Monday, December 27, 2010

Reenactments in the California Sierra Mountains

I love living in the Sierra Mountains where the 1849 Gold Rush brought a lot of people to our area. Part of the pleasure of living here are the museums, traditions and old timers that still have memories – and they love to share them with anyone who is clever enough to listen. History is my favorite genre because there are so many interesting tales.

One of the traditions is to bring a wagon train over the high pass between Lake Tahoe and Placerville every year. The historical reenactment of the “Great Western Migration,” a designated bi-state event that takes place in California and Nevada, happens every June. All wagons are authentic vintage replicas and period clothing is worn at all times by wagon train participants.
School groups often travel with them for one or two days, doing all the things a child might have done 150 years ago when he or she traveled west with their parents. It takes about a week and the people who relive this experience make it as close to the actual event that it seems real. The highway patrol closes the road and the horses plod along with their loads. They spend a night in the parking lot of the bowling alley down the road from us and the last day, they ride in a parade through town before throwing a huge barbeque.

We are also on the route of the pony express rider.
One year my daughter and I were at the post office and when we came out, there he was – a reenactment pony express rider, carrying mail back over the high pass toward Lake Tahoe. We followed behind him all the way to our turnoff. Can you imagine how long it took a letter to travel from here to ‘there’, wherever ‘there’ was?

The story of the Pony Express has continued to fascinate Americans since Johnny Fry left St. Joseph April 3, 1860, heading west to Sacramento, CA.
This relay mail service celebrated 150 years on April 3, 2010. The Central Overland and California Pikes Peak Express Company carried letters and telegrams for 19 months proving the train and pony with riders could make the trip over 1,966 miles in 10-14 days.


  1. Second picture is where I board my horse in the summer. LOL

  2. Really? How cool is that. Beautiful country.

  3. Paisley
    I've never been to a reenactment of historical event any kind but your post made me think I'm missing out on a great experience!
    Loved the photos.

  4. Paisley, you live in such an interesting area. I'm so glad you are wise enough to profit from all the historic sites and events. Thanks so much for sharing them with us! Great photos, too.

  5. This sounds wonderful, and something I would love to see. Thanks for telling us about it, Paisley. :)

  6. What I love about reenactments, Marin, is getting to step back in time to see how life was. These are so close to the way it is, it helps me with my stories. I use my area as part of the spice.

  7. Thanks, Caroline. The photos are fun to post because our area is so gorgeous. There is so much history around me that it keeps my imagination flowing all the time. :)

  8. I hope you can come our way, Ashley. Even as pretty as the photos are, it doesn't always give the Sierra Mountains justice.

  9. PAISLEY--how wonderful. I haven't witnessed this one, and it sounds quite elaborate. Here in Texas, there's a "Trail Ride" connected to the Rodeo in San Antonio--a huge event. The ride begins somewhere around Dallas and ends at the rodeo in the colliseum. The riders dress in western garb, and most ride horses--not wagons, although there are a few wagons--the chuck wagon and other supplies. The camp out at night and everything. Like yours, this one attracts riders who come along some small portion.
    When it arrives down here, they ride along Ranch Road 12 where I live. This is in the spring, and often, I've drive out to the road to go into town, but police and sheriff escorts have traffice blocked. I don't mind, because I love to watch the procession--they carry a lot of flags, too.
    The ride right through the middle of town and on to the highway toward San Antonio. Thanks for this post--it's so good! Celia

  10. Thanks, Celia. Some of te participants are friends and they love doing it - tiring, but worth it all.

  11. Paisley,
    The photos are beautiful, and the stories are exciting enough to interest many people to schedule their vacations for the events. I'd love to be there for the fun!


  12. Thanks, Jeanmarie. I am glad you could break away from your busy schedule today. This area is so beautiful any time of the year.

  13. How cool, Paisley! Historical reenactments are so much fun to watch as well as participate in.
    I live in Philadelphia and on Christmas Day, colonial reenactors do a recreation of Washington crossing the Delaware at Washington Crossing state park. There's also a colonial reenactment in the city depicting the battle of Germantown during the Revoluntionary War.

    We have a lot of colonial reenactors in the city who give tours and Ben Franklin is frequently seen around town.

    And in locations not too far outside the city, Civil War battles are fought on weekends in the warmer months.

  14. Paisley, You're certainly lucky to live in such a rich area! I'm excited to learn there's a re-enactment of the wagon train over the pass--that's going in our "must see" folder. Thanks so much for sharing.


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