Friday – November 14, 2014
Boulder City, Nevada
A bright, sunny day, with the temperature in the low seventies provided us with perfect weather to visit the Hoover Dam. The dam is located within 5 miles of our campsite at the Boulder Beach Campground, located within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a startling contrast of desert and water, mountain and canyons, primitive backcountry and modern technology. Two powerful and uncompromising forces created this fantastic place. Nature, working slowly over millions of years, built the foundation. Humans, working feverishly over the last hundred years, remodeled and built a landscape better suited to modern needs and desires. This created two huge lakes in one of Earth’s hottest, driest regions. Lake Mead and Lake Mohave emerged as the center of the nations first national recreation area. Thousands of people now enjoy the cool, refreshing lakes. Attracted first by the water, people find unexpected rewards: the desert’s quiet, stark beauty; imposing scenes of ancient, twisted mountains of the Basin and Range province; colorful vertical walls and high plateaus of the Grand Canyon; unspoiled backcountry. Then there is Hoover Dam-a towering symbol of what human genius can achieve.
Dr. Elwood Mead: Namesake of Lake Mead.
Born in 1858, Dr. Elwood Mead became a world-renown water and irrigation engineer. He wrote Wyoming’s first water code, the basis for code throughout the United States, Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand. He wrote the Carey Act, led water conservation and irrigation efforts in Victoria, Australia, and Palestine, created the Rural Institutions Program for the University of California, and led the first federal irrigation studies. He was the Bureau of Reclamation’s first commissioner, serving from 1924 until his death in 1936. His last great project was Hoover Dam.
Hoover Dam’s 45-foot-thick crest and 660-foot-thick base hold back Lake Mead. Completed in 1936, Hoover Dam turned the sometimes violent Colorado River into the still waters of Lake Mead. Over 5,000 men worked for five years to erect the massive structure between Black Canyon’s steep walls. The finished dam held enough concrete to pave a 16-foot wide, eight-inch-thick road from New York City to San Francisco. Hoover Dam is managed by the Bureau of Reclamation. Davis Dam, downstream, was finished in 1953. It’s rock-and-earth wall controls the flow of water from Lake Mohave.
Tomorrow another adventure begins.