Lake Powell Wahweap Bay – a short human history

This area was pretty well teaming with human life since about the year 400. There was no lake but the Colorado River was nearby. The bay in the photo is Wahweap Bay. Wahweap means “bitter water”. The Colorado, before the dams, was either raging in the spring with the snow melt, or 90 degrees and a wall of moving mud in the late summer, early fall.

The native Americans built some villages on the shores of tributaries of the Colorado, but not on the river itself. Wahweap only had water flowing in it during spring run off, or during the monsoon season in the summer. The water would stagnate in pools and become unsafe to use. It is thought they named it Wahweap as a warning to their own children and to other’s passing through of the danger of the stagnant water.

The Mormon Pioneers got to this area about the same time as John Wesley Powell, the 1860’s. I plan on doing posts on Lee’s Ferry – one heck of a story there with the graveyard and the only crossing of the Colorado for hundreds of miles. It’s also one of my favorite places to hang out today.

Art Greene was one of the next really influential people in the area leading tours not only down the Colorado river, but opening a trading post and leading folks to Rainbow Bridge. Greenehaven, Arizona is named after him.

.Wahweap Bay Lake Powell

The Glen Canyon Dam was started in 1956 and finished in 1966. Waweap creek then filled up and became Wahweap Bay on Lake Powell!

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