Trail from Alder Creek to Tahoe Donner a fun run (but watch out for beaver work)
October 1, 2010
The section of the Emigrant Trail from Alder Creek to Tahoe Donner is so much fun. There is just the slightest bit of incline and, for the most part, the trail maintenance is great. In other words, thereandamp;#8217;s some good, clean running here. Well, except where the beavers have gotten very ambitious.To get there, I usually start from the Donner Picnic area just off Highway 89, or you can drive up Alder Creek about a half-mile and there is a turnout on the side of the road. There really is only room for maybe two cars at the turnout. So, start from the picnic site across the highway, like youandamp;#8217;re going to run andamp;#8220;the Animalandamp;#8221; trail. Youandamp;#8217;ll stay on the Emigrant Trail all the way until you cross Alder Creek Road. Thatandamp;#8217;s about one mile. Once on this section, you gently climb uphill as far as you choose to run. There are several creek crossings with well-made bridges. Another mile and youandamp;#8217;ll cross a road again. Go straight across the road and stay on the trail. This is where the trail becomes interesting.The beavers always seem to be busy on this creek, but this year they have outdone themselves. From this point all the way to the camp ground, about 2 or 3 miles, youandamp;#8217;ll come across many points where the creek has been redirected onto the trail or the trail crossings are just very deep. Fortunately, there is always a way to cross without getting wet. Normally I would talk about moving forward (an ultrarunnerandamp;#8217;s mantra, andamp;#8220;relentless forward motionandamp;#8221;), but here I think it is worth stopping and enjoying the hard work of these animals. Itandamp;#8217;s quite impressive. Thatandamp;#8217;s not to mention the work the Forest Service has been doing throughout this corridor. Iandamp;#8217;m never a fan of how a forest looks just after it has been cleaned up, but I always try to put that aside and think about how they are working to create a safe forest for us and keep us fire free. There is still a lot of work to be done, yet they have come a long way.Safe trails, safe forests … maybe my message should be to go out and spend some time volunteering on trails this fall, or work on defensible space, or, get a picture of a beaver in action.andamp;#8212; Peter Fain is a local trail runner who competes regularly in regional trail races and snowshoe runs in the winter. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.