The Mailman with a 100-Mile Route

John Albert Thompson emigrated from Norway and eventually made his way out to the western US during the Gold Rush, where he was a subcontractor for the postal service for 20 years. Thompson was called “The Viking of the Sierras,” but everyone knew him as Snowshoe Thompson, because he delivered mail between Placerville and Genoa, Nevada, on skis, which he called snowshoes. His trips took three days to get to Placerville and three days to get back, a punishing trip over the Sierra Mountains in which he followed snow-covered wagon tracks. Thompson made this trip two to four times a month carrying up to 100 pounds of letters and packages -and silver from the mines.

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Today, hikers can get a feel for the endurance Thompson had by retracing his route through the mountains, although there are roads in many of the spots now, plus better clothing and equipment and emergency communications. Read about Snowshoe Thompson and his service to the people of Nevada (which he was never paid for) and about the folks who hiked his route recently, at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: Brent Cooper)

Source: neatorama

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