A portal view of a portion of Lake Powell below 10,388-foot Navajo Mountain.
California Part III
And, the travelogue continues...
The day before our flight home, we traveled from Bakersfield, California, south to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). After returning our car, we enjoyed a very nice room at LAX, and I was able to watch jets, many quite large and from around the globe, land and take-off. Several "oldish" McDonnell Douglas DC-10s were hanging out at Fed Ex.
On the morning of our departure, we made it through security fairly quick. Now all we had to do was kill several hours, which for me, when surrounded by airplanes, is easy. Watching the ground crews is fun too. Below a honey dipper is at work.
I'm not sure if this Canadian Jet is an Airbus or Boeing airliner. If you're me, that's important info.
Here is our ride. Our Frontier Airline's tail mascot was Yukon the Caribou. If anyone's interested, our jet was an Airbus A320 — important stuff! Grin!
Marina Del Rey appeared seconds after takeoff. We flew out over the Pacific a bit before heading northeast.
Now heading northeast, the Long Beach area may be seen while looking overland toward the southeast.
Hi ho, hi ho, across the Mojave Desert we go!
Lake Mojave (actually a reservoir) looks rather inviting. Lake Mojave is formed by the Colorado River and the Davis Dam. It rests between Lake Mead to the north (another reservoir) and Lake Havasu to the south (yet another reservoir). Lake Mojave makes-up a portion of the state line between Arizona and Nevada. The reservoir encompasses an area of 41 square miles.
A portion of Lake Mead also was seen below us. Passengers on the left side would have seen Lake Mead (a reservoir) and the Las Vegas area; possibly the Hoover Dam as well. Lake Mead covers 247 square miles. Yes, I'm picky about the nomenclature labeling lakes (natural) and reservoirs (man-made).
Not the best photo, but therein lies the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River.
Welcome to the land of sandstone, slot canyons and dry desert heat. Below is an aerial view of Page Arizona and the Glen Canyon Dam. Lake Powell (a reservoir) is formed by this dam. Marble Canyon begins at the dam and runs south with the Colorado River, eventually becoming the Grand Canyon. Several miles below the dam is where Grand Canyon river rafters put-in. Moreover, the slot canyons of the wild and woolly Paria River intercept the Colorado River here at Lee's Ferry. I've waded out into the river at Lee's Ferry, and the water is quite chilled because it normally exits at the dam's base. In short, your wet extremities shrivel, while your upper extremities bake in 100-degree heat. The canyonlands of the Four Corners region is an interesting area that's very isolated and sports a very unique history.
No matter what your views are on Lake Powell, it's an incredible place to visit and play. On the other hand, I believe that John Wesley Powell would turn over in his grave if he knew a reservoir, in the middle of the desert he explored, held his name. In short, he didn't agree with irrigating the arid (desert) southwest.
Lake Powell encompasses 524 square miles. It is the second largest reservoir by water volume when full. Lake Mead has the largest volume capacity, but is seldom full due to demands. Just above the dam is Wahweap Bay. The two bays shown below become one during higher flows. The approximate center of the photo is Wahweap Marina.
Did you know we about lost Glen Canyon Dam in 1983? We did! It would make for an interesting blog post. I have some photos somewhere. But for now, the following link summarizes that potential disaster. Part of the selling point on these large dams is flood control. However, if you have a full reservoir, more water on the way and can't open the spillways because they're eroding away the integrity of the dam — you have an exciting predicament!
Sediment-laden spring runoff of the San Juan River reaches the slack water of Lake Powell.
The Lake Powell area is nothing short of an oasis in the desert. Prior to 1963, before the floodgates were shut and it began its transformation into a reservoir, it was a mystical land of hidden sandstone passages; home to numerous slot canyons fingering out into the sandstone for miles. It was a riparian oasis of shade, springs and fern-covered grottos. I would love to have seen the area pre-reservoir. I didn't start going to Powell until the late-1960s, at which point I was just a boy.
If interested in this region pre-reservoir, you may like the following books:
Chavez, Fray Angelico (Translator), Ted J. Warner (Editor). 1995. The Domínguez - Escalante Journal: Their Expedition Through Colorado, Utah, Arizona And New Mexico In 1776. University of Utah Press. 153 pp.
Inskip, Eleanor. 1995. The Colorado River Through Glen Canyon Before Lake Powell. Inskip Ink. Moab. 95 pp.
Kelsey, Michael. 2004 (4th Edition). Hiking And Exploring The Paria River. Kelsey Publishing. Provo. 288 pp.
Porter, Eliot. 1963 (1st Edition). The Place That No One Knew: Glen Canyon On The Colorado. Sierra Club. 170 pp.
Powell, John Wesley. 1961. Exploration Of The Colorado River And Its Canyons. Dover Publications.
Reisner, Marc. 1993 (Revised Edition). Cadillac Desert: The American West And Its Disappearing Water. Penguin Books. 608 pp.