Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 39 Summer 2010 Park to Park Road Trip

Today we will attempt to find some California Condors.

6 California Condors were brought here to the Vermillion Cliffs in 1996 and released, todays population from that release is 25. Back in 1987 there were only 22 California Condors known to exist and they were all captured and taken to the LA Zoo so that they could be saved from extinction. Today there are 387 Condors and 180 of them are flying wild and free.

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We did spot a large bird circling and gliding in the sky, but I am pretty sure this is a Raven and not a Condor. I only got the one shot and then he flew out of range of my camera.

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We will drive to the Navajo Bridge and hopefully see some there. It is reported that your best chances of seeing a Condor are from the bridge.

These photos show the scenery between the Vermillion Cliffs and the Navajo Bridge.

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We arrived at the Visitor Center at the Navajo Bridge

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There are two steel arch bridges here, one for automobile traffic and one for pedestrians. The bridge for pedestrians was originally built back in 1929 for automotive traffic, but in 1990 the original bridge could no longer support the weights and sizes of todays vehicles so the newer bridge was built.

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It was not our lucky day though, no California Condors in sight as we walked from one end of the bridge to the other and returned.

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We then headed for the Glen Canyon Dam. This dam is very similar to the Hoover Dam that we visited 2 years ago, only it is 15 feet shorter in height than the Hoover Dam. There are 6 dams on the Colorado River, I think in future years, we should visit the other 4.

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The Glen Canyon Dam, cant get it all into one shot. That is Lake Powell in behind the dam.

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We signed up for a tour of the dam, so that we could walk out onto the dam and go deep inside it to see the giant turbines that create the electricity that this dam produces.

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This is one of the giant cement buckets used to transport the cement to build the dam. There were 6 of these operating from cables high above. Also one of the giant turbines. They are currently replacing all the turbines to new ones that are more efficient and will increase the electricity produced by 12 percent.

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Karen and I on the dam.

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Lake Powell is on one side of the dam and the Glen Canyon Bridge is on the other.

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From the top of the dam where we are standing, down to the base of the dam is 530 feet, or 53 stories, fortunately there is an elevator to take us down and bring us back up.

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From down here, we get a good view of the Glen Canyon Bridge.

3354 Glen Canyon Bridge AZ

The giant turbines that spin as the water rushes by them, creating electricity.

3356 Glen Canyon Dam AZ

After visiting the Glen Canyon Dam we head off to visit Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument.

3364 Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument UT

Since 2000, numerous dinosaur fossils over 75 million years old have been found at Grand Staircase-Escalante. They uncover something new every month in this park. If you are interested in Paleontology, this would be a good place for you to visit.

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The drive through the park was very scenic.

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As was the drive back to our hotel.

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Even though we did not see any California Condors today, we saw a lot and learnt a lot. I think to see the Condors, you need to go early in the morning, or later in the evening. Mid-day is probably not the best time.

To see all of our photos from today you can see them on my FLICKR site.

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