Hoover Dam

Last day of the conference. There were a few AWS sessions today but we didn’t go to any of them. My colleague had the great idea of taking a tour to the Hoover dam. So we decided to spend the morning doing that.

The tour was on a minibus with about 14 other people. Many were Americans but there were two other Aussies and someone from Japan. The trip out of Las Vegas was roughly 40 minutes on the interstate.

Our first stop was at Hemingway Park in Boulder City. This was a bit of a restroom stop but we did have a chance to walk around the park a little. It was nice. It actually reminded me of a town back home call Korrumburra. No idea why: the two locations are quite different apart from being surrounded by hills. Maybe that’s why I was reminded of it.

After that, we were back on the bus and heading to one of the arms of Lake Mead. We managed to get a few shots in. Don’t let the framing fool you; there were a few number of people doing the same.

Then it was onto the dam. Apparently before the interstate bridge across the canyon, the only way to travel was to cross the dam itself. The bridge was built in the early 2000s and the road across the dam was closed off on the eastern end. All traffic to the dam had to go via the west, through Nevada. There was a security checkpoint and everything: apparently security is taken quite seriously (sounds like they always did: there were machine gun encampments around the dam during the 1940s, with reason — there was a thwarted attempt back then by the Axis powers to blow the dam up).

The first stop was the interstate bridge. We stopped at a carpark and walked up a few flights of stairs to get onto the bridge itself. There was a narrow walkway for us to cross the bridge. It was very windy and we were less than a metre from traffic travelling at 55 miles per hour.

Once on the bridge we managed to get some pretty stunning shots of the dam.

We then got in the bus to drive across the dam itself. On the way down, we managed to see the bridge that we were on just a few minutes ago. It’s actually quite a stunning bit of engineering in itself.

On our way back we stopped at Hemingway Park, in Boulder City again. While we were there, we managed to see some Dessert Big Horn Sheep wander down towards the park. Apparently they do this quite often.

The trip back was uneventful. I got to appreciate the beauty of the desert landscape though. A lot more interesting than I first thought. And I’ll be clear: it really was desert. The only grass you got to see were in parks, and sometimes in front yards of houses. Everything else was sand and rock. And yet, it was actually quite beautiful. Not something we get back home (well, not the places I tend to go to anyway).