Sunday, July 31, 2016

Guernsey Lake Silt Run

The silt run is on, and the lake is going down. Still a few smaller boats on the lake Friday and Saturday but I suspect that as I write this, Sunday, that the boats are gone.
Often the Silt Run Brings Out, Even More, Wildlife As Seen Here in 2015

Despite the low water levels, it is still a terrific time to hike in the park. Last evening we hiked with friends, one of our favorites the Red Cliff Trail. The area, once called the enchanted forest always seems out of this world.
Water Running Through The Enchanted Area On Red Cliff Trail

Not often I have I seen water rolling from the Morning Glory Spillway, but during the silt run it happens. The Morning Glory is the spillway that comes from under and behind the Powerplant.
Sun Sets Backlighting the Powerplant and Spillway

 This spillway is 128 feet long and was controlled by two, 64 by 14 1/2 foot drum gates until 2014. The 2013-14 rebuild and work on the dam closed one of the two original south gates after 86 years of service. Now one, newly rebuilt, gate controls the south side spillway.*

Morning Glory Spillway

One last thing about an evening hike in Guernsey State Park, walkers and hikers can always depend on a beautiful sunset to end the day.

From the Boat Launching Area on the East Side

*This information is taken from page 169 of my book on the Park – The Civilian Conservation Corps & the Building of Guernsey State ParkWith Folktales and Stories of the Park. If you would like a copy, they are available by clicking here on the link. Books are available from many Wyoming booksellers, including the Park’s CCC Museum, and the visitor centers in Guernsey and Hartville. If you just want to take a look, click the link and read the free sample pages.


By the way, profits from books purchased from the museum go to Friends of the Park and are used for projects throughout the park.
Laramie Peak at Sunset - Photo From the Museum 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Castle - Guernsey State Park

The Incredible North Bluff Castle

Last evening I took a drive up to the Castle on the North Bluff. I had high hopes of getting a few terrific sunset photos. The smoke in the air, glad it is not from around here, really adds to the vibrancy of colors with the setting sun.

 It looked like rain, and the cloud cover took away what chances I had for a great sunset photo. Best thing, it was still a nice way to spend an hour.

Not bad, Considering the Heavy Cloud Cover

Each Time I am at the Castle I Take This Same Shot

Everyone should spend some time at the Castle, it’s a geat place to relax, contemplate life, or just enjoy the views. 

A Close-up From the Castle

A Telephoto View From the Castle

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Hike In the Park

The Magical Keyhole Loop on the Echo Cave Trail

One of the great joys of hiking in Guernsey State Park is finding old, but little-used trails built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. If the day is right, it is almost like walking with those long forgotten men of the CCC. Places like this give the careful hiker and unlimited time to dream of things past, and all things future, much like the CCC workers must have as they built the park in the 1930s.
The Trail
 I have looked at this one for many years and my wife, and I decided yesterday, (Sunday), to get some photos. We invited along a few family members and off we went. Actually, I believe they asked us, but the story flows better the other way. It was a bad idea as the temperatures were in the upper 90s when we started and triple digits when we finished. A particularly poor choice of exercise days for seniors like us. The main trail leading to the long lost one we were after, is the spectacular Echo Cave Trial. This is a hike everyone, or most everyone should try. I should temper that statement by saying it is one of the most challenging hikes in the park because of changes in elevation, although not long, only about a mile and a half.  
No One Built Steps Better Than the CCC

How to Find the Trail

From the castle, we followed the very nice North Bluff Trail until it meets up with the steps that switch back and go down to the Echo Cave Trail. Follow the trail and enjoy the view as you walk. Once reaching Echo Cave make sure and try out the famous echo, we did, fun and one of the best comebackers ever. The no longer much used, if used at all, CCC trail loop starts once we reached Echo Cave. After exercising our echo abilities, we followed a trail that continues south from the cave. This portion of the trail starts up a very nice set of rock steps. After only fifty yards the trail appears to end. But with my 68-year-old eagle eyes, I was able to find the loop, and it is terrific. I call this one the, Keyhole Loop, and am sure the keyhole is the reason the original trial went from upper trail to the lower trail, the one we walked in on, at this point. One question? Why when trying out the echo does almost everyone holler, ECHO? Next is often, HELLO.

The Keyhole

Only an arm’s reach from the trail is one of the two great rock keyholes in the park. Unfortunately getting from the upper trail to the lower there are no steps. Instead, a slide of crumbling rock greeted us. The original must have had steps cut into the sandstone and dirt that covers the hillside, but time must have run out on the Corps workers before the loop could be finished with the great stone steps found on trails throughout the park. Time and weather have taken whatever the CCC men built on this part of the trail, but it is only about 10 yards long.

The younger members of our group were able to pick their way down, I used what they coined the Grandpa Slide method. I sat down and slid down, slowly. It is actually quite easy with no danger of falling, that I like. Oh, and there was no cactus or yucca so no posterior injuries.

Other than the heat it was an enjoyable hike. There is much more that I could say at this point about heat, hydration and senior citizens trying to do things they should not, but I will leave that for my Google + Fitness and Exercise For Seniors, blog.

Knight Mountain

The Photo at the top of this site is the park’s other, and more famous keyhole, Knight Mountain Keyhole. Thanks to friends Billy and Brandi, we were up there to take this photo on top of Knight Mountain one year ago today – July 11, 2015. 
Our Leader and Impossible to Keep Up With

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Guernsey State Park - Picnic

The weatherman says, “hot,” this weekend. Might be a good time to stay in with the AC. This evening we will take a trip to a few of our favorite, cool spots, in the park. We are hoping to find one of our favorite areas, unoccupied, and if we do picnic time.
Black Canyon Cove - Great Place, but Normally Occupied on Weekends

The North "Stoney Gate," on the Dam
The annual silt run from the lake has been set back to late July and the first two weeks of August this year. I am still not sure how they will pull this off as the river through Guernsey and downstream is bank full. I have not driven past Glendo in the past few days, but it appeared a couple of weeks ago like they were full or overfull also. The good news is the silt run will be a bit shorter, three weeks this time.
Water Pouring Down Spillway When the Huge Stony Gate is Open

View From the CCC Museum
Visit the Museum on a Hot Summer Day
When the lake goes down with the silt run is the perfect time to enjoy trails, picnic shelters, and the Museum. The lake may be down, but the park is still great.
The Keyhole - High Atop Knight Mountain on the Knight Mountain Trail

Friday, July 1, 2016

Park Visitors

Wow - What A Great Day In The Park  -  Here I Am Working
It is always enjoyable to take visitors out to the park.  The most difficult decision is often what to see, and more often than not it depends on how much time we have. There are so many places worth seeing, it can make for some tough choices.  This time, the visitors were young and settled for a Red Cliff Trail hike Thursday evening and Brimmer Point and a visit to the Castle Friday.
Our View This Evening From Brimmer Point Looking West 
  We wanted to visit the Museum also but with so much going on with family did not make it – too bad, I love that place.

This evening with a storm coming in the park was cool and breezy, the clouds magnificent. 
This Photo Opp Was Set Up By The CCC 80 Years ago
We Instruct Everyone To Shoot One Of These