After two weeks with Ben, Bailey and Jadelyn by themselves, the parents arrived and we of course had to do all the attractions again for Tim and Heidi’s benefit. Not that we minded, of course. We love seeing attractions through fresh eyes!
Between our RV park and Cody (about 20 miles) is the Buffalo Bill Cody lake. The lake is high and the recent rains have turned the water from greenish blue to brown. At the dam, driftwood accumulates and has to be removed periodically.
The dam was completed in 1910 and we were surprised to learn that winter, not summer, was construction season due to summer flooding. Construction, even pouring concrete, went on at sub-zero temperatures. Steam heat was used to keep the concrete from feeling the effects of the weather. One construction company went broke, another had the contract taken from them and a third finally completed the project.
The top 25 foot section was added much later, at a cost to the state of 50 times what the original construction cost had been and total cost in state and federal funds of 130 times as much!
We’ve stopped at the visitor’s center several times now but we’ve also seen the dam from down river. There is a little sign on the highway headed west of Cody that says Bureau of Reclamation. The first jillion times past, we thought it probably meant that the bureau office was down that road, but we finally decided to find out for ourselves and drove down the incline toward the river. The first time, LeRoy and I were by ourselves and we only went less than half a mile from where we parked since we really weren’t prepared for hiking that day. The second time, we did an intentional trip with the whole family. Should have taken water, but even as experienced hikers, we weren’t thinking! What kind of grandparents are we, anyway? It is a gorgeous hike down a paved road in the canyon bottom and it brings to mind the song How Great Thou Art, only I change the words to say “When I look UP at lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze”. Never mind that it is really a river and the breeze is usually more of a wind, it is majestic and humbling. There’s no doubt that we humans are pretty tiny in comparison to God’s handiwork and yet he cares about us.
As you pass under the highway bridge, the kids found an opportunity to climb. Needless to say, some enjoyed it more than others!
The lack of water became a problem as the hike progressed. Bailey overheated a bit and Jadelyn just plain ran out of steam, so they and I found a shady place and let LeRoy and the rest finish the hike almost to the base of the dam.
Along the way are two tunnels but only one is open to foot traffic.
The dam and the outlet below the dam are visible at the end of the trail, and of course that’s our beautiful daughter Heidi and her husband Tim in the foreground!