A Light at the Tunnel’s End

The historic Donner Pass Train Tunnel Trail in Norden California, September 2020.

In the 90 plus days since my last post, much has happened in our world, and to each other. A seemingly unending global pandemic continues to rage as we mourn the loss of lives, of loves, and belief in the certainty that “everything is going to be alright” because “this too shall pass”. But there really is a light at the end of every dark tunnel and we can step into it if we just keep walking.

An easterly external view of the historic tunnel. Smoke from the numerous wildfires obscures the autumn sky.

We walked four of the nearly six mile hike, stopping frequently to marvel at some of the graffiti and mural work of various artists. I pondered the treacherous labor involved in the making of the tunnels and laying track that many Chinese immigrants endured leading up to its completion in 1867, and wondered what they might think of the artform.

Urban artists tagging a section of Tunnel 6.

We turned back after walking through the most inky darkness I have ever experienced. I was unnerved by the complete absence of light and shuddered in the cold eeriness of the moment. Rather than turn on a headlamp to dispel the fear tingling the hair on the back of my neck, I let myself feel the fear and kept walking forward. Ten steps letter, we spotted the first thin slice of light which then multiplied into twenty. Then into the light at the end of the tunnel.

For more complete information about hiking the Donner Tunnels and other historical places, I highly recommend checking out a few of my favorite resources for recreational activities in the Tahoe region:

https://www.calexplornia.com/
https://tahoetrailguide.com/hiking-the-historic-donner-pass-train-tunnels-in-truckee-ca/
https://www.parks.ca.gov/

Special thanks and gratitude to those who continue to support the work of artists. It is at times such as these that we are most needed to bring more light into the world.

Be well, stay safe.

~T.

© 2020 Theresa Mae Funk, all rights reserved.

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