I have been a little lax in updating – . Sorry.
One of the big touristy highlights for us during the past 9 days was our trip to Draper Cabin with Yuma River Tours on Tuesday, 22nd. This has been on my Yuma bucket list for a few years and so glad we were able to get on one of the trips. There were around 30 of us with the biggest group being the Yuma Singles – what a hoot they were.
We all met at Fisher’s Landing on Martinez Lake:
Our jet boat:
A little history from the internet:
“The Colorado River was a waterway of major commercial importance in the late 1800's and was plied by steam ships from the mouth of the river at the Sea of Cortez, all the way up to the Mojave area, a distance of over 250 miles. The river was for the most part navigable, but the level and flow fluctuated dramatically with the snow pack and snow melt and could be a raging current in the spring and a mere trickle in the winter. As the railroads developed, and the river lost its importance as a waterway, the need for water for irrigation and the desire to control the river and eliminate flooding resulted in a series of dams that were completed in the 1930's. As a result, the Colorado River is the most utilized river in the world relative to irrigation, human consumption, and the creation of power. The river and its drainage basin encompass 8% of the total area of the United States. It is a magnificent body of water that includes Lake Powell, Lake Meade, the Grand Canyon, Lake Mojave, Lake Havasu, and the Imperial Reservoir.
When the Imperial Dam was completed in 1935, Martinez Lake was formed as part of the Imperial Reservoir and the Colorado River System. Martinez Lake is a lake 1/2 mile by 3/4 of a mile, immediately off of the Colorado River, located 8 miles above the Imperial Dam and 65 miles south of the Blythe diversion dam. A large portion of Martinez Lake was formed as a result of the Imperial Dam. The land on which Martinez Lake Resort now is developed was an original grazing lease parcel managed by the Martinez family, and patented in the 1920's. It was the only piece of fee land privately owned on the water between Ehrenberg, south of Blythe to the Imperial Dam and on the Arizona side.”
The smoke in the above picture is from a control burn in the Imperial Wildlife Refuge.
Our captain, Ron:
One of the local residents:
And we are off:
The river is higher than normal due to the hot weather and amount of water needed to irrigate. The All American Canal which serves as the main irrigation channel for the southwest starts at Imperial Dam which is south of Martinez Lake. Our trip took us north/northwest – upriver.
Ron explained that the river is very shallow in the center. One of the safety items was “if you fall in, get to the center and stand up.” –
These birds are standing in about 3 inches of water – on a sandbar.
Painted rock area near the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge Center:
One of the reasons that there are very few saguaros near the river is that for a very long time, snakes were killed. Since there are so few snakes, the rodent population exploded and they made their nests in the saguaros. There were so many rodents that they ended up killing the saguaros. A few miles from the river, nature has balanced itself and there are many saguaros.
Today, because there is so much recreation on the river, the snakes continue to be killed and the rodent population continues to expand.
More sites along the way:
The sand hills above are known as the Grand Canyon Formation. Studies have shown that this is silt that was deposited from the floods in the northern Colorado River areas. (That was before the Dams were built.)
Our first stop – Picacho State Park in California – for coffee and donuts and a bathroom break. The flag on the hill is a gravesite for memorial for a miner’s dog:
More info here:
The view from the flag area:
We continued upriver:
To our second stop – Draper Cabin. The landing beach was under water but our captain got us to one area where we unloaded from the front of the boat.
The cabin was built in the 1800’s using the building techniques that Mr. Draper learned from the Indians. He farmed this land for many years as well as raised hogs and smoked their meat. He pumped water out of the river and there are still some old pumps laying around.
The cabin still stands today:
No Leaks in this Roof:
The view from above the cabin:
After our tour of the cabin, we ended up losing a person. She decided to go back to the boat by herself and got turned around and headed to the hills. Thank God she was seen and found before she really got lost.
From here, we headed back downriver. You can really see the sandbars in this photo:
Past another part of the Grand Canyon Formation:
Donkeys on the hill:
Into another passageway to Norton’s Landing where we had lunch:
Norton’s Landing was established as the port for nearby mines and named for G.W. Norton. It was the location of the first bridge across the Colorado River.
Norton’s Landing is now a Boy Scout Camp. Yuma River Tours donates $25.00 of each person’s fee to help a scout go to this camp or to go on trips on the Colorado River – how cool is that.
The boys have built facades on the trailers to make it look like it was in the late 1800’s.
They even had flush toilets and showers here.
We continued on our way:
We learned so much about this part of the Colorado River – what a great trip and we highly recommend it.
They also have shorter trips to Norton’s Landing and also a dinner cruise on this stern wheel boat –
We pulled in to Fisher’s Landing at 4:30 PM – what a nice day!
Our other highlights of these past days was spending a few days with Bill and Shelly after their Mexico trip and getting caught up with each other. We also got to spend some time with Sandy and Raul, our son-in-laws parents. We are so blessed with the friends we have.
Tomorrow, 23rd, we are heading back to our new lot (yes, we are moving again) in Casa Grande. I promise I will blog more often.
Stay tuned and enjoy today.