Friday, March 18, 2011

Parker, Arizona

Our next stop was chosen for its being the right number of hours drive in the right direction (east). When searching for a campground in an area unknown to us, one clue that an area might be of interest is the density of available campgrounds. Another is the presence of a state park. I found both of these to be true of a stretch of the Colorado River near Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

The drive over was on endless stretches of dead-straight roads through uninhabited desert scrub, surrounded with bare young mountains looking as if they'd sprung up overnight. We knew that the state park that we had in mind had a "first come first served" policy, so I called when we got close and found them full. Thankfully, another, smaller state park, had a site open. We headed for it. As we approached the river we became aware that the roads were crawling with RVs. Competition! My anxiety mounted as I fell into line, driving up the valley north from Parker. I needn't have worried: the river is lined with RV parks! One after another presented itself as we drove on, some crowded and dingy, some fancy with marinas and championship golf courses. One by one my competition turned off the road, and we pulled into to River Island State Park to find a space waiting for us.

The Colorado River runs fast and deep after it is released from the Parker Dam which forms Lake Havasu to our north. Its color and clarity were stunning, reminding me of the coastal waters of Maine and Nova Scotia. Even though it was 90 degrees out, the water was too cold for me to swim in, but Toby and Kinsey took to it repeatedly:

The campground itself is new, with big spaces diagonally arranged, all sandwiched between canyon walls. A trail to the top offers great views of the river, the mountains, and the campground:

We took our kayaks up just above Parker Dam. This dam boasts of being the deepest dam in the world - 320 feet. 285 of those feet are below the riverbed, so we'll have to take them at their word. Here are the 65 feet that are visible:

And here we are paddling in Lake Havasu, enjoying the wonderfully warm air and cool, calm waters:

1 comment:

  1. SO happy to see both of your little ones A-OK! Are they both back to their old doggie selves?