Eight miles beyond Emigrant Gap, at Cisco, one sees a branch road which leads to the old Meadow Lake Mining District, which in the ’sixties had a population of several thousands. A large town was built there, which is now totally abandoned.
Cisco to Summit, 13 Miles. At Summit a marvelous view is had in both directions, east and west. Westward the fall of the Sierras into the Sacramento Valley is apparently so gentle and easy as to lead one to wonder that he has risen so high, but eastward the descent is much more steep and abrupt. The rude granite in many places is almost barren though Sierran trees abound. The grade is easy, and the new grade and tunnel under the Southern Pacific tracks makes an added improvement. Almost immediately on emerging from this tunnel the full glory of the eastern view is forced upon the attention. At one’s feet, apparently, lies the placid surface of Donner Lake, its pure blue giving one a premonitory foretaste of the richer blues that await him at Tahoe, while beyond are the mountains that overlook the Great Basin of Nevada.
Summit to Truckee, 11 Miles. Rapidly the road descends, well engineered and easy to negotiate to any responsible driver, and before one is aware he is bowling along on the level Donner Boulevard, which is as perfect a piece of country road as can be found anywhere on earth. The Monument (not yet completed) erected by the Native Sons to the memory of the Donner Lake pioneers, and the Memorial Cross, erected on the spot where the unhappy party camped, are passed and in a few minutes Truckee is reached. This was once the scene of great lumber activities but now much reduced, although it is the shipping point for Hobarts Mills, which is one of the largest lumber camps of the West.
Here the road to Tahoe turns sharply to the south, and the fifteen miles run to the Tavern is made in the picturesque canyon of the Truckee River fully described in another chapter.
The elevations are Sacramento, 32 feet; Auburn, 1360; Colfax, 2422; Emigrant Gap, 5225; Cisco, 5940; Summit, 7018; Truckee, 5819; Tahoe Tavern, 6240.
On Tuesday, June 9, 1914, I had the pleasure of making the first trip of the season over the new Tahoe Boulevard from Tahoe to Tallac. Let me here quote the account written at the time:
It was a fine morning, clear and just cool enough to be pleasant, no wind, sun shining through the trees, the Lake glistening in its richest morning glory, the air like wine, birds singing everywhere, chipmunks chattering as they ran up and down the trees, and we as full of life as they, when we made the start. Our machine was a Chalmers 20, a first-class chauffeur at the wheel, with instructions to go slow, let us see all there was, and to run no risks if the winter’s snows and storms had interfered with the safety of the road. We didn’t even wear overcoats, though all the peaks were covered with snow.