Saturday, January 30, 2016

Snow and We are Out and About

We have always enjoyed a drive in the snow. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like it when we have to go someplace and are forced to drive in the snow.

 Today we went for a leisure drive as the snow came down.

We started with a drive along the Wendover Road that runs along the Oregon Trail on the lake's west side. On bright clear days there is a beautiful view of the lake from this road, not so much, in the snow, today.

Things look different when flocked with a bit of snow, even sagebrush takes on an all new look.

Trees also take on an appealing look.

Animals don’t seem to mind the snow, looks like they are out and about, at least, these turkeys.

This Blue Heron looks like it is sunning but pretty tough with the snow falling, guess he was waiting for dinner to swim past.

Even with the snow, there is still much to do in the park. Even on a lazy day like today, drive around and look at nature.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cost to Build the Dam

The Dam as seen from the top of Spotted-Tail Mountain

Planning the dam at Guernsey took the Bureau of Reclamation several years, and when it was ready, the project stayed a blueprint for nearly ten years. At long last the sixty-eighth Congress of the United States allocated $800,000 for the construction. The bill was passed December 5, 1924, and the works were in place for construction.

Guernsey Lake - Photo from near the boat trailer parking area for the main boat dock

 Utah Construction from Salt Lake City was the only bidder.  Their bid of $1,200,000 was accepted and signed in early May of 1925. By late May, the company was at work. The work was started and the additional $400,000 needed was picked up by the Bureau until Congress appropriated more money for the completion of the dam later on in the session. By the time the dam was complete, the cost had run to $2,344,000.

Power Plant - Dam - and Gatehouse Spillway, below the dam

Read more about the park in my book  - See it here. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Names in the Park

Three picnic shelters on the east side, built by the CCC, are named after famous Indians that once roamed the area. The following is an excerpt from my book, The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Building of Guernsey State Park.

 Nothing is recorded as to why the use of Native Indian leader’s names in the park stopped with these three structures, but nowhere else in the park is anything named after Native people. Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, and Spotted Tail, along with Gaul and Crazy Horse are among the most well-known Indian leaders in the west.
Sitting Bull
Red Cloud was best known for his war against people traveling the Bozeman Trail. He also fought against the forts protecting the trail. After a disastrous defeat at the Wagon Box Fight, near Fort Phil Kearny, Red Cloud turned his efforts to peace. His peace efforts made him most popular with settlers and travelers, along with some of his tribe, but these efforts also alienated him from some of his people. Sitting Bull was a Lakota Holy Man and respected leader, most forceful during the time of Crazy Horse. Sitting Bull, although he did not take part in the massacre, was instrumental when Colonel Custer and the 7th Cavalry were wiped out on the Greasy Grass River, the river the soldiers called the Little Big Horn. Later Sitting Bull traveled to Europe with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  He was murdered at Wounded Knee South Dakota shortly before the December 1890 massacre.
Fire Place at Red Cloud
Spotted Tail seems an odd choice for the third Indian name used in the park. Considering fame only, it seems Crazy Horse would have been the choice instead of Spotted Tail. He was likely chosen because he had taken part in the nearby Grattan Massacre. By the time of Red Cloud’s War Spotted Tail refused to fight, telling his people he would not lead braves into battle and that he now considered peace the better option. Conceivably it was because of this peaceful stance and not his earlier status as a warrior that he was chosen to be immortalized in the park.
The incredible fresh water station at Spotted Tail

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Drive Through the Park

Doe In Almost Black and White

Great day for a drive in the park, yep drive, we were too tired for a hike. We used the excuse, to ourselves, that after the big melt it was too wet. The deer were on the move, we must have watched twenty or more as we cruised through the park. That said, I thought I would play around with the same photo of this nice looking doe. She is standing back in the trees and a few limbs obscure the picture making it not a perfect photo, but it was fun. 

Deer In Futuristic World

Here's Looking At Us -  Natural Photo

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tunnel Mountain Trail

We had a great January hike in the park today. Temperatures hovered in the mid-40s and winds were gusting but not bad. We parked at Spring Creek Cove and walked the Tunnel Mountain Trail.
A very nice greeting party welcomed us to the trail
 Because the walk bridge was burned in the 2012 fire, we angled northeast and caught the trail about 100 yards above the trail.  (The bridge is scheduled to be fixed this spring, which will make this trail, once again, a terrific CCC walking experience).
The CCC bridge - I took this shot a few days ago in low light, not a great photo

The trail curves up the mountainside then runs parallel to the railroad tracks, far below, for two or three hundred yards before turning south among giant boulders and a spectacular view of the dam.

Nothing beats a great walk with a wonderful view
The snowy hillside trail

 We turned around once we reached the railroad tunnel that is the namesake of this trail.  Adventurous soles could walk on as the trail leads all the way to Skyline Campground.
The RR Tunnel

View of  the Museum, with telephoto, from the trail

Gatehouse View

Monday, January 11, 2016

It's Cold Out There

At one time I loved winter, the older I get, the more I stay inside when it is cold. I enjoyed skiing for many years, did some Ice fishing and loved making snowmen and forts when our kids were growing up. Now if the temperature is below 20, I mostly stay inside.

We are looking forward to the next two weeks as the weather is supposed to warm, maybe to 50 degrees. That means we will be back hiking and walking in the park.

When it is cold, we still spend time in the park, but, for the most part, we stay in the vehicle. I do get out to take a few photos from time to time, but, usually, it is inside with the heater cranked up.

One thing I miss about not being out in the cool air are the winter views and watching wildlife in the cold weather. Everything is so different this time of year. Winter does have a beauty, all its own, but guess I will observe it from inside.

The photos are from last Friday, a cold, stay in the pickup day, for me.
Our Chariot awaits - after a bit of dusting off

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A New Year in the Parks

It's a New Year - That means time for a new State Park Permit. 
Glad they don't charge extra for being poorly aligned 

They are a few dollars cheaper for a few weeks, better get yours now. Don't miss out on things like this

Nice Buck
What a Sunset

And this
Out for a walk

And this

CCC Hiking Trails

Join the fun the permits are good all year in every Wyoming State Park - A real life bargain.

Find out more about the park here - My book on Amazon

Sunday, January 3, 2016

First Day Hike

It’s been two days since the great first-day hike at Guernsey State Park.  For those who do not follow state park news, the first day hikes were in state parks all over the country.

 Last year Wyoming won a bet with Arizona over who would have the most first-day hikers. Didn’t hear of any bets this year, must have been a one year deal. Wyoming had 11 first day hikes this year, several, like Guernsey, had a choice of different routes and distances for hikers.
Park Superintendent Todd Stephenson addresses the hikers
I cannot say enough about the great Guernsey State Park staff and their preparation for the first-day activity. Nice warming fires, hot chocolate, bottled water, tea, and cookies. And to top it off, a free drawing for door prizes.

Temperatures were in the teens with no wind when we started but we were all tucking away our stocking hats and gloves by the end – beautiful day.

One last thought, I often hear people say how much they appreciate the restrooms being always open and always clean – I hope they are passing this on to the people who work in the park. Great job!