Photo post: Life along a regulated river

I spent the last weekend with the family out in the vicinity of Laughlin, Nevada, which is located on the Colorado River, south of Las Vegas.  The town is located just below Davis Dam.

Davis Dam, on the Colorado River
Davis Dam, on the Colorado River

Our hotel, us being highly cost-conscious, was actually across the river in Bullhead City.  Billed as having river views, the hotel (although it was no resort) was indeed located next to the water.  I was thankful for that, else I likely would not have caught this man-made hydrological phenomena.

On my first morning stroll down to the dirt lot overlooking the Colorado River, I noticed the boats sitting in the mud at their docks, and just figured I’d heard about dry conditions on the river.  What a bummer for those who own those boats, I said to myself.

River is OFF 1So imagine my surprise when we return from our time out on the river and I stroll back down to the dirt lot overlooking the river … and all those boats now are in plenty of water!

River is ON 1I thought it really quite funny, and chuckled about it all weekend long as if it were my own private hydrological joke.   It reminded me of when I found the box at Owens Lake with a big switch that said “On” and “Off”.  It cracked me up because in a sense it was true – there was no Owens Lake until they turned on the pumps and gizmos that makes the water come out of the emitters and flood over the land to keep the dust down. As it turns out the Colorado River is much the same …

My guess is that the river gets turned on about the same time people in the West start turning on their air conditioners.  Dam operators must have this on a schedule that the residents are all aware of because if you don’t get your boat back in before they turn the river off, you would have a serious problem!  So, looking in the other direction, it’s morning and the river is still “OFF” …

River is OFF 2And now, the river is “On” …

River is ON 2Check out the water line across the river …


IMG_4510Must be a real bummer if the hydro guys call in sick …

So long from Laughlin  Bullhead City!

(By the way, if you’re interested in hanging out in Laughlin (or Bullhead City), look for an upcoming post on my photoblog on how to get to the our very favorite place on the river – which is 4.5 miles down an unmarked dirt road – well worth it.)


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