Donner Party Hike: Survivor Lewis Keseberg to be portrayed in Chautauqua performance | SierraSun.com

Donner Party Hike: Survivor Lewis Keseberg to be portrayed in Chautauqua performance

Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Lewis Keseberg, perhaps the most infamous, and vilified, member of the Donner Party, will be portrayed in a Chautauqua performance at this yearand#8217;s 19th Annual Donner Party Hike event Oct. 8, 2011.

Lewis Keseberg, 32, was the last member of the Donner Party to be rescued, by the Fourth Relief. Upon his arrival at Sutterand#8217;s Fort, he filed an action for defamation. Presumably the allegedly defamatory statements were the stories spread by the Fourth Relief Keseberg had killed Tamsen Donner for her money. The court found for Keseberg, but awarded him only one dollar in damages.

A Tahoe local since 1974, David Fenimore, Director of Undergraduate Studies in English and Core Humanities Instructor at University of Nevada, Reno, will treat Donner Party Hike participants to a top-notch Chautauqua performance of Lewis Keseberg. Chautauqua is where someone portrays a character through the characterand#8217;s own words and brings the character alive, plus adds commentary on todayand#8217;s issues.

Donner Party Hike participants can experience the early emigrantsand#8217; journey across the Sierra Nevada mountains Oct. 8 and 9 by choosing from six different hikes on Saturday, and on Sunday a walking tour. All events offer insight into emigrant history from area guides, along with invigorating recreation and beautiful scenery.

Saturdayand#8217;s hikes begin and end at the Mt. Judah Lodge at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort located on Highway 40 on Donner Summit. Guides will lead groups of approximately 15-20 people to interpretive spots giving detailed historical information focused on emigrant and area history. In the afternoon, hikers will enjoy a barbecue lunch and Chautauqua performance in the afternoon.

Sunday offers a more relaxed walking tour departing from the Donner Camp Picnic Area, located on Highway 89 North. Activities include a walking tour where guides will detail the Donner Partyand#8217;s encampment, a visit to the Murphyand#8217;s Cabin Site and entrance to the Donner Memorial State Park Museum offering a historical movie about the Donner Party. Participants will need to provide their own transportation to the Donner Memorial State Park.

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Space is limited for all events and reservations are required. Saturday hikes are $50 per hiker and includes a guided hike, commemorative water bottle, barbecue lunch and afternoon presentation. Sundayand#8217;s walking tour is $15 and includes the guided walk and entrance to the Emigrant Trail Museum. Two-day hike package is $65.

Complete hike descriptions and registration forms can be found at http://www.truckee.com or by contacting the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce at 530-587-8808.

Sponsors of this event include: Cedar House Sport Hotel, Donner Lake Village Resort, Donner Memorial State Park, Hampton Inn and Suites Tahoe-Truckee, Larkspur Hotel Truckee-Tahoe, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, Town of Truckee, Truckee Donner Lodge and the U.S. Forest Service.

and#8212; Submitted to aedgett@sierrasun.com