Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

75 Feet

Cathedral in the Desert, Clear Creek, Lake Powell

Lake Powell’s water level was 75 feet lower last week than it was in October 2012, the last time I had the pleasure.  75 feet.  If I think about that too much I feel the creeping approach of claustrophobia.

The lake is dynamic, a slave to hydroelectric demands and snow melt.  Typically these forces contribute to a low lake level, but there was a frighteningly dramatic example of the opposite during the “El Nino” runoff in 1983.  If you don’t know that story already, I highly recommend reading about it.

Not to worry; the powers that be are forecasting a 45-50 foot increase this season.  Arizona didn’t get much precipitation this winter, but the Rockies did well and a large portion of that drainage feeds the Colorado River.

I traveled again with the Glen Canyon Field School(that’s me and my husband silhouetted on the web page) for their week-long photography trip called “Lens on the Lake.”  These trips usually take place each spring and fall.  At their heart is the leadership of Master Photographer and area expert GaryLadd, and Captain Danny Woods (This Side of That Guide Service).

It’s impossible to overstate the impact of a dramatically different lake level on the scenery and opportunities here. Cathedral in the Desert (opening image) Looked like this 18 months ago, the waterfall completely submerged.
Top of the Waterfall, Cathedral in the Desert, October 2012
Day after day we visited slot canyons, caves, and other geologic features that were simply not accessible previously, and according to Gary, had not been for almost a decade.
This image of Danny and his son “walking on water” is a graphic example.
Last Chance Canyon, Lake Powell
Perhaps the most telling image is this screen shot from my phone.  The satellite image was taken at a much higher water level. I’m so glad I wasn’t really bobbing in the water while waiting for sunrise light near padre butte.
Mobile Phone Capture, Padre Bay, south of Padre Butte, Lake Powell
I can’t recommend this experience enough, and the last I heard there were openings on the fall trips.  Maybe I’ll see you there.

More2014 Lake Powell images are in the Page and Lake Powell Gallery on the website.

1 comment:

  1. Well, researching for a post on my March 2015 Lake Powell Trip I find that I miscalculated. The change in water level was actually 45 feet. Nothing to sneeze at, but embarrassing. Sorry about that.