Tag Archives: Colorado River

Western Water

Colorado River viewed as vanishing resource

The federal government isn’t going to tap the Missouri River to slake the thirst of a drought-parched Southwest, the government’s top water official said Wednesday.

But rising demand and falling supply have water managers in the arid West considering a host of other options to deal with dire projections that the Colorado River — the main water supply for a region larger than the country of France — won’t be able over the next 50 years to meet demands of a regional population now about 40 million and growing.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued what he termed “a call to action” with a three-year study of the river, its flows and its ability to meet the future needs of city-dwellers, Native Americans, businesses, ranchers and farmers in seven Western states.

“We are in a troubling trajectory in the Colorado River basin, as well as the Rio Grande basin,” Salazar told reporters on a conference call outlining the math in the findings of the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study.

Salazar, who oversees water managers and dam operators at the federal Bureau of Reclamation, dismissed as politically and technically impractical some ideas in the study, including piping water from the nation’s heartland or towing Arctic icebergs south to help such thirsty U.S. cities as Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

He said he wanted to focus instead on “solutions that are out there that will help us.”

“There is no one solution that is going to meet the needs of this challenge,” Salazar said. “We need to reduce our demand through conservation. We also need to augment supply with practical measures.”

Salazar and Bureau of Reclamation officials warned that the Colorado River’s historical 15 million acre-feet per year flow has been reduced by 12 years of drought to about 12 million acre-feet. Officials say an acre-foot can meet the water needs of up two families per year.

Water interests and the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming together lay claim to all the water in the river and then some.

Mexico also has a stake in the river, and officials last month set new rules to share Colorado River water south of the border and let Mexico store water in Lake Mead near Las Vegas.

The study projects that by 2060 the river flow could fall 3.2 million to 8 million acre-feet short of regional needs.

A “very believable estimate” using climate change scenarios projects the river flow increasing to just 13.7 million acre-feet per year by 2060, said Kay Brothers, a former Southern Nevada Water Authority executive in Las Vegas who co-managed the study.

“We’re going to have problems in the future meeting the demands of the Colorado River basin,” Brothers said. “We have to begin now starting to put measures in place to meet the imbalance and prepare for a drier future.”

Even before the report was released, some advocates criticized it as a “fundamentally flawed,” and based on inflated projections of the amount of water in the river and the number of people in the region.

“States cooked the books to show higher demand for water consumption to set up a federal bailout on expensive water projects,” said Molly Mugglestone, director of the advocacy group Protect the Flows.

Gifts Galore: Holiday Gift Guide

Gifts Galore: Holiday Gift Guide

For the techies in your life or that wild child of yours, we did the dirty work for you and found some great stocking stuffers for your friends, family — really anyone — this holiday season.

Holiday Gift Guide:

Tory Burch Tenley Riding Boot Stila Snow Angel Color Palette iPhone Solar Charger Armani Exchange Women’s Textured Dial Bracelet Watch
Tory Burch Tenley Riding Boot, $495, toryburch.com Stila Snow Angel Color Palette, $39, stilacosmetics.com iPhone Solar Charger, $79.99, iphonesolarcharger.com Armani Exchange Women’s Textured Dial Bracelet Watch, $160, nordstrom.com
Armani Exchange Men’s “Whitman” Round Bracelet Watch Anthropologie Laced Delphinium Blazer Litter’s Jane Headpiece Kooba Camilla Bag
Armani Exchange Men’s “Whitman” Round Bracelet Watch, $160, nordstrom.com Anthropologie Laced Delphinium Blazer, $148, anthropologie.com Litter’s Jane Headpiece, $98, littersf.com Kooba Camilla Bag, $548, kooba.com
Microvision Showwx + HDMI Adornment Necklace from Hearts
Microvision Showwx + HDMI, $369, amazon.com Adornment Necklace (vintage crystal, vintage chain, vintage Chinese hair picks), $158, hearts.com
Arselia and dad at the Grand Canyon, Photo: Arselia Gales

A 10-Year-Old’s Unforgettable Journey To The Grand Canyon

Traveling with my mother and father is the fondest memory I have of my childhood. Together, we’ve traveled to Las Vegas, Baltimore and even Niagara Falls. As a little girl and even as a young adult I’ve always looked forward to learning where our adventures would take us.

When I was younger, I always wanted to go to the magnificent wonder known as the Grand Canyon. I’d seen pictures in magazines and on TV, and I just wanted to be there and experience the beauty first-hand. I was taken aback by the gorgeous, vibrant colors and the fact that something so amazing was just within my reach.Grand Canyon, Photo: Arselia Gales

In November 2002, when I was just 10 years old and living in El Paso, Texas, my parents decided to take a nice, little Arizona excursion. These trips were definitely not out of the ordinary. My grandparents lived in Tucson, so going to Arizona was very normal to me.

Grand Canyon, Photo: Arselia GalesIt’s no surprise that when my parents told me we would make a little pit stop at the Grand Canyon that I was nothing short of ecstatic.

When the trip began, I referred to myself as “Arselia Gales: Reporter/Recorder” and documented every single detail of the trip from the car ride there to the car ride home. Nothing was left unnoticed. I was determined to capture the magnificence of the Grand Canyon and everything in-between. Grand Canyon, Photo: Arselia GalesWe still have those old VHS tapes somewhere and even got some of them transferred to a DVD.

I also put myself in charge of taking all the photographs. I was a young multimedia journalist and didn’t even know it.

When we arrived to the Grand Canyon, I was awestruck. It was even better than the pictures. I was speechless.

I was also freezing.Grand Canyon, Photo: Arselia Gales

I can remember the long, seemingly treacherous drive up to the canyon. As the elevation increased, the temperature decreased. The declining temperature never seemed believable because the sun was shining just as it was in Phoenix. I really wanted to see some snow.

Luckily my mother was aware of the cold temperatures and came well prepared. My shiny silver jacket, which hung in my closet at home untouched, was now my best friend.

The four days we spent at the canyon were probably some of the four best days of my young life. Every day, my parents and I would go on new trails and explore new parts of the canyon. We saw lots of wildlife, and I’m grateful we never ran into any mountain lions or bobcats.

I’m still convinced we didn’t see the entire canyon, but I’m happy with what we saw. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful. The sunrise and sunsets were gorgeous, and the canyon itself was breathtaking. It was never-ending. I even remember seeing the Colorado River. I could see why this was one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

In addition to our daily canyon travels, my parents and I went to museums and saw an IMAX movie about the Grand Canyon.

When our four days in the canyon were up, I was happy and sad. I was glad that I finally could cross something off of my hypothetical bucket list, but I was sad that the trip was coming to an end.

Now that I’m older, I’d definitely love to see the Grand Canyon with my roommates or even go with my parents again. I’ve never seen anything so stunning and magnificent. Perhaps the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls tie for first place in the “Places I’ve Been” category, but that’s another story.

For more information about the Grand Canyon, visit nps.gov/grca/index.htm.

View looking southeast from the top of battleship towards weavers needle

Five Challenging Arizona Day Hikes

1. Humphreys Peak from Lockett Meadow — Flagstaff

Clouds rolling through the mountains on the way to Humphreys Peak

Difficulty: 5
Route Finding: 1
Round Trip: 14.3 miles
Accumulated Elevation Gain: 4,430 feet
Average Time Round Trip: 7-9 hours

Description: You start your hike through Aspen trees on the floor of Lockett Meadow on the Inner Basin Trail until you intersect with the beautiful Weatherford Trail, which takes you through dense pine trees. You then ascend through the avalanche site to the Humphreys Summit Trail, which starts at the saddle and is above the tree line.


2. Mooney Falls to Colorado River — Havasupai

hikers climbing down red rock to the base of mooney falls

Difficulty: 3
Route Finding: 2
Round Trip: Approximately 11 miles
Accumulated Elevation Gain: NA
Average Time Round Trip: 5-8 hours

Description: The hike into Havasupai is not that remarkable once you leave the rim of the Grand Canyon — that is until you reach the campground, where the trail becomes amazing. As a result of last year’s flooding, the scenery has changed and the Navajo Falls have been lost. Luckily, a couple of new falls have been added. Hike past the campsites and climb down the switchbacks, chains and ladder to the pools at the base of Mooney Falls. Continue downstream, crossing the Havasu Cataract several times to Beaver Falls. A hiker very familiar with the area could help you find the hidden Green Room, a small cavern that gets its name from the sunlight that filters through the travertine water, casting a green glow. It’s accessible by swimming through an underwater tunnel near Beaver Falls. As you move past Beaver Falls, you scramble over rocks and up and down the rocky slopes until the turquoise water of the creek swirls into the brown waters of the swiftly flowing Colorado River.


3. Battleship Mountain — Superstitions Wilderness

View looking southeast from the top of battleship towards weavers needle

Difficulty: 5
Route Finding: 4 Roundtrip: 11.96 miles
Accumulated Elevation Gain: 3,520 feet
Average Time Round Trip: 7-9 hours

Description: There are a couple of ways to get to Battleship Mountain, either from First Water Trailhead or from Canyon Lake. This is the route from Canyon Lake: You begin from the Canyon Lake marina parking lot heading south in a constant uphill battle until you reach an overlook of Battleship Mountain and Boulder Creek. You then descend into Boulder Creek and circle around Battleship Mountain and ascend it from the southeast side. There is some serious scrambling with major exposure on both sides in order to reach the top. This is not a hike for those afraid of heights. Vultures buzz lazily overhead waiting for someone to plummet to their dining room table. From the top you can see Canyon Lake and most of the Superstitions Wilderness, as well as Lower Labarge Box Canyon to the northeast, and Geronimo Head. The return trip takes you into Lower Labarge Box Canyon, which is a narrow granite canyon with cool pools of year-round water that you can jump into during the heat of the day. In the spring, the return trip will take you through hillsides of dense yellows, purples and white wild flowers. But you may not have the energy to enjoy them since the trail out will get your heart pumping.


4. Superstition Ridgeline — Superstitions Wilderness

Looking southeast along the rocky top of the superstitions ridgeline

Difficulty: 5
Route Finding: 3
Distance: 11.5 miles
Accumulated Elevation Gain: 4,480 feet
Average Time: 8-11 hours

Description: There are several routes and out-routes for his hike. This description is from the Flatiron side: Hike up the slick and smooth Siphon Draw passing the Flatiron, across the ridgeline, over to the pillar-shaped rock formations, called hoodoos, that fill Superstition Peak, down the steep, dusty, pulverized granite West Boulder trail to the old Carney Springs Trailhead. You finish on the Lost Goldmine Trail to Peralta Trailhead. A vehicle shuttle is necessary for a day hike.


5. Old Baldy Super Loop

Looking east into the clouds from the top of mount wrightson

Difficulty: 4
Route Finding: 1
Round Trip: 12.4 miles
Accumulated Gain: 4,210 feet
Average Time Round Trip: 6-8 hours

Description: Start in Madera Canyon of Mount Wrightson south of Tucson. This figure eight loop combines Old Baldy Trail up to the peak, and then follows the Super Trail No. 134 back down. Predominant vegetation consists of oaks, madrone, walnuts, pines and even a few sycamores. There are wondrous 360-degree views of the entire southern part of the state. If you go on a cloudy day, the hike will take you into the clouds, which is a pretty breathtaking journey in and of itself.

Canyoneer begins 70 foot rappel

Snapshot: Adventures in Canyoneering

The day started early — up at 4 a.m. and in the canyon by 5:45 a.m. Eight canyoneers headed out for a day of adventure. They wound their way through miles of red swirling sandstone slot canyon, with multiple rappels ranging from 15 feet to the Big Rap, which is more than 350 feet. After many hours and a few mishaps, they emerged at the mouth of the canyon to inflate their kayaks, which were back hauled earlier in the day. They then paddled the remaining four miles down river — against the wind — in the churning river to complete the very long day.

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