Saturday, October 31, 2015

Guernsey State Park - Doing it Right

This must be some kind of Bonus post or something. I normally post every five to seven days and here I am posting two days in a row. A great hike will do that for me. 
Nice view as we started our hike this morning

People who know me, more than likely, have heard me complain about the new high wall on Guernsey Dam. It was never that high until the Bureau of Reclamation worked on the dam two years ago. The new height of the wall makes a view of the lake nearly impossible as drivers cross the dam. More importantly, it has also made the road over the dam much more dangerous as drivers from the north cannot see smaller cars, motorcycles or bicycles on the dam.

The original - I wasn't around for this one
However, that is not what I want to blog about today. And, there is a distinct possibility that the Bureau of Reclamation knows quite a bit more about dam's and dam building than I do.
Safer, but much taller new wall during construction in 2013

Here is the way to build a wall, this one in being built by the State Park System. It looks great. Unlike the Bureau wall of modern concrete, this one is concrete and faced with stone.
This is going to look super when finished - very CCC like
It looks like the CCC built it, and I am sure that is what Todd Stephenson, Superintendent of Guernsey State Park, had in mind when re-doing this one. Much like the work done along Lakeshore Drive over the years, this fits the park, fits the Civilian Conservation Corps work in the park and fits it very well.

On another note, the park is fantastic for recreational walkers/hikers right now. Despite some health setbacks, I hope temporarily, I have still enjoyed quite a bit of time in the park this fall.  
We call this one the, Lost Trail, as it was started but never really finished by the CCC.
Not sure many know where this one is. I will be posting more on this one later.

Like to learn more about the building of the park? How the Civilian Conservation Corps teamed with the National Parks Service, the state of Wyoming, and the Bureau of Reclamation to build one of the most unique and beautiful parks in the American west. Hit this link!

Happy to say it is still selling well if you have already purchased, thanks. I still like the book better than the eBook, but it is available in both forms. Order one for yourself and another for a friend today. 

I read a blog this week that said if a nonfiction book sells more than 250 copies the first year, it is a success, and if it reaches 2,000 sales in the life of the book,  it will have done better than 99%+ of all nonfiction. So far so good. (-:)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Upper Spotted Tail Hikes

Nothing beats fall weather for hiking in the park. With afternoon temperatures in the low to mid-60s, this has been a fantastic week to be in the park. Several trailheads leave from the north end of Upper Spotted Tail Camp Ground and this week we tried all of them.
The view from the Trail Head at Upper Spotted Tail
Some wind through heavy timber, others through burned areas from the 2012 fire.  The hike up Knight Mountain is one of the best in the park and following the old road to Onyx Cave is always entertaining and educational.
Looking down to the Sitting Bull Shelter from part way up Knight Mountain Trail
There are branches off these trails, mostly lost from time and lack of use over the years but fun to follow, if only for a short way, when found.
Walking along Onyx Road Trail
I hear many people are lamenting the end of summer and some are looking forward to winter and Wyoming's great offering of winter sports. As for my wife and me, we will take fall and this year's terrific weather.
Time to head back home - driving past the boat ramp - Looks like fall

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Lakeshore Drive Looking Good

Work is going well in the park. Lakeshore Drive was open today and I drove to Black Canyon Cove and back. Looks like two major areas of concern, the crumbling road on a very dangerous curve
Great looking fix on this crumbling curve
and a bad culvert.
Nicely rebuilt complete with rock work the men of the CCC would love this fix
I stayed until just before dark waiting for the sunset, it wasn’t spectacular but was pretty nice.

When the moon started peeking through the trees I knew it was time to head for home.

 My newest novel, Commitment, is now available as a book or eBook
Take a look here
Commitment is a historical mystery/western, set in and around Fort Laramie and south to Laramie City and Cheyenne. Good old fashioned story, with a bit of mystery, romance, bad guys and one very special good guy – great fun.

And of course, my book on the Building of Guernsey State Park can be found almost anywhere on line and at many local sellers.
Get it here from Barnes and Noble
Or get it here from Amazon

Hey, talk about the perfect Christmas gift for everyone that loves the park.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Walk On The Beach

At my age,  nothing beats a nice walk on a beautiful fall day. As you can see, not over crowded.
Saturday evening my wife and I walked a deserted Sandy Beach in the park. Wow, it was 71 degrees with a slight breeze, what a wonderful evening. We see so few people in the park this time of year, too bad, it is spectacular. Maybe it does not take much to impress me any longer but nothing beats a great walk in the park.

It is more than gratifying to see my book on the Civilian Conservation Corps and the building of Guernsey State Park continue to sell.
I have had comments from people as far away as California on the book that can be ordered from any of my blog sites, purchased locally or from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and just about every online bookseller there is. It is gaining popularity in bookstores, tourist/gift businesses and museums in the state as well, now in ten or so.

I read this week that the average, traditionally published, nonfiction book sells less than 250 copies a year and only about 2,000-3,000 for the life of the book. Looks like this one is ahead of the norm and the best thing is more and more people are learning about the park and the Civilian Conservation Corps.

We had a terrific meal and a wonderful luncheon with the Goshen County Historical Society Saturday and a great time talking about the book.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

It's all About the CCC

Great luncheon today in Cheyenne speaking to the Rotary Club on my favorite subject.
I remind myself of a dapper looking, old guy

You guessed it, The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Building of Guernsey State Park.
Order or take a look at the book here

After the drive back to Guernsey what did we do? Well rested for a bit and then off for a hike in the park. 
We took the upper loop of the Red Cliff Trail - the shorter trail

Seems like we just can’t stay away. One of the many things we love about the park is the unexpected, whether it be an opportunity for a super photo
Sun splashed - Photo from Red Cliff Trail
or maybe a C-130 flying over Round Top Mountain.
Interesting photo
This time of year the park is stunning with the changing of colors and the warm days have made it a delight to take a walk in the park.
Great color as the sun sets over the park

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Work in the Park

Now that summer has ended, there is a lot of construction going on in the park, Not many people visiting the park and some nice long days has made it great for working in the park.
On the west side, work has begun on Brimmer Point Road. It is being reworked to make it again drivable to the top parking lot.
Guernsey side closure - near the beginning of Red Cliff Trail
On the east side, most of Lakeshore Drive is closed. Driving in from Guernsey visitors can access the dam and spillway area and Red Cliff Trail. Coming in from Hartville only the Long Canyon area is accessible.
Just beyond the Long Canyon turn-in

Park Superintendent Todd Stevenson reported at the last Friends of the park meeting that workers would be shoring up some areas where the road is sluffing away and that work would also be done on some of the parks old CCC culverts.
Most never notice the CCC culverts, but they are most impressive.

According to locals, all work should be finished by the first of the year.
Nice time of year for wildlife viewing in the park
Right now the lake is low, nearly as low as it is during the annual silt run, I would guess this helps with the work along Lakeshore Drive.
West Sandy Beach area on a foggy morning this week
This time of year is great for hiking in the park, lots of colors and perfect temperatures.
Walk in the park colors
Get out and enjoy Wyoming's terrific Fall weather.
Long Canyon yesterday

Friday, October 2, 2015

Red Cliff Trail

Fall has reached Wyoming and Guernsey State Park. We had a great hike today, the air was cool and the wind was blowing, but it felt good to pull on the hoodie and some light gloves and spend an hour and a half in the park.
A splash of fall through the forest

Today we chose Red Cliff Trail, one of our favorites in the park, and coincidently, the only trail now reachable on the east side after crossing the dam. Lakeshore Drive is getting some updates and will be under construction until December. (Find work updates here soon)
Red Cliff Trail starts here

We parked in the small area west of the spillway and headed up the trail. We took the Museum loop first and then the Red Cliff loop past the site of Camp BR-9 of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The trail was in great shape and the fall colors were striking.

Civilian Conservarion Corps remains are all around

Every time we hike this area I marvel at the step work on the trail. This trail, like others on the east side, was built by the men of Camp BR-9. But the interesting thing about this trail is that it was likely the first established and experimental, also a trail that the men went back to when they had finished other projects. This trail alone may have as many of the huge stone steps as the rest of the trails in the park combined.
Huge steps and my favorite walking/hiking partner

Three sets of stairs along the trail

If you have not experienced this trail, give it a try, you will enjoy the exercise, the terrific views and like me, look in wonder at the work done by the CCC more than 80 years ago. And don't forget your camera.
These guys are always watching me, this time I was watching him