mile waterless drive (center).




Springs West of Silver Zone Pass (September 13, 1846)

From the springs at the base of the Pequop Mountains, the party was able to look back toward [Silver Zone Pass] (center) and Pilot Peak (25 miles away, left horizon).

West of Spruce Mountains (September 16, 1846)

Looking east: The party came around the end of the mountains (distant center) that drop from Spruce Mountain (on right) and followed the trail (from distance to nearby center). [Picture taken near US Highway 93, where Nevada Sate Highway 229 begins and heads west toward the Ruby Mountains. The springs west of Silver Zone Pass are on the far side of the Pequop Mountains (center horizon).]

West of Spruce Mountains (September 16, 1846)

Looking west: The Party faced a new barrier--the Ruby Mountains. [Picture taken on Highway 229; remains of trail are south about 100 yards, parallel to the highway.]


The Ruby Mountains (September 18, 1846)
The party moved south along the base of the mountains, below the granite peaks to the west.


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