Take a look at that panorama picture above (click to enlarge). Does that look like a desert scene to you? If so, it would be seem more like a desert mirage, right? If you look closely, you’ll even see a couple of sailboats.
Well, that panorama shot is composed of four frames I took during our yesterday’s spur-of-the-moment outing to Lake Pleasant. (Maybe I should quit saying “spur-of-the-moment” as most of the things we do happen that way 🙂 ).
Turns out Elizabeth had never been to Lake Pleasant even though she has lived in Arizona for over two decades now. Nor to Wickenburg, a dusty cowboy town about 6o miles northwest of Phoenix. So our half-day desert exploring trip opened new horizons for her.
For me, too. I also learned something new. Even though I had been to Lake Pleasant a number of times before, it was before they had opened a Visitor Center on the highest hill overlooking the lake. The above shots were take from that spot.
I struck up a conversation with an elderly man who worked at the center and found out to me surprise that this 10,000-acre lake was actually man-made. It is now being fed by waters diverted from the Colorado River and brought via the Central Arizona Canal to here. The big ramp you see in the panorama shot with two giant concrete posts is actually how that water enters the lake from the canal.
At the time the Lake Pleasant was originally created by construction of the Waddell Dam in 1927, it was the largest such project in the world. Now that original dam is completely submerged by the much larger lake created in 1994.
On our way back, we saw a hungry-looking coyote hovering on the shoulder of the road. He sauntered off into the desert when we came closer.
And now, here are some other shots we took at Lake Pleasant…
Lake Pleasant Brief History
The cornerstone of the regional park is the 10,000 acre (40 km² or 15.6 mi²), Lake Pleasant, one of the important artificial reservoirs surrounding the Phoenix metropolitan area. Created by the Waddell (Pleasant) Dam, which was finished in 1927, the lake originally had a surface area of 3,700 acres (15 km² or 5.8 mi²) and served as a private irrigation project. At 76 feet (23 m) high and 2,160 feet (658 m) long, the original Waddell Dam was, at its completion, the largest agricultural dam project in the world. The lake was filled by the Agua Fria River, capturing a large watershed throughout Yavapai County.
Construction of the Central Arizona Project Aqueduct, which began in 1973, soon diverted water from the Colorado River to the lake, converting the lake from an agricultural project into a storage reservoir for the project. Completed in 1994, the New Waddell Dam tripled the surface area of the lake, submerging the old dam beneath its waters. Shortly after the completion of the dam, the area experienced a prolonged drought, and while the lake grew considerably it would not reach full capacity until early 2005. Although still fed by the Agua Fria River, the CAP aqueduct is the primary source of water for the reservoir.
EAGLE’S NEST IN THE EVENING
Back home, here’s what Eagle’s Nest looks like in early evening…
And now, here are the same scenes in daylight hours…