End of Season Boating at Glendo

3 09 2010

Labor Day weekend has long been on the calendar as the final boating trip of the 2010 Summer season.  During the summer we’ve discussed many destinations, from Navajo Lake on the Colorado/New Mexico state line to Flaming Gorge on the Wyoming/Utah border.      

Lake Glendo - September, 2010

Lake Glendo - September, 2010

But, with the high water levels at Lake Glendo, we opted to return to one of our favorite boating/camping areas.  Normally below safe boating levels by now, the lake is near end-of-July levels this first weekend of September.  We’ve seen two “firsts” this year, the highest water we’ve ever experienced at Glendo (July 4th Weekend) and now the lowest – down over 40 feet since the flood levels of early July.     

We’ve departed on Thursday, planning to make this “last blast” a long weekend – we won’t return home until Tuesday.  Arriving at Glendo around 5pm, we’re surprised to find most of the cliff-side campgrounds already occupied.  It’s looking like a busy weekend!  We occupy a site in lower loop that we’ve camped at more times than any other site.  Originally a reservable site, this was the very 1st place we camped at Glendo. This cliff-side site has a shallow parking area, a few flat tent sites and outstanding cliff side views.  The site directly across the street is convenient as a second site with lots of parking and convenient to the restrooms.     

Launching at Glendo - Halls Marina

Launching at Glendo - Halls Marina

Friday, Saturday and Sunday all turned out to be excellent boating days.  The weather was mild, plenty of sunshine and little wind.  However on Monday, a cold front has moved through with very windy conditions and temps in the 60’s.  Brrrr!      

Instead of staying around camp, we opt to do a bit of sightseeing and head south to Guernsey, WY.  Guernsey is home to a smaller, downstream reservoir (of the same name) on the North Platte river.  We’ve often noted that this reservoir might be a worthy alternative to Glendo when water levels drop.  Plus, there are some interesting sights nearby, the Oregon Trail Ruts, Registry Rock and several interesting CCC buildings.    

The town of Guernsey is located about 15 miles south of Glendo, and about 15 miles east of I-25.  The resevoir is just north of town.  Entering at the south gate, we choose to explore the south rim of the canyon with the impressive Guernsey Muesum just inside the Park.  This Muesum, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s, is a beautiful example of early rustic architecture.     



Guernsey State Park Audio Tour  

Created as part of the Roosevelt post-Depression “New Deal” legislature, the CCC employed thousands of 17 to 25 year old men in federal public works projects.  Guernsey was perhaps one of the most important of these projects, introducing the first cooperative venture between the Bureau of Reclamation, the National Park Service and the Civilian Conservation Corp.  In another impressive point of history, Guernsey dam was engineered by Elwood Mead, who was key in drafting the water laws of Wyoming and Colorado.  Mr. Mead later became the head of the Federal Bureau of Reclamation, overseeing some of the most the complex projects in US history,  Hoover Dam, Grand Coulee and Owyhee Dam. The largest water project in the US, Lake Mead, takes its name from Elwood Mead.    

Continuing along Lake Shore Drive, we explore some of the water-side camp spots that hold promise for future camping & boating weekends.  Among the best are sites #29 and #30 in Long Canyon located near the north entrance. Backtracking along Lake Shore Drive, we cross the dam and continue on Skyline Drive.  Built by the CCC to provide scenic vistas across the reservoir, Skyline Dr boasts two of the most impressive features of the park.  Brimmer Point, overlooking the canyon and dam.  During the days of the CCC, festivals and celebrations were held at Brimmer Point, complete with the spectacle of rolling a car over the cliff into the canyon below.

Further along Skyline Drive is the Castle.  Another example of the impressive CCC Rustic architecture, the Castle is perhaps one of the most elaborate picnic shelters in the US.  Sitting high on a bluff overlooking the canyon and resevoir, the two story Castle has two arched walkways on the lower level which align with Laramie Peak, the highest peak in the region.  On the upper story, the observation platforms provides views of the Guernsey area.



Departing the Castle, Skyline Drive continues to water’s edge at a group of campgrounds surrounding a bay on the southwest corner of the resevoir.  Several sites have potential in these campgrounds – At Cottonwood Cove, sites #2, 3, 4.  At Sandy Point, sites #22/23, #27/28 and #30/31.  At Sandy Cove, Sites #5, 6,7.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: