Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dolly and Canyon Lake

The destination for the party of five (my aunt Evelyn, cousin Raina and her husband Jesse, Kate, and me) who traveled the initial portion of the Apache Trail (see yesterday's entry) was the Dolly Steamboat on Canyon Lake (Tortilla Flat, AZ). The Dolly is a
103-foot replica of a riverboat that has been providing cruises on Canyon Lake for more than 20 years.

We had signed up for the 90-minute cruise that covered about six miles of the 10-mile-long lake.

The lake is a popular recreational spot, so we had a variety of sportsmen and women accompanying the Dolly along its route.

We passed some rock formations that resembled figures. One example is this formation that appears to be a woman holding an infant while another child stands nearby.

Another formation is called The Mastadon. It appears in profile facing to the left. The trunk is located between the two holes on the left; panning to the right, I saw the body, front leg, and back leg.

Canyon Lake is one of four reservoirs that were formed by the damming of the Salt River. The lake was formed by the Mormon Flat Dam, which was completed in 1925 after two years of construction.

Mormon Flat Dam is named after nearby Mormon Flat, a place where pioneers from Utah stopped to camp en route to the Valley.

We found chairs near the wheelhouse and were able to have brief conversations with Captain Jensen, who was from Cedar Rapids (IA).

His narration was delivered in a conversational manner in an almost musical, grandfatherly manner.

His words and the music of Enya, the Navajo flute, Andean pan flutes, and songs of the Arizona Cowboy Rex Allen matched perfectly the slow movement of the boat and slow passage of the canyon's cliffs.

Everyone seemed engrossed in their own thoughts. We'd sit awhile, stand awhile (as Evie is shown doing here), but mostly just felt the warmth of the sun and soaked in the sights.

Even these dragonflies lingered for the longest time, just soakin' up some warmth from the sun.

Other types of sun-soakers took a more active approach to their work.

In moments of moving my eyes around the scenes, I would find sights that evoked wonderment. Pondering what it took for a tree

or a cactus to survive on the side of a cliff for decades was a marvelous Life Lesson.

Captain Jensen noted that some folks choose to be dropped off at one of the few spots around the lake that are large enough for a tent and a few belongings.

What do they do?

Just look around.

A 90-minute cruise that was so much more.

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