I've always had a fascination with the canals of Phoenix, and the one that's closest to me is the Arizona Canal, which runs from east of Scottsdale all of the way to Peoria. And if you've driven around Phoenix much, you've crossed it many times, and probably never even noticed it.
It's been there since 1885, and it carries water from the Salt and Verde rivers into the Phoenix metro area. It's the water that's used to irrigate, and it's also your drinking water. The coffee that I'm drinking right now as I write is is that water. Yes, of course the drinking water is cleaned up - there are water processing plants along the canal.
|Looking east along the Arizona Canal in the 1930s, just south of Camelback Mountain.|
Yesterday I biked up to the Arizona Canal and crossed it at 75th Avenue. That's the view from the crossing there, looking due east. The canal narrows down quite a bit there, and on the west side of 75th Avenue, it goes underground, where it eventually just spills out into the Agua Fria River.
The next crossing is a mile east, which I did in just a few minutes with pedal power, but which would have taken me quite a while if I had walked. And people did walk along the canal, and if they wanted to cross the canal, they were out of luck until they got to a bridge. Of course, in old-time Phoenix the Arizona Canal was pretty far north of the city limits, so it was an adventure to go out there.
|Footbridge across the Arizona Canal in 1902, Camelback Mountain is in the background.|
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