Boysen State Park

20 06 2015
Upper Wind River, Site #72

Upper Wind River, Site #72

We’re parked at the Upper Wind River Canyon campground at Boysen State Park in central Wyoming. After departing Glendo yesterday, it was about 3 hours across through Casper to Boysen.  We along with friends are in sites #71 & #72, 2 of the 10 reservable sites in this campground.  There are a total of 50 sites in this grove of cottonwood trees just below the dam. Water faucets are scattered throughout the park, but we only found one that was threaded and usable to fill our fresh water tank.  There are also spotlessly clean toilet facilities.

Boysen Reservoir Dam was built around 1950, and replaced a smaller, lower dam originally built in 1908.  An interesting aspect of the new dam was the relocation of an important rail line between Billings, MT and Casper, WY.  Trains now traverse the canyon and dam through a 1.3 mile tunnel that runs under the bay near the marina and exits below the dam.  In 1949, each mile of this unique rail line cost an estimated $1 Million. Nearly half of the entire dam building project of $28M was spent on 12 miles of rail relocation.  POPULAR MECHANICS ARTICLE

On Friday afternoon as we arrive, the cotton is hanging like huge snow drifts piled in the trees. The slightest breeze made it feel as if we’re inside of a snow globe, except the “snow” was sticky and unpleasant.  After sunset, the winds picked up and the cotton accumulated in sticky piles around our feet and coated many of the window screens.  So sticky in fact, that a gooey mixture of cotton, leaves and small pebbles stuck in clumps to the bottom of our shoes and the outside patio carpet.  Allergy sufferers were at high distress levels during these frequent “snow” storms. In fact, living up to the name “Wind River Canyon”; high, gusty winds picked up every evening between sunset and 10pm, howling well into the early morning hours.

On Saturday we decided to explore around the lake a bit, and get out of our cotton laden surroundings for a few hours.  There are several water-side campgrounds near the marina just above the dam.  Beyond, Tough Creek Campground provides an additional 65 camping sites, a large day use area and a boat ramp.  The newest campsites, just at the end of the peninsula are completely under water due to a very wet spring in central Wyoming.  However, these campsites (once dried out) appear to have an ideal lakeside location and fewer cotton wood trees.  Returning to Boysen we’d like to check out sites in the upper 290’s, #295 and #296 look ideal.

After spending a somewhat sneezy 3 nights at Boysen, on Monday we’re headed home. We’ll probably make a quick overnight somewhere along the way.  More from there…

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