I was looking at the map to find a good place between Denver and South Dakota. Guernsey State Park, which I had never hear of looked interesting and so that is where we headed. What a great find. It is on a large reservoir and the North Platte River. We knew that they have a number of first come first serve spots and as we were going to be there for the long Memorial Day weekend, thought this would be a good place. We got there on Thursday afternoon and came in the south entrance. We were told all the reservable spots were taken but we could find some spots at the north end. We could have gone back out and made our way to the north end entrance but decided to go through the park which was windy and narrow. Luckily no one else was on the road and we just went slow. The scenery is beautiful. The south end has the largest campground area. However, as you drive through the Park, you will see spots here and there on the side of the road on the banks of the lake. There are small areas that may only have one, two or three sites. We got to Long Canyon East that had a number of sites but were all reserved. We drove up the road to Long Canyon West. There were again spots along the river, with usually two or three sites. Some were tent only with parking for your car on the other side of the road. We found a great single spot. It was level and was the only one we saw in the area with a concrete pad. It looked like a handicap site but was not marked that way. We pulled in forward so as to have views of the water from there as well as both side windows. Holiday weekend and we have no neighbors. After the weekend we got one neighbor but with all the foliage could barely see any of their camper.
As a historic district the park was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997 for its Civilian Conservation Corps buildings and structures. It contains 60 contributing resources: 14 buildings, 3 sites, and 43 structures, as well as 46 non-contributing resources per Wikipedia
We also checked out the Oregon Ruts.on another drizzly day.
Oregon Trail Ruts is a preserved site of wagon ruts of the Oregon Trail on the North Platte River, about .5 miles south of Guernsey, Wyoming. The Oregon Trail here was winding up towards South Pass. Wagon wheels, draft animals, and people wore down the trail about two to six feet into a sandstone ridge here, during its heavy usage from 1841-1869. The half-mile stretch is "unsurpassed" and is the best-preserved set of Oregon Trail ruts anywhere along its former length.
We also went to Register Cliffs which is a large 100 foot high sandstone cliff. Pioneers stopped here to camp and left their names engraved on the rock. The first engraving was in 1829. You also see sections that have more current engravings from the 20th century done before the site became a historic site.
We spent another cloudy day at Fort Laramie National Historic Site which is less than a half hour drive from the Park. It is located at the confluence of Laramie River and the North Platte River. It was a 19th century trading post as well as a military base.
A lot of the buildings are original while some have been restored.
The sign below was at the entrance to the Visitor Center. Later on the drive home Joe got a tornado warning on his phone but it was for a different area. That was kind of weird. It was interesting though most of the building were closed.
We had a few nights of rain. However, we do get some sunshine. Next blog will include a paddle on the lake. Stay tuned.