I just told the story of my adventure camping at Lake Roosevelt, which despite containing over 200 pristine campsites, was a total ghost town when we arrived. The next day, in the bright harsh light of the desert sun, it didn’t seem quite as eerie, although there was still something haunting about the abandoned pavilions. In New York, or Pennsylvania, these pavilions would have been swarming with campers. Campsites in New York and Pennsylvania are never that nice, but I guess they have moisture to deal with, which surely has a powerful corrosive effect on pavilions.
My friend and I tiptoed carefully down to the rocky shore, admiring the sere landscape on all sides. The water itself was hot, but incredibly comfortable, like bath water. We swam by ourselves in this open expanse, monitored at a distance by a sizable flock of western grebes.
After all the drama of the night before, and in spite of the baking heat, we found ourselves reluctant to leave this little paradise of solitude. I went for a run around the campgrounds to see whether they were truly all empty and indeed the only other souls I found were fence lizards and cactus wrens (in great abundance).
Cactus wren nest in a teddy bear Cholla
Oh is that a bee?
Finally, we decided that we would have to leave to keep up with our schedule, and if we wanted to check out the dam (more about that later).
Click to see the panorama bigger
We packed up camp and headed back to Roosevelt, passing only one car on the way there. The (intensely air conditioned) nature center was open this time, and manned by a single woman. There were two older gentlemen watching a historic video about the dam in another room.
Unfortunately the only shot of a road runner I got *heavy sigh*
Bemused, my friend and I wandered around silently. When we finally got the nerve up to talk to the lady behind the counter, we said, “Is this…normal?” gesturing around at the empty lake.
“Oh yes,” she said, “This is pretty normal attendance.”
“Is…there a time of year when it gets crowded?” we asked.
“It does get a little busy in the winter when it’s cooler,” she said, adding, “Most people enjoy being on the lake then. But no one could camp here in this heat unless they had an air conditioner running on a generator 24-7.”
My friend and I exchanged a glance, having just spent a night in a tent without any form of electricity other than our headlamps, but we decided not to divulge this information, just in case she would want us to pay a fee (unlikely).