This week, as part of our Road Trippin’ Across the USA! series, we’ll travel to just a few of the many interesting places to see in the West.
Our first stop is Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Old Faithful is a geyser that erupts every 35 to 120 minutes for up to five minutes at a time. Its column of steam and superhot water can gush up to 180 feet in the air.
Our next stop is the Golden Spike National Historic Site in Promontory Summit, Utah. This is the site where the Union Pacific Railroad coming east from Omaha, Nebraska, and the Central Pacific Railroad coming west from Sacramento, California, finally met and joined in 1869.
Completed in 1936, the Hoover Dam is still an impressive feat of engineering.
Now we will travel to Hoover Dam on the border between Nevada and Arizona. When it was finished in 1936, Hoover Dam was the largest hydroelectric power station in the world. Hoover Dam is 726 feet high, 1244 feet long, 660 feet thick at the base, and 45 feet thick at the top. Once Hoover Dam was completed across the Colorado River, it created America’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead.
As we travel through Death Valley National Park, you will notice the heat and the sand and not much else. The day we drove through, the thermometer read 121 degrees. The sand actually melted the bottoms of our tennis shoes just a little. It’s easy to see how Death Valley got its name from the settlers trying to make it to the mountains they could see in the distance.
(Photo: At right, the redwood trees in California are the largest trees in the world. Below is a view of Mount St. Helens in Washington state, over 30 years after its 1980 eruption.)
Once you get into California, you will see the majestic redwoods. It is hard to imagine their size until you stand right beside them. Some redwood trunks have openings large enough to walk through. There are even a few famous redwoods, such as the Chandelier Tree that you can drive a car through!
Our last stop on our road trip through the West is Mount St. Helens in Washington state. Mount St. Helens had a major eruption in 1980 after a strong earthquake. Heated rocks and gas spewed from the volcano 12 to 16 miles up in the air and covered an area of over 230 square miles. When we visited the Mount St. Helens area over 30 years later, you could still see the crater from the volcanic blast, and there were still large areas covered with volcanic ash. Petrified tree trunks still lay on top of the ground, all laid over in the same direction. This awe-inspiring sight of nature’s power is worth the trip to see in person.
There is much more to do and see in the West. It is well worth the long trip. You can watch our Road Trippin’ Across the USA! – The West! Video on the Dade County 4-H Facebook page or on our Dade County GA 4-H YouTube channel. A new video is posted each Monday at 11 a.m. Eastern.