SRP Helicopter Trek - February 2011
Barbara Orr from Salt River Project and I co-hosted the Conference Board (see => http://www.conference-board.org/
) winter meetings this week in Arizona. During the SRP showcase, I was treated to a helicopter tour of SRP operations along the Verde River and Salt River corridors.
Participants converged pre-dawn at the Conference Board base camp at Hotel Valley Ho (see => http://www.hotelvalleyho.com/scottsdale ... index.html
) in Scottsdale to catch a "security cleared" van ride to the SRP Hanger at Sky Harbour Airport. Once at the hanger, the group divided into two to accommodate our "rides". Flight plan includes a "bird's eye" view of the Salt System and Verde System Reservoirs (see => http://www.srpwater.com/dwr/report.asp?dt=2/11/2011
) with some Mazatzal and Superstition Wilderness.
With seat belts, ear phones, and microphones in place, plus clearance from the Sky Harbour tower, we had lift-off. Straight shot over to the Papago Buttes and the Salt River Indian Community, then a 45 degree turn to skirt the south side of the McDowell Mountains and up the Verde River past the Rio Verde Community and on towards Bartlett Dam and Bartlett Lake.
After buzzing the dam a few times, we continued up the Verde to the Horseshoe Dam and the empty Horseshoe Reservoir. Heading east towards the Mazatzal Divide up an unknown canyon (pilot Rob was unsure of the name), then bending towards the south to skirt by Saddle Mountain, Sheep Mountain and Mt. Peeley. Kept my eyes peeled for any signs of Joe, but none were found...
We flew on a line on the west side of Mount Ord to the east side of Four Peaks arriving at Lake Roosevelt and jaw-dropping views of the Salt River Canyon. NOTE to Preston and others => pilot Rob pointed out a half-dozen hill top ruins between Mt. Peeley and Four Peaks...
The flight from the spectacular arched bridge near Roosevelt Dam to Apache Lake to Horse Mesa Dam to Canyon Lake to Mormon Flat to Saguaro Lake to Stewart Mountain Dam leaves me grasping to find the appropriate words. Let's leave it at one word => WOW!
Interesting to have the "canal spaghetti" pointed out where the Central Arizona Project crosses the Salt River. We continued following the Salt River past Tempe Town Lake and on to Sky Harbour and the SRP hanger.
Great trip and thanks SRP for making it possible. Sort of makes writing that monthly cheque to you a little less painful...