From May 6 - June 6, 2006, a team of backpackers followed the
Hastings Cutoff from Donner Spring, Utah to the junction of Huntington
Creek and Smith Creek; then turned west , proceeding cross country
to Battle Mountain, NV. - 32 days and about 300 mi. We hiked cross
country south of the Humboldt River and the California Trail joining
the river south of Carlin; following it through Palisade Canyon.
We rejoined the emigrant trail briefly from Gravelly Ford to Beowawe.
The river and trail turned north at Beowawe; our team continued
west to Battle Mountain. The team included Lee Bergthold, team
leader, Tina Bowers, Connie Simpkins, and Al Caler (me). John
O'Callaghan supported with water and scheduled food drops. Brenda
Avadian and Mike Babcock provided communications and publicity
on the home front.
The HCO, made famous by the Donner-Reed Party tragedy, was part
of the California Trail. The cutoff, promoted by Lansford W. Hastings,
saw most travelers from 1846-1850. The trail proved to be longer
and required more time than Hastings claimed. The Ruby Mt. - Huntington
Valley segment did have the advantage of plentiful water and grass.
See the California Trail Center pages,
added in 20014, for more background information. The center is
a recent addition to the trail.