The Grand Coulee Dam was a great visit. This is the only lake we have seen out west that actually is full! The laser light show is not to be missed. They open the gates so there is a white background for the show and it is a wonderful telling of the history of the area and the Coulee dam project.
The dam’s generators put out the equivalent of 6 nuclear power stations and consist of three power houses, the right, left, and power house three. The original purpose of the dam was for irrigation only. Off the right water side of the dam are huge pumps that pipe water up to a reservoir that then channels water into a canal which provides irrigation for a large portion of Washington, Idaho, and parts of Montana. The pumping station has been refitted with turbine pumps that can be reversed to generate electricity by reversing the flow of water to the reservoir.
The dams mission changed in 1942 when huge amounts of electricity were required for the war effort. The third power house was completed in the 1970’s. To construct the this plant part of the original dam was removed and an extension was added to provide water. Pretty neat stuff.
Please note the deer pictures. They would wander around the park and the full time residents fed them,so they are pretty tame. The pictures are of the lady camping next to us feeding one.
The land in this area is full of coulees, dry water falls, and massive boulders scattered across the countryside. The landscape was formed this way by a series of massive floods caused by glacial lakes formed at the end of the last ice age. These lak s were larger than the Great Lakes today and when one of the ice dams would fail they would empty in a matter of hours. Huge bursts of water would scour the landscape, digging out the coulees, and floating icebergs carrying huge boulders which can be seen now where they were dropped.
This is quite a place to visit. It ties the history of the native Americans who fished the river for salmon and eels, to the first fur traders and settlers, to the unique geology of the region. It is a clear and successful statement of what we the American people can accomplish.
Please see the pictures by using the link at the top of the page.
Thanks for reading.