Thursday, December 1, 2016

More From the Road: The Colorado River Aqueduct

When I drove to the area on the south side of the Whipple Mountains where I ended up camping amidst downpours and nearby lightning, I thought I'd grab a few photos of the Colorado River Aqueduct, which passes through just north of CA Highway 62 on its way to the greater L.A. area, but an RVer was camped just beyond the aqueduct overpass, so I blew it off until I left. (I'm not terribly social while in the field, especially when traveling along.) On my way in, I took one shot showing the signage and the overpass (first photo). In the Whipples (and elsewhere), the aqueduct goes underground in several places, usually to allow passage of large dry washes. It's at these points that dirt roads can cross. The sign says, "Private Right of Way. Any Person Entering Thereon Does So at His Own Risk. Permission to Pass Revocable at Any Time. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California." It is probably referring to the road paralleling the aqueduct, rather than the road crossing it, but who knows.

I stopped to take a few more photos on the way out during the early morning of the next day (after having coffee, of course!). These photos can be used to help illustrate a few stories I have about doing recon and exploration in the Whipple Mountains area—stories that date back to 1981, resume in 1983, and continue off and on after that through the late 1980s. (That's really why I went out of my way to drive into the area in the first place.)
The entire aqueduct, where above ground, is surrounded by a fairly hefty chain-link fence and more "No Trespassing" type signage in English and Spanish.
In this second view (above), Savahia Peak and its detachment-tilted Tertiary volcanic rocks, which we saw earlier, is sticking up a little.
View of the aqueduct looking through the chain-link fence.
While working in the area during a misconceived June recon program (June: ugh and yikes!), my field partner and I fantasized about cooling off in the water by tying ourselves off to the fence with ropes. We didn't think we'd want to be sucked downstream into the next underground section of the aqueduct, even though that section is a relatively short one: only 204 feet (61 m). But the rope idea, that might work!

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