SWA Flights, 2016 – ABQ to Oak and Portland to ABQ


On April 28, 2016, Kathy and I flew to Oakland, to celebrate my son Ethan’s marriage to Florence (Flo) Landau. The wedding took place in Sonoma County, and this is the link to that post:

https://believesteve.org/2016/05/04/ethan-and-flo-marry-april-30-2016/

But this post is to present the photos taken on those flights – something I have done before on this blog. On this occasion, I used my Coolpix P600 Superzoom camera, which gave me great advantage.

The Albuquerque to Oakland flight was very cloudy, and did not allow more than a brief glimpse of the Grand Canyon. But a few minutes later, we came over the upper end of Lake Mead, which was relatively free of cloud cover.

We flew over Las Vegas, allowing me to get this shot of the head of Lake Mead. This is of interest to me because it shows how Lake Mead is lowering in surface elevation and, thus, receding from areas formerly under water. It also shows the filling of the upper reaches of the lake with sediment delivered by the Colorado River

This view of Lake Mead is of particular interest to me, because I was there by raft in 2007.

The photo shows land that was formerly under water. Specifically, there was, in 2007, a bay of green water to the upstream side of Sandy Point. We rowed across that bay to end our Grand Canyon trip of that year (see photo below). As can be seen here, that bay is now gone, having become part of the Colorado River shoreline.  The progressive lowering of Lake Mead is due to continuing drought. When full, Lake Mead extended forty miles up into the Grand Canyon, to Mile 236. The head of the lake is now at Mile 293, a difference of 57 miles!  View to the northwest.

Rowing on Lake Mead, soon to arrive at Sandy Point

Rowing on Lake Mead, Sandy Point straight ahead, Oct. 2007.

From a campsite on the shore of Sandy Point, our flotilla was motored down-lake to the next take-out, at South Cove (see photo below).

Arriving at South Cove. If the current drought doesn't abate, one can expect that over the next ten years or so,

Arriving at South Cove.

If the current drought doesn’t abate, one can expect, over the next number of years, to see this take-out become exposed land and rendered useless. This back story begins to suggest how Lake Mead ruined the final forty miles of the Grand Canyon – Mile 236 to Mile 276 – by first filling it with water, and then sediment. Here is the link to the full story:

https://believesteve.org/2014/09/05/the-final-forty-miles-of-the-grand-canyon-an-american-tragedy/

Irrigated acreage east of Owens Valley, CA

Center-pivot (circles) and other irrigated acreage, east of Owens Valley, CA

The Altamont area of the Coast Range, between Oakland and the Central Valley, with the wind turbines one sees as one drives that route.

The Altamont area of the Coast Range, between Oakland and the Central Valley, with the wind turbines one sees as one drives that route. View to the north.

Our return flight to Albuquerque went by way of Portland, but I didn’t have a window seat on the Oakland to Portland segment. Kathy reported that she saw a bunch of volcanoes, including Mt. Rainier. I got a window seat, as passengers left the plane at Portland, for the next segment. This flight was a great bonus, providing views of many places in the West that I am familiar with, starting with the volcanoes of the Cascade Range. Mt Hood was first up, as we flew on a southeasterly course right past it.

Mt. Hood (11,250'), from the west

Mt. Hood (11,250′), view to the east

Mt. Adams (12,280'), from the south and west

Mt. Adams (12,280′), view to the northeast

Mt. St. Helens (8,366'), from the south. This is the mountain that erupted in 2008, and lost much of its upper elevation area.

Mt. St. Helens (8,366′), view to the north. This is the mountain that erupted in 2008, losing much of its summit.

Left, Mt. St. Helens. Right, Mt. Rainier (14,416'). I climbed Mt. Rainier in 1961.

View to the north, left to right:  Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier (14,416′). I climbed Mt. Rainier in 1961.

From the south, left to right: Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams

View to the northeast, left to right: Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams

Heading east from Oregon, we passed over Boise, ID and the Snake River Plain, on the way to the Salt Lake area.

Boise, ID

Boise, ID, view to the northeast

Sawtooth Mountains, ID

Sawtooth Mountains, ID, view to the northeast, with Borah Pk, the highest mountain in Idaho, identified. I’ve climbed a few peaks in the Sawtooths:

https://believesteve.org/2016/02/28/sawtooth-mountains-and-the-tetons1972/

Shoshone Falls, at Twin Falls, ID

Shoshone Falls, at Twin Falls, ID. The river runs right to left. View to the northeast.

Deep Creek Mountains (?), ID

Deep Creek Mountains (?), ID. View to the northeast.

Tremonton, UT, next to the northern reaches of the Great Salt Lake

Tremonton, UT, next to the northern reaches of the Great Salt Lake, view to the east. The limestone layer that rises to the south (left to right) is an unmistakable landmark, as seen below.

Tremonton, UT

Tremonton, UT, and dramatic limestone layer. View to the southeast.

We next flew along the Wasatch Range, which is immediately east of the Great Salt Lake and Salt Lake City. Many of the mountains were obscured by clouds.

Park City area ski runs

Park City area ski runs

Heber, UT.

Heber, UT. View to the northeast.

We continued east, over the Green River desert.

The Green River, where it exits Desolation/Gray Canyon

The Green River, where it exits Desolation Canyon, and begins Gray Canyon. I’ve rafted and kayaked this canyon a number of times. View to the northeast.

The Green River, where it exits Desolation/Gray Canyon

The Green River, in Gray Canyon. View to the northeast.

Moab, UT, on the Colorado River

Moab, UT, on the Colorado River (just out of sight to the left). I started visiting Moab in the early 60s, for climbing, hiking, and river running. It’s now a mecca for mountain biking. View to the east.

Behind the Rocks, Moab

Behind the Rocks and Colorado River, downstream of Moab. View to the northeast.

Behind the Rocks, Moab

Behind the Rocks and Moab. View to the northeast.

Colorado River and Rincon (elevated meander)

Colorado River and rincon (cut-off meander), downstream of Moab. View to the north.

Behind the Rocks, Moab

Behind the Rocks and the Colorado River, in the foreground, Moab in the middle ground and the Colorado River canyon, upstream of Moab, in the background. View to the northeast.

The La Sal Mountains, to the east of Moab, were next, followed by the Dolores and San Juan rivers.

La Sal Mountains, to the north

La Sal Mountains, view to the north. Lots of snow!

 Mc Phee dam and reservoir, on the Dolores River

Mc Phee dam and reservoir, on the Dolores River

We ran a good number of raft trips on the Dolores, prior to the construction of Mc Phee dam. We quit after that, but Kathy and I enjoyed some great fishing in the river when it was a new tailwater. View to the northeast.

Navajo Lake and the San Juan River

Navajo Lake and the San Juan River

And speaking of tailwaters, here’s the best of the bunch. Over a number of years, Kathy and I spent considerable time on the San Juan, and for a couple of years I operated a guide service, called Quality Water Guides. A tailwater is a stretch of river directly downstream from a dam, which often provides top-notch fishing. View to the northeast.

About believesteve

I am a photographer and have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grand/id672492447?ls=1
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