Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lake Powell

Lake Powell - Utah  2012

Lake Powell (Mudflats) - Utah  2012

The beavers had to go and build another goddammed dam on the Colorado. Not satisfied with the enormous silt trap and evaporation tank called Lake Mead (back of Hoover Dam) they have created another even bigger, even more destructive, in Glen Canyon.

The impounded waters form an artificial lake named Powell, supposedly to honor but actually to dishonor the memory, spirit and vision of Major John Wesley Powell, first American to make a systematic exploration of the Colorado River and its environs. Where he and his brave men once lined the rapids and glided through silent canyons two thousand feet deep the motorboats now smoke and whine, scumming the water with cigarette butts, beer cans and oil, dragging the water skiers on their endless rounds, clockwise.

- Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

Mike hadn't realized that his route would take him so close to notorious Lake Powell, but it did. After one fleeting glimpse he soon came to a dedicated overlook. So he was able to look across at the alien lake in the middle of the desert, and down to see the abstract patterns left in the mudflats by evaporating water. Thank god though: no water skiers.

There was even an interpretive sign put up by the park service! It quotes Major Powell:

"So we have a curious ensemble of wonderful features - carved walls, royal arches, glens, alcove gulches, mounds, and monuments. From which of these features shall we select a name? We decide to call it Glen Canyon."

Then, in a bit of subliminal editorializing, the unknown author of the sign goes on to say that "In 1963 the waters of the Colorado began to rise behind Glen Canyon Dam. Lake Powell was born. Would John Wesley Powell approve?"

Interpretive Sign, Lake Powell Mudflats - Utah  2012

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