Monday, September 20, 2010

Lake Pleasant

If you take I-17 take I-17 North out of Phoenix and head west on the Carefree Highway, you'll soon pass signs for Lake Pleasant Regional Park. Lake Pleasant is Arizona's second largest lake. The largest lake is Theodore Roosevelt Lake, if you exclude the lakes Arizona shares with neighbors.

Though I'm endlessly impressed by the desert and Arizona's landscapes, I have to say, Lake Pleasant doesn't do it for me. Originally formed with the creation of the Waddell Dam in 1973, a second dam, creatively named the New Waddell Dam, was constructed in 1993 and vastly expanded the size of the lake.  The water comes from the Agua Fria River and is also brought in by the Central Arizona Project Aqueduct from the Colorado River. It's a man-made lake, but that's not necessarily why I'm not impressed. It's $6 to get in and most of what you see are picnic tables, boats, trucks, awnings, radio towers, marinas, more trucks, barbed wire fences, asphalt, power lines, nondescript tan tanks with pipes, and other concrete monstrosities that surround what was probably a very nice canyon at one time. The wildlife is either on display, like the desert tortoise to whom the Maricopa Regional Parks has so generously donated several square yards of dirt. Or the critters have adapted to the environment, like the wake of vultures that has claimed the radio towers. Clearly, Lake Pleasant is really the native habitat of the jet-ski and Toyota Titan, the RV and the pontoon boat. Feral species.

If Edward Abbey didn't hate Lake Pleasant, he didn't know about it. I just tried to take some nice photos. It seems that when the sun's going down, the hills still glow Arizona-red under the tan paint and black tar.  More on our Flickr page.
trapped desert tortoise
vulture perch 1
Barbed Wire
Sacrificed Horizon
Lake Pleasant 2

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