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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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August 20, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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August 20, 2014
 

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 1B Hikers on the donkey walk stop for a group photo at Smith Lake before descending Lake bridge. Photos by Laura Beaton the road and trail along Wapaunsie Creek back to the trailhead at the Snake Plumas County Museum Director Scott Lawson, with his donkey Bonita, pauses on the trail to share historical, ecological and cultural information about the mining and logging days of Gopher Hill and Snake Lake in the late 1800s. Laura Beaton Staff Writer Ibeaton@plumasnews.com n eager group of hikers took a walk back in time during a guided hike highlighting ecological, historical and cultural aspects of the Snake Lake area. Plumas County Museum Director Scott Lawson and his son Sam:led their two lmck~ ..... animals and 16 interested" hikers on an 8-mile walk from the former townsite of New Boston to Snake Lake, Smith Lake and back to New Boston on Friday, Aug. 8. As Lawson's two donkeys were packed up with food, water, backpacks and a in'st aid kit, Lawson told the story of Bonita, the wild donkey he acquired from Navajo country. He said when the wild herds become too big, the Navajo round up the donkeys and sell the surplus. After Lawson bought Bonita, a standard donkey (there are also miniature and mammoth breeds) and brought her home, he was surprised at how big and healthy she appeared. Three weeks later Bonita gave birth to a daughter, whom Lawson named Alice. Now, six years later, Alice carries the heavier pack boxes that Lawson built while Bonita carries canvas saddle bags. The 400-pound donkeys can carry about one-quarter of their body weight, Lawson said. The walk began near the Snake Lake bridge off Bucks Lake Road, the site of the historical short-lived and long-gone New Boston mining town and trading post. There was a huge influx of miners to Plumas County in the 1850s after gold was discovered in what is now Plumas-Eureka State Park. Many miners staked claims and worked along Spanish and Wapaunsie creeks near Meadow Valley. The hike Hikers walked across the Snake Lake bridge and after a' quarter-mile headed east on a dirt road past the former county dump near Gopher Hill Mine. The tour veered onto an old Spanish Peak Lumber Co. narrow-gauge railroad grade and portions of the Beckwourth Emigrant Trail. The Waft, often steep and undulating, passed by relics from mining and logging days and denuded hills where hydraulic water cannons washed millions in gold from the earth in the late 1800s. After the mining frenzy subsided, the timber industry Above, the donkeys bring up the rear as hikers make their way down Wapaunsie Creek, once a thriving mining mecca near the long-gone town of New Boston. took hold and virgin forests of old growth conifers were cut down and hauled away on narrow-gauge railcars. Hikers explored half-rotted remnants of an old "donkey engine sled," a structure constructed from flat-bottomed timbers 30 - 40 feet long and 2 to 3 feet in diameter. The sleds were used to drag logs to a logging deck before they were See Donkey Walk, page 16B This horse, one of a trio of horses and riders encountered on the trail, gets up close and personal with Alice, who appeared to be the first donkey the horse had ever met. Sam Lawson watches the encounter at back left. Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health GROWS to better serve the community's heart care needs. Renown's three new heart doctors look forward to treating patients in Reno, Sparks, Carson Valley, Fallon, Hawthrone, Winnemucca, Yerington and eastern California, including Bishop, Mammoth and Susanville. Thomas-Duythuc To, MD Board Certifications: Internal medicine Specialties: Preventive and clinical cardiology, vascular medicine and imaging Board Eligible in cardiovascular disease Troy Wiedenbeck, MD Board Certifications: Internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, echocardiography Specialties: Interventional cardiology, preventive and clinical cardiology Christopher Wilson, MD, PhD Board Certifications: Internal medicine Specialties: Preventive and clinical cardiology and imaging Board Eligible in cardiovascular disease To schedule an appointment, call 775-982-2400 renown.org/heart HEALTH where can happen! lEA Senior Living is pleased to announce the opening of ALZHEIMER'S SPECIAL CENTER We are new to Nevada, but not to for those with dementia,.. 25+ years of creating Meaningful Moments 6155 Stone Valley Dr.:[ Reno, NV 89523 '[ (775) 746-2200 i