Lakes and a Big Mystery !

Ok, there really isn’t a big mystery, but it did get you to read it.

Today I read a great article from Drew Desmond about Watson Lake, and it seemed fortuitous since I planned to go kayaking today.  So check out his cool article, and then keep reading for the mystery….

Birth of Watson Lake Brought Great Celebration

Nestled along the Granite Dells, Watson Lake makes for one of the most picturesque scenes in Prescott.  Watson is a man-made lake created in April of 1915 with the completion of the Granite Creek dam by a company from Indiana.

Needless to say, water is extremely important in the desert and the anticipation of a new lake close to the city brought the biggest celebration Prescott saw in many years.  

There were notable speakers, free barbecue, Prescott's band and a special train to get to the celebration as the four-ton steel gates would be closed to store the waters of Granite Creek.  "Acting Mayor AJ Head...issued his proclamation declaring a general holiday from 1 o'clock until 5 on that auspicious day."  Even the courts were closed. 

Watson Lake was named for the president of the Hassayampa Alfalfa Company of Indiana who was "one of the original incorporators of the project and has remained steadfast and persistent in upholding the ultimate outcome of the heavy investment as warranted by its future possibilities in reclaiming fertile lands that are said to be without equal in the southwest."   In other words, Watson Lake was created in hopes of turning thousands of acres of grassland in Lonesome Valley into farmland for grain production.

A relatively large crowd of 1200 people came to the celebration April 8th.  "There (were) parking facilities for a hundred automobiles within easy walking distance of the ceremonies."   A special train was scheduled to run the 4 miles and back at a cost of 45 cents--which would be $18 today; (more like cab fare than bus fare!)

"It was a faultless Yavapai spring day and the picturesque rocks surrounding the dam were dotted with nearly all the most prominent citizens of the mile-high county, their figures relieved by stunningly costumed ladies and romping progeny, all bespeaking a lively, dignified interest in the proceedings." 

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A platform was built on the top of the "immense (dam) structure" for the band and the speakers.  It must have been quite a site as it towered "at a height of nearly 100 feet from the bed of the creek."   US Senator Ashurst was the keynote speaker with several other notable people orating as well. 

After the speeches, "The tenderest of barbecued Yavapai range steak...(was) furnished free to all visitors." 

Although the April 8th day of celebration was to include the closing of the gates of the dam, that actually did not happen until 6 days later. 

It would take several weeks for the lake to become full.  Weekly progress was reported as the waters rose detailing wagon trails that were now submerged and buildings that soon needed removal.  Dozens would drive daily to the spot to note the increasing size of the sheet of water.  There was even talk of building a resort on the beautiful site!


If you are a camera-buff… you can spend years photographing the lake and see it in dozens of different incarnations...


Wildlife abounds at Watson


This is looking up at the Peavine trail


This is a lovely effect, but shows the lake when it is over 10 feet down

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Ahh, this is the chosen bird, learning to walk on water

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I never tire of seeing these gallant little trees seemingly growing out of stone

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And if you really want to do something fun… do full moon kayaking here….

me and Watson

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It is amazing…...

However… back to the mystery….

Watson Lake is my favorite lake to kayak in, however today, I was headed to Willow. Willow Lake was created in 1935, behind Willow Creek Dam, to augment Watson Lake storage.  Now for those out of town folks, Willow is our lovely somewhat incontinent lady on the other side of the hiway from Watson.  Of the last 8 years I’ve been kayaking, every time I saw water in Willow and said “I need to kayak Willow!” if I waited over about 15 minutes, the water would be gone.  This year, however, the lady has found a way to ‘hold her water’ as it were.  Today I got to kayak thru the trees I am usually walking my dog through.  It was just fabulous.  I didn’t take my good camera as I still had memories of dropping a camera in the lake, so just settled for my iPhone wrapped in a plastic bag.  Less effective pictures, but the experience was wonderful.

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This was incredible, like a tree cave… I got closer…. 

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It became deathly quiet, with only the sounds of the birds…. well not really, it’s right off Hwy 89 so there were lots of car noises. However if you could just screen out the cars………. and if you can, tell me how...


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It was quit… interesting in there.  I thought if I started hearing banjo music I would leave quickly.

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There were areas I felt I was in the swamps of Louisiana…. well I haven’t actually been to Louisiana, 

but I did see the movie US Marshal.

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So now time for the mystery…. if you can tell me what this is, you will win a free years subscription to the Website!

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But wait… a bigger mystery, and since the picture is bad - if you can answer this, I will give the friend of your choice a free subscription to the website also…

WHAT THE HECK is this bench doing here… how do you get to it and how in blazes did they get it there ?!?!?.

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YES… it’s the bridge to nowhere with the… bench that you can’t get to….

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                                                                     © Michelle Young 2012