Note: I left off editing images from our 2010 trip late last year – I was working full time and other interests distracted me – with the post Pathfinder. I am picking up where that one left off, promoting this post from it’s August 28, 2010 original date to September 26, 2016 as a “Blast from the Past” post.
On July 13, (2010) we were camped at a site on the shore of Pathfinder Reservoir, south of Casper. We planned to take a short drive and then spend the rest of the day relaxing and reading.
Pathfinder Reservoir, Pathfinder Dam and Fremont Canyon all are all named for John Charles Frémont – the 19th century military officer, explorer and political candidate. Frémont was known as “The Pathfinder.”
Pathfinder Dam and Fremont Canyon:
The flow during the summer is usually much lower than this due to drawdown for irrigation and power production. Exceptional rainfall combined with good winter snowpack had resulted in almost all reservoirs along the having higher levels that had been seen for several years. Some, in fact, had campgrounds that were closed due to flooding.
Looking downstream, the bridge below us is an old footbridge:
A closer view of the footbridge and the canyon:
A view from the bridge:
We found a couple more locations downstream where we could view the canyon:
After our drive, we went back to the camper. While we were gone the wind had picked up and, with the heat, it very uncomfortable sitting outside. There was no power at the campground and we didn’t want to run the generator, so we decided to forfeit on day’s camp fee and move on down the road (see Wind Blown).
The Pathfinder Dam, is a masonry arch dam which completely blocks, from bedrock to canyon rim, the course of the North Platte River. Construction of the dam was completed in 1909. Fashioned from huge blocks of granite, quarried nearby from the same formation into which the river had trenched its canyon course, the dam stands 214 feet high, has a crest length which reaches to 432 feet, and tapers from a base 97 feet wide to a top which is no more than 11 feet in width. The building of Pathfinder Dam was a successful testing of the late nineteenth century concept of arid lands reclamation in the western United States. The reservoir basin had a shore line greater than 75 miles in extent and afforded opportunity for storage of more than one million acre feet of irrigation and industrial water to previously arid lands.