Friday, July 28, 2006

Picture Drought

The place: the old dam at Sullivan Lake. It's the point on the map where the Verde River officially begins. On the upside of the dam, the water course is called Big Chino Wash. It's one and the same, the Verde and the Big Chino -- I've always suspected that the fast change of names has something to do with old-time Arizona water politics: ranchers vs. the Salt River Project (which owns the Verde but not the Big Chino.)

Currently, that's beside the point. The photos with this post were taken a week ago, before a couple of big storms up north. I doubt if the storms have changed the picture much. I've never seen it so dry at this dam! Sullivan Lake is absolutely sere. The Little Chino Wash which also flows into Sullivan Lake was devoid of any vegetation; in recent years, it usually supported cattails.

Try to visualize the picture above as one taken from well above the canyon wall. At the right rear is the bottom of the dam. In past years, no matter how dry Sullivan Lake, there's always been a pool of water at the foot of the dam, complete with fish and frogs. Not in our current drought state. The only sign that this is a water course is the grape vine.

Lower Lake Mary up near Flagstaff isn't nearly as sere as Sullivan. However, the actual "lake" consists of a mere ribbon of water that traces the original route of the creek that feeds the lake. Last year, not only were those fence rails under water, thanks to our wet late winter, but water was actually pouring over the dam.


pb said...

Except for the wide-open expanses, these photos could have been ours in Upstate New York last year and this past spring.

Nature doesn't care what we want. Our area's had the worst flooding in some twenty-odd years, all in the last several weeks.

Sure wish I could send some of this rain out there. I firmly believe that some day we will do something analogous, but that is little comfort when the need is now and dire.

Granny J said...

I thank you for the offer of your rain! We can always use it!

You're so right about Nature not caring about our petty desires. We get what she doles out and that's that.

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