Beckwourth Cabin in Portola, CA. Jim Beckwourth was an emancipated slave who became a trapper, trader, businessman, explorer, trailblazer, Indian War Chief, Indian scout, story teller, wagon master, courier, soldier and professional card player. While out prospecting he discovered the lowest pass over the Sierra Nevadas in 1850. Now the horde of prospectors coming to the California gold fields could use this pass which spared them 150 miles, many steep grades and terrible winters, like those of the Donner Pass. In the next decade over 10,000 people used the pass to get to California. This is his cabin in Portola where he welcomed the pioneers and fed them and let them rest, traded with them, told his adventure stories, and sometimes cheated them too. The cabin has been restored and is now a museum which never seems to be open when I’ve been there. He was quite an adventurer and the town of Beckwourth, where he also had a hotel, is named after him.