Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Paradise Found: Part I - Glen Canyon Dam

For my Facebook Friends who wondered about location of recent pictures, this should satisfy your curiosity. Wayne and I are at Wahweap Campground on Lake Powell at Glen Canyon in the hub of the Grand Circle -- part of the great Navajo Nation.  Yeah, that's in Arizona... a stone's throw from Utah.

Wayne and I came to Wahweap Resort Campground on Lake Powell without a hint as to what's here. Thinking we might visit Zion and Bryce National Parks and the Grand Canyon, we were just looking to get into the area for a place to set up camp for a week or two.  Imagine our surprise when we drove through the small town of Page, Arizona, rounded a curve and saw this ahead of us.

Glen Canyon Bridge was first fully constructed in California, then disassembled.
Half of the bridge was transported to each side of the canyon.
In 1959, Glen Canyon Bridge was reassembled here over the canyon.
It's placement permitted trucks to deliver equipment and materials for the dam and the new town of Page. 
So here's the scoop on this place for those who don't already know: Page, Arizona began as a construction camp for workers on the giant Glen Canyon Dam about 50 years ago. During the time, it was called Camp Page.

Glen Canyon Dam was dedicated by Lady Bird Johnson on September 22, 1966. 
It took 17 years for Lake Powell to completely fill for the first time. At full pool -- 3,700 feet above sea level, the lake is 560 feet deep at the face of the dam.

Yours truly giving depth perception to the distance to the Colorado River below the dam.
One morning we spent a few hours at the Carl Hayden Visitors Center at the Glen Canyon Dam learning about it's impact on the town of Page, the resulting lake and all that went into it's construction.  Fascinating stuff for those oddballs of us who get into this sort of thing.

We found there's lots more to do around Glen Canyon, Page and Lake Powell than just raft the river. 
Power from Glen Canyon Dam serves five states: Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.

Five million cubic yards of concrete make up Glen Canyon Dam and power plant. Surpassed only by the Grand Coolee.
That's equal to building a four-lane highway stretching from Phoenix, Arizona to Chicago.
Each concrete block of concrete in the dam is 7-1/2 feet high. 
Workers on the Glen Canyon Dam lived in a construction camp on the west side of the canyon with a footbridge connecting the east side -- 700 feet over the Colorado River gorge. Gasp!  As more construction workers arrived daily, scores of trailers were placed in rows on the nearby mesa.

The Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam
So, I wondered, how did the United States government get this property from the Navajo Indian people anyway?  Well, it seems a reciprocal agreement was made with the Navajo Tribe to transfer 16.7 square miles of their Manson Mesa to the Bureau of Reclamation in exchange for certain "desirable" land in southeastern Utah.  Yep. Stuck it to the Native Americans again.

There are many excellent viewpoints for the dam, the bridge and Lake Powell.
This picture was taken well below the dam. Page is to the right, Lake Powell and Wahweap Campground is in the far background. 

Next post will cover Lake Powell.

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