Gold Canyon, Az

Gold Canyon, Az
New Years Day 2015, Gold Canyon, AZ

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Roosevelt Dam

So how do you tell its winter in Arizona.  The license plates change colour.  Its definitely winter as we observed one vehicle with Arizona plates in the lot at the local Camping World store.  Surrounding that vehicle were cars and trucks from Ontario, Manitoba (2), Saskatchewan (1), Alberta (3) and BC (2).  Canucks rule!

Have you ever seen those motorcycles that have 3 wheels.  Either two in the front or two in the back. Look much more stable than a regular motorcycle and down here you see almost as many of the trikes as the 2 wheelers.  I saw a modification on the 3 wheel design at a parking lot the other day.  It had 2 wheels in the back with walls around the perimeter, a flat floor and a drawbridge type door in the back.  The driver was sitting in a wheelchair behind the handle bars.  Simply lowers the door in the back, wheels in, raises the door and drive away.  A pretty ingenious way to allow wheelchair bound motorcycle enthusiast to hit the road.  Have also seen numerous kit cars driving around.  I don't think any of these would be legal at home.  Down here almost anything goes.

On Wednesday, Feb 11, we headed out to the east end of the Apache Trail which features the Roosevelt Dam which is where the paved road ends and the dirt, washboard trail resumes.  The dam was built along the Salt River and provides control of water levels to prevent seasonal flooding while providing irrigation, drinking water and electric power for the area.  The dam also created Roosevelt Lake which has become a large recreational area with campgrounds and marinas.  Built between 1903 and 1911, the dam was named after President Theodore Roosevelt whose support was instrumental in obtaining funding for construction.  At the time the Dam was the highest masonry arch dam in the world and also one of the last stone masonry dams built.  

 The drive to the dam takes us through the Tonto National Forest which provides the usual fantastic vistas.

While most of this Saguaro is long dead this little arm is refusing to give up the ghost.

While we didn't know about this when we left for our trek to the dam we came across the Tonto National Monument.  It consists of perhaps the very first condos built in the area.  The local population of some 700-1000 years ago built multi-family dwellings in these caves.  A paved trail made the trek up the canyon wall easier than some of our hikes but it was still an elevation change of some 500 feet so we took lots of breaks to catch our breath and take some great pictures.  

 Because of the dry and warm weather these mud and stone walls are in surprisingly good condition considering their age.

The dam created Roosevelt Lake which provides a playground for the residents of the area.

This bridge crosses the channel which leads to the dam from the lake.  Its quite a striking view.

Above the lake side of the dam.  Below is the other side of the dam.  Quite the difference in water level.

In the foreground is one of the many campgrounds along the shore of the lake.  The small blue shelters are picnic shelters built at each individual camp site.  The trees you see at the bottom are only about 10 feet tall so shade is at a premium.

We are off to Yuma early Sunday morning and have mixed feeling about leaving.  We have become quite comfortable here but perhaps thats not a good thing.  While theres still lots to see and do here I'm sure new adventures await.  After all we bought the trailer to travel.

Still have pictures of the Boyce Thompson Arboretum but they will have to wait till we get settled in Yuma.