April 28, 2010

Wonderful World of Weenies: Grizzly Mountain


Grizzly Peak is a man-made, 110 foot mountain in the shape of a grizzly bear, which represents California's state animal. It was created with large steel cages, which were soon lathed and carved as rock.

The "Grizzly Peak Recreation Area" is where you can watch people get drenched on Grizzly River Run. Also you can spot old gold pans in the dry creek bed at the start of it. Grizzly Peak also houses Grizzly River Run, a large rapids ride through a mining camp at the mountain. Originally, the mountain was to have the face of the bear face south, with a waterfall from his mouth.


Unlike all of Disney’s theme park weenies, Grizzly Peak has a backstory to it. Besides just being a mountain shaped like a grizzly bear for a California themed park, Imagineers created an elaborate backstory around the icon, and its surrounding attractions. As this wasn’t just any castle, or a Tree of Life, it needed to have real reason for it being located in the middle of the park. Here is the Imagineer’s backstory:

Long ago, Ah-ha-le, the Coyote met Oo-soo-ma-te, the Grizzly Bear on top of the mountain. Seeing that the Grizzly was a powerful being, Coyote asked him to always watch over and protect the land. Then one day, people cam and tried to chase Oo-soo ma-te from the mountain. But Grizzly was strong and held his ground. When Coyote saw the brave bear standing alone against so many, he turned Oo-soo-ma-te into stone so he could never be driven away. To this day, people claim they can hear the great bear spirit in the wind that roars through the caverns and trees of Grizzly Peak.

Many years later, German emigrant Jakob Probst discovered gold at Grizzly Peak in the mid-1800's. But far from being a genius, Probst's discovery was by pure chance. Frustrated at failing to get his mule across Grizzly River, Probst threw his hat into the river and trampled it. Picking it up and putting it back on his head, he discovered a one-pound gold nugget had fallen inside. Probst immediately staked a claim he later sold for millions to the Eureka Gold & Timber Company.

Nicknamed "The Pride of the Sierra", the Company was a successful business throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Gold was extracted from the mountain and shipped to San Francisco. A company office and adjoining store were built right next door as well. But by the early 1950s the mine was tapped and Eureka Gold & Timber closed down. The structures stood empty for years - only the office and company store remained in use - converted to an outdoor supply store.

The land itself was sold to the government to create the Grizzly Peak Recreation Area. Over the next few decades the land was reborn with trees growing back and rivers clearing up. Eventually, California's rafting enthusiasts discovered the whitewater thrills of Grizzly River and the word got out about the crystal-clear waters and Class V rapids there. By the 1980s, that hobby had grown into a business with several companies offering guided raft trips to customers. One of those companies was run by a savvy young group of entrepreneurs. They purchased the old mining structures to use as their base of operations. The Grizzly River Rafting Company was born.


The weenie’s pins feature various renderings of the mountain, while some have it as almost real, with facial features and apparent ears, others just have the subtle shape, like the real thing.

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pin22723  pin62690 pin52090


Pictures and Information from LaughingPlace and PinPics

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