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To: frog report
From:Zelda Queen of the Night<zelda@valley.net>
Subject: The World's Only Captive Geyser
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Friday July 17,1998

After we left Massacre Rocks we went a little further along I-84 and then turned down I-86 and drove Route 30 towards Soda Springs. I hadn't really given much thought to why it would be named Soda Springs but as we drove into town we were greeted by a big sign, Welcome to Soda Springs, Home of the Worlds Only Captive Geyser! Hmm, well that certainly sounded intriguing. Then I saw a Thriftway Food Market and we swung in there, we were out of salad. While we were in the parking lot we saw another sign, Geyser Park, 2 blocks, with an arrow. Naturally we decided to go take a look. It was time for lunch anyway. We drove over some railroad tracks and found a nice little park but no geyser. This park was called Octagon Springs Park and on the sign we read that this was a favored stopping place for the wagon trains, (we are still following the Oregon Trail in reverse) whose members , we read, liked to partake of its bubbling waters which reminded them of acidic beer. Huh? We walked over a boardwalk path to a little
octagonal enclosure and there we found a little spring out of which bubbled and frothed... soda water! The water was bubbly just like soda water and I didn't like it all that well but Chris thought it was wonderful. He was simply delighted by the fact that the earth would deliver free soda water and immediately dumped our gallon of drinking water so that he could fill it with this stuff. We had lunch and he drank glass after glass.

We still hadn't found the captive geyser though but at one point I turned around and saw, about a block away, a huge plume of water rising from behind a building. We got in the car and drove over to take a look but by the time we got there it had stopped. However it was indeed a geyser, surrounded by a big pool of orange mineral deposits. We read that about 20 years ago the local high school had been building a swimming pool and had drilled down in the hopes of finding a hot spring to have a heated swimming pool. Apparently the countryside around there is just chock-a-block with springs of all kinds including hot ones so their chances were pretty good. Instead they got 40 feet down and let loose this geyser by accident, they now had it set on a timer somehow , it went off every half hour. We waited around to see it and half an hour later here it came, starting slowly like a little bubbly fountain and gathering force until it was a plume of water about 60 feet high. It was so good we waited around to see it again, taking a little walk around town meanwhile. When we got back to the car it was covered with little white spots (from the geyser spray)and I went into a panic. There went our day while we tried to get the car cleaned up, I was sure. However only a block away was a car wash and we went through it, we weren't the only ones, I'm sure that car wash does a land office business from that thing.

We were going to try to get to Flaming Gorge Recreation Area that night in Wyoming but what with the captive geyser we didn't. We got as far as a place called Bear Lake, one of the low points of the trip. It was terrifically hot and the sun doesn't set til around nine or nine thirty here and there wasn't a speck of shade. Plus the campground was really set up for RV's not tents, there wasn't any place to put the tent except for the hardpack driveway which was so hardpack it bent all the tent stakes. I got Chris to bed early that night, right at sunset, I'm tired of waiting until 10 every morning for him to wake up. By that time it's hot and packing up gets me horribly irritable in the heat.
The next day we drove down around Bear Lake back to Route 30 and over into Kemmerer, Wyoming. Kemmerer is the home of the original J.C.Penney store, Store #1 or the "Mother Store" as they call it. Then we hit the Interstate for a while, it was beginning to feel as though we would never get home at the rate we're going.

We got as far as Rawlins and then drove about 35 miles north to Seminoe Lake State Park.It seemed like a long way, especially after the road turned to gravel. But I am really glad we went up there. I've been through Wyoming on I-80 and it always seemed like a really empty state to me but once we were out there it was anything but. There were quantities of prairie dogs, which I hadn't ever seen, we both agreed they were just as cute as the dickens. Then there were also lots and lots of mule deer and also antelope. We saw lots of baby deer with their mamas, they seem to be born always in twins. The land was desolate in a way, dry with sagebrush bushes but there were also many small and beautiful wildflowers.
When we got to Seminoe Lake there were 3 campgrounds, we checked out two of them but not the third as the road was marked 4 wheel drive only, I'm pretty careful of this car of Chuck's. We picked the only one with a phone and pulled into a spot next to the lake. It happened to be opposite the motorhome belonging to the campground hosts and I sat with them under their shade awning while Chris unpacked our camp: stove, stuffed Sammy Salmon (from Mick's) and Goose(from Memphis). These are the articles he considers important. Then I set up the tent and went for a swim. The lake is beautiful, surrounded by rocky red bluffs. They say the trout and walleye fishing is excellent there. Our neighbors over the way immediately won Chris' heart by lending him their metal detector with which he went treasure hunting while I made supper. Then the campground hosts (female half) came over with an after supper ice cream bar and his day was complete.

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