Thursday, October 25, 2012

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area encompasses almost  1.2 million acres of mostly desert land in Arizona and Utah. The centerpiece of the area is Lake Powell, a jewel in the middle of the desert surrounded by  spectacular canyons and cliffs. Lake Powell was created with the completion of Glen Canyon Dam in 1966. It is the second largest reservoir in the United States, storing almost 25 million acre feet of water when full. It is 186 miles long, 25 miles wide and has almost 1900 miles of shoreline. As such, it is the most popular house boating and water skiing area of the United States. The views of the canyons are an added bonus. Every year, over 1.9 million people visit this area. We joined them this year.

Here's a picture of the dam taken from a vantage point downstream. It took 10 years to build this dam. It was built to hold back the Colorado River and allow the upper basin to better utilize it's allocation of river water and to provide water storage for the lower basin in times of drought. It is 710 feet high and 1,560 feet wide. Lake Powell Reservoir rests directly behind the dam.

Access to the dam is achieved by crossing this steel arch bridge via US 89. It was constructed in 1959 and at that time was the highest arch bridge in the world. It is now the world's eighth highest, so it's still way up there. It stands 700 feet above the Colorado River below.

Here is a view of the downstream side of the dam. The Colorado River downstream of the dam to Lee's Ferry, 15.6 miles, remains a constant 47 degrees, 24/7/365, as water released from the dam comes from a depth of 600 feet and never has a chance to get warmer. Before construction of the dam, water in this area varied from 80 degrees in summer to 34 degrees in winter.

A short hike, 1.5 miles off US 89 provides you with an awesome sight. The Colorado River enters this area on the right, flows around the large formation in the middle and flows out the left, creating a horseshoe bend. For only $87 you can take a guided tour aboard a pontoon boat from the dam to Lee's Ferry and get up close and personal with this area.

We left the dam area and headed south to visit Lee's Ferry and the Navajo Bridges. I'll post more on those later. We also intend to tour the dam itself and that will take up an entire post. This is the area south of Page Arizona off US 89.

This area is off US 89A towards Kanab, Utah. The sheer cliffs are the result of wind and rain on sandstone.

After visiting Lee's Ferry, we headed back to our coach. We are staying at the Wahweap RV Resort which is in the Glen Canyon NRA on the banks of Lake Powell. This was a part of a cliff hollow containing a natural amphitheater. I took this picture as it appears to be a huge rhinoceros. Can you see it as clearly as I did ?

Here is a view from the dining room window of our coach. It's views like this that reinforce our decision to motor home full time and tour this beautiful country of ours. This area was deathly quiet at night and the number of stars astonishing.
Mother Nature uses wind and rain to create masterpieces in the desert landscape. We watched this spire change colors as the sun was setting. It was spectacularly beautiful. Tomorrow, Lee's Ferry and the Navajo Bridges...

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