Today, we drove up to the Rotary park so we could hike the Bridle trail. The trail is about 5 miles long and gains over 1,200 feet in elevation. It was described as rough terrain and a section was but the rest was a moderate trail. There are several interesting points along the trail including Garden Creek Falls and the Split Rock.
The views were outstanding even early in the hike.
The trail starts out pretty rough with lots of large rocks in the trail. Later the trail smoothed out but continued to climb the mountains. It was well maintained with occasional benches to rest if needed.
We continued to have some very nice views of the valley and the mountains.
At almost the highest elevation point on the trail we hiked around a cabin. The trail loops right though the yard. The owners have setup a garden of small figurines to memorialized children lost early in life and were placed by the grieving parents.
We had been looking forward to this part of the trail. This trail passes through a very interesting opening between the rock on the trail.
At an overlook we could look back at the first part of the trail across the valley. We could also see the rock I stood on for a picture.
The hike was challenging at times but most of the trail was an easy walk.
Of course there were a few flowers to photograph.
We did see one snake on the trail but it was not interested in having it's picture taken.
At the end of our hike we came to a creek and waterfall.
Later in the day after a shower and change of clothes, we visited a museum. It was very convenient to the RV park. In fact, we passed it every time we left to go anywhere.
The museum has local history from the time of the Fort to more modern times.
As we stepped outside to see the fort this deer was standing nearby.
Next we walked around in the fort. It is not the original but a reconstruction done in the 1936 by Casper citizens and the Works Progress Administration.
The doe was not the last animal we saw. A turkey and her chicks were nearby. As with the doe, she was not really worried about us. The chicks were not much taller than the grass.
Two more displays were outside the fort. The first was an example of what a wagon ferry was like. Second was a section of the floating bridge used to cross river for wagons and livestock.
The doe said "Bye" on our way back to the car.
Being hungry, we decided to head out to another brewery.
There are several breweries in town and a distillery. First stop was Frontier brewing in downtown Casper, Wyoming.
Just around the corner was Backwards Distilling. They have several different choices of liquor.
Our tasting was more intense than most. The bottles are very interesting.
They have some crazy names like Franken Bourbon, Milk Can Moonshine, Contortionist Gin, Sword Swallower Rum, Ringleader Vodka, Strongman (Navy Strength) Gin, 307 Vodka and Gin.
Next was Black Tooth Brewing. They had a clear root beer. I know crazy but it tasted great.
Enough snacks, it is time for some dinner at our last stop Gruner Brothers Brewing.
The pizza was great and so was our view.
We found several information signs outside the museum.
The museum is operated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and there is no entrance fee. Displays were focused on westward expansion and the trails that passed through the area.
The museum has a lot of interactive exhibits. Some were just pull handles and audio. The biggest was a group of dioramas showing life size wagons, animals, and people traveling the trails that passed through the area. The lights would shine on each one at a time and sound effects and spoken audio would play that indicated what was being displayed.
One display was very interactive. It was a wagon that "travels" across a river.
Another was a stagecoach ride headed west.
We had a great visit to the museum and enjoyed the interactive nature of the exhibits.
Time for dinner. I had the bison meatloaf and Shawna had the blackened catfish.
Our drive to the Shell Falls is 68 miles one way. We climbed in elevation to 8,000 feet and there were a lot of switchbacks. Even with the air not being clear, we did get some very nice views.
The forest service has some very nice information signs at pullouts and the mountains are surprising in their diversity.
The road below us looked interesting.
Break time! Even the area near the pit toilet was interesting.
Our next stop was Sibley Lake which is high in the mountains. There were flowers and butterflies along the walk to the lake. Near the lake is a campground run by the Forest Service. Some sites even have power.
We drove on and our next stop was an overlook. Back in 1959, a very unusual tornado tore a path here that killed several people. Many trees were knocked down and some still are seen today. This was one of the highest altitude tornados on record.
It was a longer drive than I expected to the waterfalls. The drive was worth it because the falls were impressive.
There were a lot of information signs to give us the history and nature at the falls and the area. The information on the formation of the falls was interesting.
The surrounding canyons were impressive.
On our return drive, we passed a small herd of Elk. The male was watching over his girls. These were the moving type of elk instead of the boulder type. An inside joke from when I thought I saw a herd laying down but it turned out to be some boulders.
Now for a few more plants and flowers.
To the north of the RV park in Sheridan, Wyoming is a large field.
We noticed that there are 3 big bucks living there. On occasion, they come into the RV park but usually only at night and are out before daylight.
We found that a nearby restaurant was also a brewery. They also had an interesting atmosphere. It is named Tilt Wurks.
The owner loves pinball machines. Even though they only have a couple of actual machines in the restaurant they do have lots of pinball related items.
Just down the road is a small museum that tells the story of the dam, the work to build it, and the history of the area going back to the time of dinosaurs.
At the entrance is a full size T-Rex which they have called Peck's Rex. A second T-Rex was discovered and it was called Wankel T-Rex for the person who found it.
The center has a good bit of the building dedicated to the dinosaur bones found in the area. These were very impressive. Long ago this area was an inland sea and was so deep that plesiosaurs swam along with some very big fish.
A lot of the center is dedicated to the dam and its construction. The project was HUGE. It is impossible not to notice the enormity of the project. Construction started in 1933 and was completed in 1940. It was producing electricity before the end of 1943.
Far above us and extending for 4 miles is a gigantic earthen dam which rises several hundred feet above us.
Part of the center was focused on animals and fish of the area. This included stuffed animals, two large aquariums and a bee display.
A portion of the center was dedicated to the living conditions of the people who lived here before and those who built the dam. The town was created just for the construction project. President Roosevelt was very involved in promoting the dams construction.
We watched two movies. One was on Lewis and Clark who traveled the river that is now a lake and the second was on the construction of the dam. The construction was a huge project and some were killed before the dam was completed.
As we left the center, we decided to drive up on to the highway on the top of the dam. We got a good view of the hydroelectric system of the dam but were not allowed to tour. The two large structures are surge towers. They keep the flow of water to the turbines steady and prevent damage to the turbines by surges of water. The towers are huge 10 story tall tanks to hold water. Wow!
The view from the top of the dam was impressive. I am sure it would be nearly impossible to build this today.
The spillway is huge and impressive. It is a controlled flow using 16 gates and not just an unregulated area.
We moved from North Dakota to Montana. The wind was out of the west for several days in a row and this caused the smoke from fires in California and Oregon to blow into the area. The air quality was dramatically worse to the point we did not want to be outside for any longer than absolutely necessary. The sun took on a strange color and the air was hazy and thick. Later in the day, the sun was even more red and disturbing.
This was the worst day and the air got clearer the next day.
Today with the air clear and good weather, it looked like a hike was in order.
We started at the campsite.
We found a couple of unusual things on the hike. First, the smallest beaver dam I have ever seen and second, a very large egg shell. We think it was from a goose.
Some of the trail crossed over some high spots along the lake. Eventually this put us up over the boat dock and pier.
At the top of one hill was a large petrified wood stump.
Along the trail, there were some wild rose hips, cactus, and flowers.
Later in the day, we drove into town to visit an interesting place called Hops and Berry Taproom. It is one of those pay per ounce places. They did have a wide selection of beers of several types, wines and ciders.
Today, we decided to drive into town to visit a local brewery called the Busted Knuckle. The brewery is connected to a BBQ called PT105. We had lunch there. The brisket sandwich was great!
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...