Thursday, September 18, 2008
Palisades Dam & Reservoir
A favorite fishing hole for avid fishermen like my husband is Palisades Reservoir. Years ago, this same reservoir was a major landmark that my siblings and I watched for eagerly whenever we traveled to our grandparents' home in Wyoming. It meant we were about half-way to our destination. We were always amazed by the size of this reservoir, which reaches up into the Alpine, Wyoming area when the spring run-off is impressive. (This reservoir begins about 55 miles southeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho and is located on the south fork of Snake River. Most of it is in Idaho territory.)
To keep us entertained as we traveled around the reservoir, our mother would remind us that her father had helped build this dam in the 1950's. My grandfather made $400.00 a month while working on this dam project. (Okay, bad pun, but I digress.) ;) This dam\reservior provides water for irrigation and electrical power for the valley below. Mom would do her best to share this kind of important information. It inspired stimulating conversation:
"That's my mountain."
"It is not!"
"It is, too."
"I saw it first."
"Oh, yeah, well your mountain is ugly and stupid. I like that one over there."
And so on . . . =) There were always plenty of mountains surrounding the reservoir to argue over. I'm sure our mother was pleased when we finally tired of that and stared out at the beautiful water instead. ;)
"I saw a fish jump."
"Oh, yeah, well that's a stupid fish. It's letting everyone know where it is."
The years have flown by since those intellectual discussions. Soon, I was driving my own three sons past the Palisades Reservoir, usually on our annual Memorial Day Jaunt. Their conversations usually went something like this:
"Kris is ignoring me. He's listening to his CD's."
"I'd rather listen to music than you."
"Ow! Derek punched me."
"Gross! Devin threw up."
Our youngest son did have an extremely challenging time with motion sickness. I quickly learned the importance of drugging him before each trip with Dramamine. It also helped to let him walk around in the fresh air. Sometimes we would pull over as we traveled around Palisades to give everyone a chance to get some fresh air and to stretch and walk around. In the fine tradition of my mother, I would attempt to educate my children:
"Sons, your great-grandfather helped build this dam---"
"Gasp! Mommy swore!"
"I did not. I'm trying to tell you that years ago this reservoir didn't exist. My grandfather helped to build it---"
"Like with Legos?"
"No, she means with tinker toys." (Snicker, snicker, laugh, guffaw.)
I usually gave up about then, and loaded everyone back up in the car to continue with the journey. Periodically, I would point out other interesting items of historical family significance as we continued driving around the large reservoir. (It is approximately 70 miles in circumference.)
"That's where our family used to camp for the annual Sibbett Reunion," I would say, pointing to the Alpine Campground near the Wyoming border. "One year when I was about ten, our family was in a car accident right there, when my dad pulled out in front of a car. There used to be a large, wooden sign that hampered the vision for those who were trying to leave the campground. They moved that sign because of our accident."
"Cool! You were in a wreck. Did you die?"
"Yes, that's why we're having this conversation."
"Were you hurt?"
"Yes," I began.
"Neat! Was there blood?"
"No . . . well, yes, but not my blood. One of the women in the other car cut her forehead."
"Cool! Could you see her brains?"
About then I would change the subject. "Over on the other side of the road is the 4-H camp where I spent one week the summer I was about nine or ten. We had a lot of fun and on the last night, there was a live band. It was the first time I ever danced with a boy."
"Was it Daddy?"
"No. I didn't know your father when I was a little girl."
"You danced with another guy?"
"I'm tellin' Dad!"
Can you tell we never lacked for entertainment during those trips? =) There were other times when we would drive to Palisades. Usually it was for a picnic (there are 5 picnic areas around this reservoir), or to fish along the banks or boat docks, or to camp. (There are 6 campgrounds located in the surrounding area.) We always had a lot of fun. It is still one of my favorite landmarks. Not only is it a beautiful area, but I feel a tiny bond with this creation. After all, my grandfather helped to build it---and it's still standing. That's got to count for something. ;)
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