Friday Freebie: How To Navigate a Foot Bridge

From my archives. Undated and source unknown.

Here’s a little something to take into your weekend. Remember, always wear a helmet. Especially if you’re crossing a footbridge 700+ feet above a canyon floor, with minimal or no side rails.


Below The Coffer Dam

Photo: USBR. July, 1959. Courtesy of Terry Edwards.

I love the detail in these old USBR photos. If you zoom in on them, you can see some pretty cool stuff. This one is no exception. It gives us a good downstream look at the temporary coffer dam. You are looking upstream toward what would eventually become Lake Powell. The coffer dam was built to divert the Colorado River water into the two spillway tunnels that routed the water through the canyon walls to the downstream side of the dam site. The right side tunnel (the Visitor Center side) was the primary tunnel and it handled most of the diversion water.

The excavation going on in this picture is prep work for laying the base of the dam. I remember reading or hearing somewhere that the base concrete for Glen Canyon Dam was poured 135 feet below bedrock. This picture captures that excavation. Some of the dirt and rock that was Continue reading

The Lower Water Treatment Plant

I have to admit to not remembering Page’s first water treatment plant being at the bottom of the canyon. When Gene LeGate gave me the first bunch of USBR photos for the blog and I saw these water treatment pics, I was dazed and confused because I could only remember the water treatment plant in town and those photos were completely different. After some research, I surmised that it sat downstream of the dam on the Page side of the canyon. Can’t fool me! What sealed it for me (sort of) was the first photo I’m sharing below that Tim McDaniels gave me that shows the road to it coming out of what must be one of the adits in the canyon wall that now serves as one of the ventilation tunnels for the tunnel that runs from the top of the canyon and to the lower spillway. If that’s incorrect, please let me know. I can take it. I’m still not 100% convinced because some of the background stuff in these pictures doesn’t look right. More on that as we move through them.

This first picture is a shot from above showing the layout of the area. This is the one Tim sent me that pretty much clinched the location. Notice the water line coming over the side of the canyon. That’s the line that brought water to the fledgling town of Page. It’s referenced in another picture below. Notice also the road disappearing into the canyon wall. The handwritten caption on the back reads, “J. Reinhold. 1st water treatment plant for Page.”

Photo: USBR
Date: 5/14/63
Source: Tim McDaniels

Here’s another top down view from a different, closer angle. In this shot, the facility is still under construction. The rectangle building was an electrical switchgear and maybe a pump room. The handwritten back caption reads, “Water pumps and sedimentary tank on river below Page.”

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Upper Footbridge: The Sequel

Tim McDaniels, this one’s for you. Just when I thought there weren’t any more. I hope this helps.

Undated and unsourced

The Upper Footbridge

Source: Terry Edwards
Undated and the spell-checker must have been broke. :)Source unknown and photo is undated

This is a longer post than most of my others and there are several pictures. Make sure you see them all. Before and during the construction of Glen Canyon Bridge, the footbridge served as a means for foot traffic (and evidently, at least one VW Beetle) to get from one side of the canyon to the other. The footbridge was located a short distance upstream from the dam – far enough upstream to not interfere with the construction. It’s visible in several of the photos I’ve posted and I’ve mentioned it a few times in different posts. This post is solely about the upper footbridge and there are several pictures.

I don’t know the source of this first picture below or the date, but it’s a great shot of the bridge that gives you a good idea of the size and scope. This bridge was completed in 60 days.

Source unknown and photo is undated

That’s a sweet picture isn’t it. That was no small task for something that would be temporary. There’s a big part of me that wishes it was still there. Here’s another view from ground level that shows some of the parking and a dry Wahweap bay in the background.

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That Was Then; This is Now

Page Town Site
That was then.
Source: Dugan Warner.
The photographer is unknown, but this is most likely a USBR photo. It’s undated.

I have to confess, I spent a lot of time pouring over this top picture and then I had this brilliant idea to grab a current day photo and compare. Yes, I have moments of brilliance. But they’re short lived.

This post has two photos. The one above was then and the bottom one is now. The top picture was taken before time began. That’s an exaggeration, but it’s not too far off. It’s a high altitude photo of the Colorado River at the Glen Canyon Dam site. There is nothing there but a muddy river. The soon-to-be city of Page is outlined in the dotted area. Wahweap creek is visible (and empty) at the bottom right. The beehive is plainly visible, but this was clearly taken before any work on Glen Canyon Dam or the city of Page had begun.

When you’re done with the top photo, look at the “now” picture below for comparison. I want to thank Dugan Warner for supplying the top photo to me so I could share it with you. Enjoy!


This is a present day look at the same area.


This photo is undated but is in the late 1950s. The photographer is not identified.
Source: Dugan Warner

One of my first posts on this site was of a couple of highscalers belting off before going over the edge of the canyon. Here’s another one for your visual enjoyment! I’ll make a few comments below.

I don’t have the date this picture was taken, or any information about the photographer, but it was most likely a USBR photo. I can’t imagine who else would have gone over the canyon wall with these guys to get this shot. If you zoom in on this picture, you’ll see that they are using a drill of some kind to bore holes for anchors into the canyon wall. A square end plate was attached to the anchors (if that’s what these holes were for) to strengthen the sandstone wall and help keep it intact.  These could have been something else, but that’s my best guess. They’ve already anchored several that look ready to be finished. Notice the 2 x 12 platforms – one below them and the other nearer the photographer. The photographer’s probably standing on that one.

This picture was taken from the Page side of Glen Canyon, looking downstream. Glen Canyon Dam is behind the photographer. A special thanks goes out to Dugan Warner for getting this picture to me.