Thursday, July 26, 2012

That Sinking Feeling and a Mystery

After we left Independence Rock we headed toward Muddy Gap and Jeffrey City, Wyoming.  As it turned out, we didn't even stop at either place.  It was a lovely drive, though, with lots of space to view.   We talked about how sad we feel for people who don't ever get to see such wide open places.  There is such beauty!


We just kept moving on, enjoying the ride.
We decided to head on to Lander, Wyoming.  We'd been there before but it had been awhile.
Can you see that there is still snow on the very top of the mountains?


As we drove into Lander, Mike spotted a golf course.  I didn't mind exploring for a bit on my own so I encouraged him to go golfing.  Bode and I drove through Lander and then I decided to go out to the Sinks.

"What are the Sinks?" you say.
I was hoping you would ask.

Well, the middle fork of the Popo Agie River, flowing down from the Wind River Mountains, does a very weird thing just a few miles outside Lander, Wyoming...



 it disappears.  I am not kidding you.  It is called the Sinks, and this  is what it looks like:


The river just "sinks" down under ground at that point.


I read that spelunkers had tried to go down into the caverns to get an idea of where the river is going.  Can you imagine?  Who in their right mind would go down into that?  They didn't get far as it quickly narrows down into spaces too tight for humans.

The river resurfaces just 1/3 mile away.  You can follow a trail to where it resurfaces and it takes only a matter of minutes, even walking.  Along the trail is this dry riverbed that only actually has water when there is a water flow higher than The Sinks can handle.  I loved the big boulders!


Where the water comes back to the surface is called "The Rise".  It is a calm, pretty place.


There are a LOT of trout there.
No, they didn't come underground.  
They swam upstream to spawn but
 at that point they
could go no further.
They live out their lives there.


Some have grown to 8-10 pounds there!


The water continues on downstream and looked quite serene to me.


So, what is the mystery?

Well, remember that it is just a matter of minutes from The Sinks to The Rise.
Scientists, using dye, found that the water actually travels for 
OVER TWO HOURS
before resurfacing?

Where is it all that time?
ALSO,
more water comes out at The Rise than goes down at The Sinks.

From where is that extra water coming?

Inquiring minds want to know!