Check out Cathedral in the Desert | NevadaAppeal.com

Check out Cathedral in the Desert

Sam Bauman
Appeal Staff Writer

Sometimes natural and human events combine to repair bad decisions by governments. Like the damming of Glen Canyon, 1960-63.

A priceless natural canyon was inundated so that boat owners could frolic and in theory water held for later use.

Well, recent droughts combined to lower Lake Mead and Lake Powell so that canyons long hidden by water can now be accessed by hiking. And it looks like no matter how much rain we get, Lake Powell is never again to cover up so much natural beauty.

Why? Because increased upstream use to the legal limits has drained the Colorado River of so much flow that the lake can never refill. Yes, it can rise above its current level, but never again (I know, never say never) will the entire canyon be flooded.

So now you can visit Lake Powell’s famed Cathedral in the Desert by hiking.

The Cathedral in the Desert, one of the lake’s most picturesque chambers, has typically required long boating trips for visitors to see the inside walls of the canyon. For nearly four decades the Cathedral has not be available for public view. But the recent low lake levels at Powell have revealed the colorful sandstone base of the cathedral. But not for long. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has reported that Lake Powell’s water levels may increase by 45 feet this year and the famous Cathedral may return to its underwater grave. That’s open to conjecture.

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Additional uncovered treasures, include thousands of new dinosaur tracks recently revealed by the lower lake levels, are accessible. Currently, there are a total of 80 documented sites with tracks, most of which had been submerged for 30 years.

On the border of Utah and Arizona in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area between the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks to the west, and Arches and Canyonlands National Parks to the east, Lake Powell features more than 90 major red rock canyons and nearly thousands of miles of sandy shoreline.

For a limited time, Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas is offering chartered boat trips to the famed Cathedral in the Desert if you don’t want to hike.

Check the Internet for details.

BIKE RACERS AHEAD

The NORBA California State Mountain Bike Series makes its way to Northstar-at-Tahoe for the eighth stop in its nine-race series, with a downhill race Saturday July 9 and a cross-country race on Sunday.

This race tour takes bikers from San Diego to Arcata and all points in between throughout the year. Produced by Team Big Bear, this race series caters to all ages and ability levels and has categories for both individuals and teams.

Racers can register for the downhill series from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, July 8 or from 8 to 10:30 a.m. on the day of the race. The race begins at noon on Saturday. The cross-country course will be open for practice on Friday afternoon and the downhill course will be open for practice on Saturday morning.

In addition, Team Big Bear will host a Junior Olympic Short Course race on Sunday for children ages 14 and under starting at 10:05 a.m. The traditional Team Big Bear “Little Guys Race” for children 5 and under will begin at 10:30 a.m.

The registration fee is $25-$43 depending on the race class. All racers must have a picture ID and current NORBA license to race. One-day licenses are available to racers for $5 a day. Call (909) 866-4565.

SQUAW DEAL

Squaw Valley will offer a Frequent Visitor Card for guests interested in enjoying mountaintop ice skating, swimming, hiking and more at High Camp this summer.

If you plan to ride the Cable Car and utilize High Camp at least five times this summer, then this is for you. Simply register for $3 at any ticket window and then, after you purchase four cable car and ice skating or swimming packages, the fifth package is FREE. Skating packages include figure or hockey skate rentals and pool packages include a locker and towel. Card holders may only apply one package to the card per day.

Frequent visitor cards have been available from the Cable Car ticket seller since Friday, June 24. For more information on this savings program and other ways to save money at Squaw Valley, visit http://www.squaw.com.

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