Enjoying the peace and quiet of the canals of Phoenix, Arizona
In the last couple of years I've been trying to get out IRL (In Real Life) to do some history adventuring. My ankle kept me from walking much for many years, and now I know just when it's feeling up to it, and I can walk a bit. It's wonderful, and one of my favorite places is the peace and quiet of the canals of Phoenix.
I don't drive anymore, so I'm always enthusiastic if someone wants to do some adventuring. I know a lot of wonderful places in and around Phoenix, and they aren't museums. And I have come to realize that it can be kind of confusing to most people. Because there really is no destination.
Walk with me. We need to get out of the car, away from the main streets. We really aren't going anywhere in particular. If we get hungry, we can go to a restaurant. I will try to be polite to you, but I will encourage you to step away from returning all of those phone calls you needed to make, and texting people to catch up. By all means take your phone with you, but please use it to take photos. Look at the canal, and the trees.
Yes, the canals are there. Just because so few people even notice doesn't mean that they've suddenly disappeared. The one just north of me, the Arizona Canal, has been there since 1885. And yes, there are trees there, and farms next to it. I know where they are, come along with me.
No, we can't take a horse and buggy there, the canals have been closed to traffic for almost 100 years, and that's a good thing. There you can hear the quiet. You can see the ducks in the water, hear the rustle of the trees. Sit down in the shade with me. No, there are no benches, you need to sit down under a tree. No, we're not trespassing, the canals have always been open to people, and hopefully always will be. The SRP (Salt Rover Project) people roll by, and we can just wave to them. Yes, those people over there are fishing. And yes, it's legal, they just need a fishing license.
The canals of Phoenix bring the water to the city, and have since the 1860s. The water comes from the Salt and Verde Rivers, where water has flowed for thousands of years, made up mostly of snowmelt up north. The canals channel that water, which is used for everything from watering plants to the water you had in your Starbucks this morning. Yes, there are filtration plants - the closest one to me is over by Metrocenter, people drive past it every day and never see it. And they never see the canals, either. And that's a very good thing for people like you and me, the canals are magical places of peace and quiet, and always have been.
Thank you for visiting the canals of Phoenix with me!
Image at the top of this post: A canal near Phoenix in 1909.
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Posted by Brad Hall