Sunday, May 11, 2008

Golden Spike National Historic Site – Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

After leaving Moab we stopped for a night in Springville, Utah. This was the first time we have only spent one night at a site since we have been on the road. The drive from Moab to Springville was about 260 miles. Maybe 260 miles for a day does not sound like much, but you don’t pull a 14,000 pound trailer down the road at 75 mph even if it is the legal speed limit! After Springville we went to Brigham City. Utah about 60 miles north of Salt Lake City. The RV Park in Springville was “convenient” to I-15. That means is was right off of the interstate, across the street from a Flying J truck stop and had a railroad track at the end of the property. The RV Park in Brigham City was out in the country. It is 2 miles off of the interstate and surrounded by farms and very quiet.

Golden Spike National Historic Site

About 30 miles northeast of Brigham City is Promontory Summit, Utah, the location where the final spike linking the Transcontinental Railroad was driven on May10, 1869. At the National Historic Site they have replicas for the four spikes used in the ceremony in 1869. The actual Golden Spike was immediately taken by Leland Stanford, then the Governor of California and the President of the Central Pacific Railroad, back to California and today it is housed at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Apparently three of the four spikes used for the ceremony are at Stanford University.

At Golden Spike they have running replicas of the two steam trains that were at the ceremony, a nice movie on the building of the railroad and various pieces of equipment used to build the railroad. Twice a day from May 10th to Labor Day they have a reenactment of the ceremony with volunteer docents in period costumes. We were just a few days too early to see the reenactment. In fact, we couldn’t stay at the RV Park over the weekend, because the Golden Spike RV Club was having a rally at the RV Park and were going to the May 10th anniversary celebration. The rail line to Promontory Summit was abandoned in 1914 when the railroad built a bridge across the Great Salt Lake to shorten the distance to California. During World War II the abandon tracks were torn up to be melted down for the war effort. Since the rails are no longer on the rail beds they have two Auto Tours where you drive on the old rail beds. That may be fine for “autos” but it sure felt narrow in a dually pickup truck.

Golden Spike National Historic Site link: Golden Spike

The slide show of our visit: BirdingRVers at Golden Spike Site

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Much closer to Brigham City is the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge Visitor Center. Bear River MBR is just over 74,000 acres of marsh, open water, uplands, and alkali mudflats providing critical habitat for migrating birds. Naturally we were not there at peak season because most of the migrating birds have flown north. At its peak the Bear River MBR attracts almost a million migratory birds! They were quick to tell us that there are birds that nest on the refuge and we were sure to see birds on the 12 mile auto tour loop. The auto tour begins 15 miles east of the visitor center. What they neglected to tell us was that ¾ of the 15 miles were gravel road and that all of the auto tour was gravel road. So, our trip ended up being about 30 miles of gravel road in various stages of repair. Having said that the refuge had by far the most birds of anywhere we have been for months. We added 12 birds to our year list. In fact either this whole area is very birdy or spring has finally caught up to us. At the feeders we put up outside our trailer we had Black-headed Grosbeaks, Lazuli Buntings, Western Tanager and American Goldfinches all at the feeders at the same time. The year list is up to 173.

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge web site:Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

The slide show of our visit: BirdingRVers at Bear River MBR

We are currently in Pocatello Idaho, we have spent the weekend doing groceries, laundry and getting the blog caught up. Tomorrow we are off to Yellowstone National Park the forecast is “Snow Likely”!

1 comment:

  1. its very good to see spike bird in the zoo..they are some good species of birds..