Saturday, June 29, 2013

Red Canyon and Flaming Gorge Dam

This is continuing our story of the trip we made Friday on the Flaming Gorge-Uinta National Scenic Byway (US 191).  It traverses over an area which exposes billions of years of earth's history, an area replete with fossils and geological features.  Signs along the road mark each ancient era as: "Jurassic period, alabaster formations and ancient tidal flats".   John and I certainly did not do it justice trying to see it all in one day.
I mentioned Red Canyon in the last posting, it is pictured above.  John commented that had the river level been higher, it could be about as impressive as the Grand Canyon.  It is a beautiful sight, and one in which the picture does not completely capture all of its beauty.  Wildlife abounds in this area; bear, elk, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain lions have been seen.  We saw flying overhead golden eagles and osprey, feeding off trout and salmon in the rivers flowing through the canyon.  We took in a tour of Flaming Gorge Dam,  from the top of it we could see very large trout in the waters below.  The dam is pictured below.
It is no wonder the fish are so large, on every dam tour visitors are encouraged to feed the fish!  And another little critter has learned to take advantage of that.  While we were tossing food to the trout a young yellow-bellied marmot came close to us and begged to be fed.
A 91-mile long reservoir on the Green River was created by the dam in the early 1960s.  President Kennedy flipped the switch for the first generator to start in 1963, it was dedicated by former First Lady Bird Johnson a year later.  There is enough power produced from the Flaming Gorge Power Plant to serve 6 states.  Pictured below is the spillway of the dam, over flow water is channeled down a tunnel inside the mountain.  Highway US 191 can be seen above the spillway.  Also note that the Green River is really Green!

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