Day 18 – Golden Spike National Historic Park

Today we visited the Golden Spike National Historic Park.  We stopped here on my request.  After watching all those episodes of “Hell on Wheels” on Netflix, I couldn’t come this close and not visit.  I really enjoyed it, but it was a very hot day in Northern Utah with temperature reaching 97 degrees while we were at the park.

The Park is definitely out of the way, but well worth the effort if you’re a train or history buff (I consider myself both). There are two working replica trains representing the two trains of the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific railroads.  Both trains are true functioning replicas and the highlight of the visit was watching them move along the tracks.  Part of the visit was a car tour where you drive along an original cut for the railroad.  It is a very nice self-guided tour that takes about 45 minutes.

I was very reflective during the visit.  It was 97 degree outside during our visit.  There is no shade anywhere.  The wind is blowing, but it is dry.  The railroad was built by pure man power.  It was done before hydraulic construction equipment was invented.  Explosives were occasionally used, but mostly it was built by men with hand tools.  The worked every day under the blistering sun.  It was always hot.  I have to admit they were more manly than I.  If I had been there I would have devised a method for erecting a tent over the workers so they could work in the shade.  The water boy would have been my best friend and I would have given him half my wages to make sure he took care of me.  I’m proud of my Irish ancestors and the many Irish immigrants who worked on building the railroad.  My direct ancestors were not among the one who built the railroads, mine were civil servants in Boston.

On of the peculiar highlights of our visit was watching this Gopher Snake climb the wall. This was a 12 foot high stone wall.  Then he shimmied across a 2 inch fire sprinkler pipe to reach a Barn Swallow nest where he had lunch.  The Barn Swallows saw him as a threat and were very excited, but I never saw one attack the snake.  After lunch he had trouble negotiating the pipe on a full stomach and fell to a table under the pipe.  A park ranger gathered him up and deposited him in the field.

After driving back to Salt Lake City, we went to dinner at Red Rock Brewing downtown.  Dinner was great and the beer was excellent.  Albert had this Elephino which was a tasty beer.

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