Friday, October 26, 2012

Today we toured the Glen Canyon Dam. It was a very nice tour compared to the one we took of Hoover Dam. Our tour guide was very informative and we descended to the bottom of the dam and got to see some of the inner workings of this massive structure.

Your first stop is along the Glen Canyon Bridge for a photo op, then head to the visitor's center. You can see the Visitor's Center on the left side of this photo. This picture also shows what Lake Powell is like during the drought years. This year it's less than 50% of capacity. Note the "bathtub ring" at the water line. Normal capacity is at the top of the white ring.

The Visitor's Center houses a gift shop and numerous photos of the area and the early pioneers. Looking out the windows of the visitor's center gives you some perspective of the height of the dam and the bridge. The dam tour starts here.

This is a picture of the Glen Canyon Bridge from inside the visitor's center. Notice the steep canyon walls and the height of the bridge. It is now the eighth highest arch bridge in the world. At the time of it's completion in 1959, it was the worlds highest arch bridge.

Here, we are on top of the dam looking down it's face. Pretty spooky and a little unnerving for those with acrophobia, or fear of heights. Count me in that group, but on this trip I was able to control it pretty well.

This photo shows the Glen Canyon Bridge from the top of the dam. I took this photo to put it's size in perspective. Notice the semi traveling across the bridge. It's over 700 feet above the Colorado River.

Another look down the face of the dam from the top. We remarked at what appears to be a putting green between the dam face and the support buildings. Those buildings house the hydroelectric generators that provide the electricity sold to pay for the construction and continued upkeep of the dam.

Leaving the top of the dam, we proceeded down an elevator almost 450 feet to the bottom of the dam. The concrete is 300 feet thick here. Upon exiting the elevator we walked down several of these immaculate corridors which are used as passages inside the dam itself for inspections.

As you exit the corridors you're presented with a massive and inspiring view of the dam from the bottom. A picture cannot do this view justice. This structure is massive and awesome.

We found out this was not a putting green, although it is natural grass. There's really no reason for it other than someone wanted something different than just a concrete finish. It provided a homey touch to an otherwise stark facade. A few plants would have completed the effect...

Looking up from our vantage point at the bottom, we see both the Glen Canyon Bridge and the Visitor's Center.

We finished the tour with a visit to the generator room which had all eight generators active. Once the tour is finished we retraced our steps and ascended back to the top of the dam and returned to the visitor's center. If you are in the area, the tour is very informative. They limit the number on each tour so it's more personal than some. The price for the tour is a reasonable $5.

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