Today I took a nature walk along the reservoir with my brother Kevin. Lately over the past four years or so, I have attempted to become more acquainted with nature. A fortuitous meeting several years ago with a young lady from the West Coast spurred me to drop the books, hike through the woods, bike trails, jump into heather, make imprints of angels in the grass, collect patches of sun burn and colonies of deer ticks, that sort of thing. Ever since then , with a fool’s enthusiasm and abandon I have never refused a opportunity particularly at this time of year to romp outside.
Now a year ago, Dasad and I depart on the most manly of adventures: a road trip to the Grand Canyon and Vegas. Hiking through the canyon proved more arduous than I planned. A mile and half down along the serpentine paths, I suddenly realized that I had no energy to journey back to the summit. This photo – lovingly taken – sums up the experience pretty well:
The three and a half mile walk to the dam is paved but not straight or flat, that is to say minus the vistas and donkey droppings, I felt like I was in Arizona again. Moreover, after a year of training and work-out regimes, my legs still burned like rubber left out in the sun too long. Vultures circled overhead, apparently more aware of our health than we were. I could almost hear them laughing as I said “Just another mile to the car.”
Now the dam itself was pretty impressive. Obviously having witnessed the glory of the Hoover Dam, our miniature concrete slab paled in comparison, yet this dam is mine and within walking distance to my house; moreover, it noticeably lacks the pomposity of its elder western brother, which has been advertised to single-handedly curing malaria and ensuring Allied victory in World War II. No such achievements here. The dam practically hides itself in the outer most corner of the reservoir, humble in its purpose. “Yeah, I hold back the flood. That’s it. Yet I do my job well.”
My journey was not without criticism though. At one time, visitors could venture further onto the dam, onto concrete observation posts which allow a much closer and detailed view of the dam, yet now this whole section has been gated off, surrounded by chain fence and barbed wire. Apparently this is another post-911 security measure, and though I understand the reason and intent (terrorists and super-villains love to poison wells and water supplies), these precautions not only destroy a beautiful view but appear a little naive as well. Come on, if you were a world-class terrorist, would you be daunted by a wire fence and a video-camera? However, if the fence was implemented to prevent teenage dares or recklessness (“I dare you to walk out onto the dam and stand on your head!”) then I say we look to the Darwin Awards for judgement. There just comes a point, where you have to say, “If you’re stupid enough to do it, you probably deserve what’s coming to you.”