Hoover Dam (or, Damn, that Dam is Huge)
Driving from Vegas I suddenly realized that I was in the Southwest – meaning, not only were there deserts, but these deserts were also very hot. My first touch of over 100 degree weather all summer, and I was suddenly fearful for both my car and my level of hydration. I parked in some far away lot and emerged into the sweltering heat, immediately losing all sense that I had taken a shower that morning and instead feeling the grimy slime of sweat creep over. After parking, I immediately crossed the dam. I realize the simplicity of this sentence, but not many dams that I know of have entire roads and sidewalks over them – or maybe I’ve never been to one? In the heat of summer the water was clearly at a relatively low level and nothing was gushing gloriously from the other side, but it was still an impressive feat of engineering. How did they stop so much water so that they could build to such great heights? On the one hand it’s fascinating that Las Vegas, with such exuberance and lights would get a lot of its power from a non-carbon source; on the other, I was incredibly uncomfortable with the applauds for man triumphing over and containing nature. One of Roosevelt’s many complexities was that he rallied for both untouched nature preserves and transforming the desert into an oasis. Beside two winged-men I forgot to read the information on, a plaque seemed to confirm this dream stating, “they died to make the desert bloom.” The museum seemed to be an expensive tourist trap, so I stood on the rim of the dam for a while and then moved onto a nearby bridge for a more comprehensive view.