As winter’s bluster continues across the Sierra with record snowfall, it seems apropos it occurs on the dawn of the 175th anniversary of the Donner Party rescues. It’s as if Mother Nature is providing a stark reminder of just how horrendous the conditions were for the souls starving at Truckee Lake and Alder Creek. And how challenging and life threatening the rescue attempts would be to save those children, women and men trapped in winter’s grasp.

The conditions are set for the reprise of the Donner Relief. Here we go…

WHAT: Donner Relief Expedition. Four adventurers and amateur historians will take to the wilderness and reprise the 100 mile journey of the Relief Parties from Johnson Ranch to Donner Lake.

WHEN: February 14-18, 2022.

WHY: To remember and honor those courageous pioneers who risked their lives for the welfare of others.

WHO: Jennifer Hemmen, Elke Reimer, Tim Twietmeyer, Bob Crowley; four NorCal endurance athletes who completed the Forlorn Hope Expedition in 2020.

Over the next 2 months we will be posting stories about the relief parties; the history, the people – heroism and pathos, the human spirit and the Expedition. 

The Expedition team will carry a live gps tracker for the entire trek, enabling you to come along with us. We will post updates and photos when possible as we progress.

There will be some special events which we will announce in the coming weeks. Save the date February 18th for joining us as we arrive at Donner Memorial State Park. 

If you are a descendant of a Donner Party or Relief Party member please email us at and tell us more about your relative and connection. We hope to create an initiative for you all in the spirit of honoring and celebrating our past and history.

We stand upon the shoulders of so many who shaped our future through their relentless determination and grit. This Expedition is for remembering, honoring and celebrating ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. – A. Lincoln

It has long come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely set back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things. – L. da Vinci