Thursday, August 9, 2018

An Accident Waiting to Happen

 Buenos dias people! Welcome to another off road adventure. This trip took us into Wyoming for the first time ever. OK, the first ghost town trip into Wyoming. Been there lots of times for other things. A visit to the High Uinta Mountains was our first stop on this expedition. We chose to take Hiway 150 from Kamas over the range and into Wyoming so we could visit Mirror Lake. Mirror Lake is a beautiful, natural lake high up in the mountains. Our first stop on this trip was Provo River Falls. As you can see from the foto, the falls are incredibly pretty. This would be a nice place to build a cabin. As the road continued north we finally made it to the top. The view is really grand........ with one exception. I don't have a foto of it but the tree population in the area is a scary sight to see. I would be willing to bet that somewhere between 25% to 35% of the tree population is dead. As you gaze over the forest below, you can't help but see that the area has some sort of issue with the tree population. It is so bad, in my opinion, that I didn't even bother to get my camera out. It is that bad. Fact is, if they get a lightning strike or some careless camper starting a fire, this whole area will disappear. I can't figure out why the Forest Service hasn't had firewood cutters or professional sawyers come in and thin out the dead trees. There are 1000's of them. And like I said, if it catches on fire.... it is gone. 
 We followed 150 north towards Wyoming when I noticed a sign saying gold hill. We turned up the road and were greeted with a sign saying 4x4 only trail. I was excited. It wasn't a difficult trail per say, but due to the rocks on the trail, I went into 4lo to make it easy on the Jeep. What was lacking on the trail was any real type of signage. We followed the trail for about an hour or so then headed back. Our goal was to have been Gold Hill Pass but we never found it. I did look it up on Google Earth when I got home so when I go back, I now know where I need to go. Next on the list for the day was the ghost town of Piedmont Wyoming. Piedmont is my first Wyoming ghost town and a Union Pacific tent town from the transcontinental railroad days. The community was built around 1868 and was a farming as well as a charcoal business that fed the Utah mines. The town prospered until the railroad built a tunnel through the mountain and by doing this took the train and its service out of Piedmont. With no cheap way to ship the charcoal, the business soon went under. By 1940 or so, the town gave up and disappeared. Today there are a few buildings still standing as well as the charcoal kilns.
 As close as it is to I-80, as well as being on every map I saw, the town is in remarkably good state. Time is taking its toll, but there still is some interesting things to see. I would recommend that you visit it in the spring or fall. It was pretty damn hot out there and there isn't a lot of shade. 
 We were just 10 miles or so from our final destination and right on schedule. The last official stop for the day was another historical site, Fort Bridger. FB was built in 1842 by the legendary mountain man Jim Bridger. He built the fort to be a supply house for the pioneers going to Oregon, California and Utah. He owned the fort until the Mormon Church bought him out in 1857. They had it for a year and then burned it to the ground. The US Army was on the march to Utah to wipe out the church so they burned just about everything of any value in an attempt to slow them down. Once the army arrived, they took control over the fort until it was abandoned in the 1890's.  
From then on, it basically wasn't much of anything but a farm town. Sometime between 1920 and 1935, the property became of interest due to its historical past. The ground was bought and the preservation soon began. Today you can visit the past for just $4 per person. This is another spring/fall visit time. It was damn hot there on our visit so plan accordingly. I do have one complaint tho. There were 2 people there for the whole attraction. If you had a question to ask, there was no one to answer it. Kinda sad if you ask me. Another issue was that 90% of the buildings were locked and the windows so dirty that you couldn't see well enough inside to snap a foto.  Yes, I was disappointed. But, its now crossed off the list of things to see. Twas a great day for exploring. A little on the warm side, but that's a lot better than the last one where we got hailed on. Jeep on my friends.