Glen Canyon National Rec Area

We first heard about Glen Canyon and Powell Lake from a ranger in Bryce National Park. She had been stationed there and was pitching it as one of the great parks, even though virtually nobody on our hike had heard of it.

Powell Lake and the surrounding huge recreation area resulted from a large federal dam and water project, shepherded by the remarkable Senator Carl Hayden (See the book Vision in the Desert and a subsequent post I will write about this history).

We could have stayed a long time at the Glen Canyon Dam. It provides power for 30 million households, controls the water flow for a vast section of the west and southwest, and manages a vast water recreation enterprise in the region. The history and complexity of this vast project is daunting.

We would have checked out the top of the dam while there, but the winds were so high that the park worried that people would literally be blown off the top. As it was we later attempted to camp on the beach, but the winds there were such that we worried the surface of our van would be sandblasted off. Sleeping in the van that night felt like we were in a boat in serious seas: the van was rocking back and forth with big gusts and the wind was howling.

The colors and vistas in this recreation area are truly indescribable. It was hard selecting a relatively small group of photos — the changing light and colors was a constant show. The huge and bright night sky was another great gift. None of the photos below have been retouched, the colors are exactly as shot.

Glen Canyon was an outstanding find. We stayed longer than planned. We hope to go back and experience it some more.


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