Colorado River: ‘Lake Powell to Lake Powell’ — Zachary Podmore

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Zach Podmore and Will Stauffer-Norris are at it again, this time journeying from Lake Powell above Grand Lake to Lake Powell in Utah. Readers may remember their journey last fall and winter down the Green River to the Colorado River to the Gulf of California, Source to Sea. Here’s a blog post written by Podmore running in the Huffington Post. Here’s an excerpt:

Lake Powell. You may have heard of it. It’s a picturesque alpine lake nestled in the craggy peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park. Fed by snowmelt and seated in a bowl of exposed granite, the lake lies cold and clear well above 11,000 feet. Lake Powell is the Rocky Mountains at their best: pristine, rugged and wild. No trail makes its way down from the lake but a creek does. It flows out of Powell over a series of waterfalls, which pour down a giant staircase of rock ledges. In the alpine meadows below, the stream meanders through swampy grass where moose abound.

If you follow that creek 500 miles and nearly 8,000 vertical feet downstream, you’ll end up in the middle of another, more famous, Lake Powell that stretches across much of southern Utah. The two lakes don’t have much in common save the name and their shared waters. One Powell is the second largest reservoir in the country, filling the sandstone walls of Glen Canyon. The other is about as close to a perfect source of the Colorado River as you can get. Situated well above tree line, this Powell marks the beginning of the North Inlet creek, which feeds Grand Lake below. Both the lakes take their name from John Wesley Powell, the one-armed civil war veteran who was the first known explorer to climb Longs Peak in Colorado and to navigate much of the Colorado River, including Glen Canyon and the Grand Canyon.

More Colorado River basin coverage here and here.

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