National Geographic : 1967 Jul
was joined by his sister Loie aid his mother Frances. His father, photographer William Belknap, Jr., a frequent contributor to the GEOGRAPHIC, joined us whenever he could. John Evans, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and Jerry Garrett, under graduate at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, completed our team. In addition, Dr. J. Parker Van Zandt, of Washington, D. C., a spry septuagenarian, aviation pioneer, and former contributor to the magazine,* accom panied us for part of our journey. On a scorching June afternoon we started from Wah weap, about five miles behind the 710-foot-high dam and its spectacular bridge, world's highest steel-arch span (page 48). Until work began on the dam in 1956, 45 miles of jeep trails separated the site from paved highway. After the barrier was finished, the National Park Service, which administers the new Glen Canyon Na tional Recreation Area, built paved roads beside the bay at the mouth of Wahweap Creek, the lake's largest boat launching area. Now, with a motel, trailer park, and ma rina, Wahweap bustles with activity.t Lake traffic has grown so fast that a Coast Guard station has been estab lished to assist with an aggressive water-safety program. "Like Cruising in a Washing Machine" Between Wahweap and Padre Bay, 25 miles uplake, the river had not yet climbed out of its canyon. In the narrow channel, the wakes of our boats and others bounced back and forth between the cliffs, churning a chaotic storm of crisscrossing echo waves. As Jerry put it, "It's like cruising in a washing machine." Padre Bay was worth the pounding we took to get there (pages 58-9). The lake's largest expanse of open water, it introduced us to the massive red sandstone cliffs and monuments that would be our companions during most of the trip. Gunsight Butte loomed like a giant sad dle to our left. On our right, Dominguez Rock lifted its red monolith from the lake, and many unnamed buttes stood around us like dignified sentinels. One of the best-known landmarks lies beneath Padre Bay. Here in 1776 two Franciscans, Fathers Dominguez and Escalante, forded the Colorado on their return to New Mexico, after a futile attempt to open a direct route to their order's California missions. The spot came to be known as the Crossing of the Fathers. As Lake Powell formed, the crossing vanished under Padre Bay. We beached our boats on a strip of golden sand at Padre Point, where the Navajos plan to build a marina, and plunged into the water, clothes and all. The intense dry heat had dehydrated us, and we soon learned that the only way to remain comfortable was to drink gallons of water and wet ourselves down at every opportunity. Following lunch Buzz and Loie demonstrated their *Then in the U. S. Army Air Service, Lieutenant Van Zandt wrote "Looking Down on Europe" for the March, 1925, GEOGRAPHIC and "On the Trail of the Air Mail" in January, 1926. "Looking Down on Europe Again" appeared in the June, 1939, issue. tRalph Gray reported on the area's recreational facilities in "From Sun-clad Sea to Shining Mountains," GEOGRAPHIC, April, 1964. 50 Drama of change wrought by Lake Powell unfolds in photo graphs of Gregory Butte made four years apart. When author Edwards, flying in a companion Cessna, snapped the picture above, in June, 1962, the Colorado snaked between steep-walled banks. Nine months later, the gates of Glen Canyon Dam closed, and the waters be gan encroaching on the land. By June of 1966 the lake almost rings Gregory Butte. At capacity, Powell will cover the peninsula behind the butte and turn the stone tower into an island.