Schedule of Activities


We have many activities during the year. The calendar linked below is the best way to find out information on what is happening on any particular month.


You do not need to be a member to join us on any of our trips. If you have an interest in the emigrant era, or just want to get away for the weekend and have fun with friendly folks, you are more then welcome.



For a calendar of our upcoming events, click here.


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The field trips for this year are finalized and here’s what’s happening.


June 9-11 = Work trip with the BLM near the entrance to High Rock Canyon.
We’ll be metal detecting and checking the actual route of the Applegate/Lassen Trail between Fly Canyon and High Rock Canyon. We’ll be using metal detectors to locate evidence of the trail, photographing and recording finds, and working with BLM archaeologists on Friday and Saturday. Completed


June 23-25 = Install new markers on the Applegate trail in Oregon.
We’ll start a few miles south of Ashland, Oregon and end near Grants Pass, Oregon and install ten markers. 


July 12-15 = Fun trip on the second half of the Lassen Trail.
We’ll be continuing on from where we left off last year. Start at Bogard Rest Area on Hwy 44 and end at Vina/Los Molinos, Calif. on Hwy 99 where we will visit a winery, museum and the Lassen Rancho.


Sept 8-10 = Second half of new markers on the Applegate Trail in Oregon.
Start near Grants Pass, Oregon and end near Wolf Creek, Oregon and install eight markers.


Sept. 15-17 = Fun trip to follow the Hastings Cutoff.
We’ll start near Bidwell Pass, north of Wendover, Utah and end west of Elko at the BLM California Trail Interpretive Center. 


On our work trips, we can always use help and it’s an outstanding way for anyone to contribute to preserving our western heritage and having a great time too. Don’t let the work party name scare you off from attending, the work is easy and we always need note takers, photographers and “superintendents” – no experience necessary.
Our fun trips are just that. We follow an emigrant trail, view actual trail traces, and an historian will talk about what went happened on specific sections of the trail. Children of all ages are very welcome on our trips and it’s a great way to pass on a little history while having fun.
If you’re even thinking of attending one of these, let us know as that will put you on the mailing list for more on that trip’s information as it becomes available. It is best to email our trip coordinator at the email below.




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Well, our 2017 banquet is over and it came off without a hitch thanks to many members’ efforts.
The weekend started out with the Friday morning Board meeting where our Board zipped through a long list of pressing items. There was a good turnout of members to take part in the proceedings, make comments and partake of the lunch.
Our election ballots were counted and, we now have three new Board members and a revised set of Bylaws.


The festivities began on Friday evening with a get together. The food – wow! The club provided hors d’oeuvres were more than enough to go around. Matter of fact, the food went way beyond appetizers. Most everyone stayed late and made it count as dinner. The no host bar did a brisk business too. A great time must have been had by all as we had to start kicking folks out so the management could clean the room up. What a great way to start the festivities.


hors d'oeuvres TableA Few of the Hors D’oeuvres


On Saturday, there were two workshops available to keep us all busy. In the morning, member Dave Hollecker gave a presentation on the first crossing of the Sierras over Stevens Pass. Great photos of wagon wheel marks on rocks and stacked up rocks and logs were some of the evidence presented to support this route. At the end of his presentation he showed a video of some of our field trips from long ago. Lots of laughs when everyone saw how young we were back then. Good nostalgia trip for everyone and new members got an idea on how we did things in the “old days”.


In the afternoon, Ken Johnston, put on a great session on the Nobles Trail and some interesting facts on the Mr. Nobles whose name is on the trail. Lots of information that most of us were not aware of concerning this trail. Ken is working on a book about the Nobles and we’re all looking forward to it’s publication so we can learn more.


Saturday evening was the main event – our banquet. What a feast! The Sands Casino puts out some of the best banquet food in Reno. It’s a hit year after year.
                    Some of the attendees enjoying the evening meal


After dinner, there was a live auction and we raised $750 to help pay for the years activities. Here a glimpse of what folks were bidding for.


Some great artwork, old brass plates, rare books and outstanding tequila



There were a lot of deserved awards, announcements on upcoming events, prizes for best costumes, displays of past activities, trail guides for sale, shirts, hats, etc.

It was a great evening and the best attended banquet we’ve ever had.
On Sunday morning most of us met for breakfast in the banquet room to fill up for the road and say our goodbyes till next year. Actually, many of us will be getting together this summer on our work and fun trips. We got a lot of sign-ups for these trips over the weekend, but if you weren’t there, check around on this page for information on the trips and how to sign up. It’s a good idea to let us know even if you’re not sure if you can make it as it puts you on the mailing list for trip info.


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Here is a trip report on last years Trails West/ OCTA/BLM Survey


On June 11th through the 14th, the traditional annual Black Rock Archaeological and Trail Survey was held at Massacre Ranch, just north of Upper High Rock Canyon on the Applegate/Lassen Trail.[1] Our objectives this year, were to metal detect and confirm actual locations of trail sections between Upper High Rock Canyon, close to Bruff’s Singular Rock[2], through Massacre Ranch, and northeast to Emigrant Spring, and to locate wagon caches and a reported burial at Emigrant Spring.


[1] Trail buffs know the Lassen Trail starts at Goose Lake, but the Nevada state historians label the trail from Rye Patch Reservoir to Goose Lake as the Applegate/Lassen, because in 1849 it was labeled the “Lassen Cutoff.”
[2] In J. Goldsborough Bruff’s 1849 journal, he sketched and named the striking rock formation.


Don Buck and Ken Johnston arrived early to flag the trail sections to be metal detected and to try to locate the caches and grave. As they were looking for, and approaching, Emigrant Spring (a simulacrum of the description of Rabbit Hole Spring as described by the Applegates in 1846), a Sage Thrasher flew from the waterhole alerting them to its presence.
They were unable, though, to locate the wagon caches and Don couldn’t remember the exact location either; however, he had been on an archaeological test dig performed on the cache in July 1990.
By evening on Thursday, about thirty enthusiastic Trail Aficionados, Rut Nuts, Swale Gurus, and BLM Archaeologists began to arrive and set up their camps in the ample and luscious (for the Nevada Desert) Massacre Meadow and near the ranch house.
Friday, Kathy Ataman, the BLM Archaeologist in charge, led us to the site northwest of Bruff’s Singular Rock, that was earlier rumored to mark the graves of people murdered in the fictitious but legendary massacre. The rock structures turned out to be foundation walls for Army officers’ tents.
After lunch, Chuck Dodd took us to Emigrant Spring and explained about the wagon caches and the alleged grave that Joseph Middleton described in his journal on Oct. 4, 1849, as having seen “A grave Dan Wheeler a coloured man died Sept. 23d, 1849.” In spite of the map we had of the area showing a grave site, Chuck explained that Middleton, on the following day of Oct. 5, 1849 corrected himself and wrote: The grave of Dan Wheeler, is what in this wilderness is called a cache—French for a hiding place: It contains hid the articles of an entire wagon…” Chuck explained that often caches were disguised as graves to fool other people. Chuck then showed us the depression where the 1990 archaeological excavation had taken place. Interestingly, John Grebenkemper, Adela Morris, John Carnes, and Barbara Pence used their Historic Human Remains Detection Dogs to test the area around the site and also a couple of suspected graves near the earlier officer tent site. The dogs confirmed that there were no burials as had been suspected. Adela and Barbara later did a captivating presentation and demonstration of how their dogs work and locate remains.


Adela Morris and Barbara Pence demonstrating Human Remains Detection DogsAdela and Barbara demonstrating Human Remains Detection Dogs


Ryan and Elaina Nork with wagon hub ring


Saturday we continued metal detecting trail segments and found horse and mule shoes, an ox shoe, part of a knife blade, many square nails and a couple wagon staples, a metal button, a musket ball, a metal ring from a wagon wheel hub, and some stone projectile points.





Ryan and Elaina with wagon hub


So, our work on the trails increased our knowledge of the trail locations, and the detection dogs found no evidence of buried bodies in the “Massacre Lake” area.
Peggy McGuckian and her scrumptious chili relleno cassarole



Saturday evening the Dutch oven potluck was an indescribable highlight, featuring Kathy Ataman’s Dutch oven meatloaf and Dutch oven stew, Peggy McGuckian’s Dutch oven chili relleno casserole, and David Book’s Dutch oven Chipotle Crème Chicken, which he calls “Massacre Chicken,” and all the other delicious contributions. The annual survey potluck is reason in itself for coming to the survey, and we heartily look forward to next year’s outing in the Black Rock Area.




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During the year, we usually have several one day trips to do marker maintenance and move markers to better locations. If you would like to be advised of when these are happening, contact our Trail Activity Coordinator at the email address below.





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We could use your help!!


With all the markers we have out on the trails, many of them are getting to where they need maintenance work. Attached here is an updated PDF version of our Inspection Report form that can be printed out and it would be a great help if anyone out on a trail would take a copy along and fill it out as they pass by a marker. It would also be a big help if you would fill it out even if a marker is fine. That way we’ll know that someone won’t need to make a special trip to check it. Here is a Word version of the form that you should be able to fill out on your computer and then attach to an email back to us at:


Be sure and change the (at) to @
Thanks, this would be a big help in our continuing efforts to maintain our markers.


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We, as an organization, have certain responsibilities on our outings. Because of that, we have developed a set of Rules & Requirements that each participant must adhere to when joining us on one of our trips. You may review them by clicking here.

If you do not have the type of necessary vehicle and are still interested in joining us on a trip, please contact the trip leader. Many times there will be room in someone else’s rig and arrangements can be made to accommodate an extra passenger.