Monday, May 2, 2011

Buffalo Bill Dam

 I was excited to see May 1 come for a couple of reasons.
On May 1 the Visitors Center of the Buffalo Bill Dam opened up again for the summer season.
It was not necessarily the Visitors Center that I was eager to visit, but more the opportunity to walk over the top of the dam and peer down into the river and see the steep canyons that comprise this major engineering feat.
May 1 also means that June is also just around the corner.
The start of nightly gun fights in the streets in front of the Irma Hotel.
The start of nightly rodeos and the opening of many of the touristy-cowboy-things that will be available in Cody.
Summer in Cody.  Summer in the Yellowstone.  
I can hardly wait.
I have been eagerly thumbing through local tourist magazines since the day we arrived and even though it is still often cold and windy, and even though we still are on the receiving end of regular periods of snow, summer is really just around the corner.
LC and I had business to attend to in town early this morning and decided to grab breakfast before heading to the Buffalo Bill Dam.
Unexpectedly we ran into our neighbor while in town and persuaded her to come with us to the dam.
This is a picture of LC and our neighbor walking from the still-empty parking lot towards the Visitors Center.
There is one tunnel in the picture, but there are actually three tunnels that you must drive through between Cody and the dam - all of them built directly into the rocks............
 Like the Visitors Center at Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, this one blends very well with the surrounding terrain and is lovely in design..........
 We all spent some time watching an interesting video about the construction of the dam and then walked through the center reading the displays and thumbing through books in the gift store.
While LC and our neighbor continued wandering through the building I took a walk outside to the dam.
I had been wanting to visit the dam since soon after we arrived and took our first drive to Wapiti.
It was a lovely and sunny day but it was also very cold and windy.
I didn't care.   
I needed and wanted to be outside, and to see this very interesting place.
This was my first experience at a dam and I was greatly enjoying it............
 Views from the dam...........
 Only a few miles outside of town is a bridge that accesses the Shoshone River.
It is an architecturally beautiful bridge and we have stopped there a few times.
I did not realize until today when talking to one of the center volunteers that the bridge leads to a paved trail.
That paved trail parallels the river to the left in this picture.
Now that I know we can walk "down there" - close to the river and into the canyons - I want to walk down there.
With our elderly neighbor with us, today was not a day to do that but we will soon..........
 While standing on the walkway on top of the dam I could see the deep canyons and raging river in one direction and this wide open view of the reservoir in the other.
It was windy and it was cold but it was also sunny and this was way cool...........
 Pictures taken while standing at the far end of the dam looking back towards the Visitors Center.........
 There is rock, rock and still more rock in this place.
In this whole region actually.
Rock in various shades of beige and red and grey.
Rock that is thousands if not millions of years old cut into layers and jagged peaks.
I have never seen anything like it before...........
 Back in the Visitors Center I continued with my walk through the displays............
 I found this map of Wyoming to be interesting.
It is very obvious just how completely surrounded by mountains Cody is.
Cody in a bowl.  
A very large bowl.........
 After leaving the Visitors Center we walked back to the truck, past the truck and to the very end of the parking lot where I took these pictures.
On such a beautiful day both the sky and water were unbelievable shades of blue...........

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