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A River Flows Through It

text by Maria Langer; photos by Mike Chilingerian
Photos ©2005 Michael Chilingerian and Flying M Air, LLC.
All rights reserved; may not be used without written permission.

If you live in Wickenburg, you must have realized, by now, that the Hassayampa River is flowing. Yes, flowing. With water.

(If you haven’t realized it yet, you really ought to get out more. It’s been flowing for about a month.)

In the very old days, when this area was inhabited primarily by the Yavapai Indians and the miners who were trying to drive them out (don’t worry, we won’t go there), the Hassayampa River flowed year-round. Okay, so it still does, but I mean that it flowed above the ground back then. Not hidden away under the sand with the sand trout.

But nowadays, dense population throughout Arizona has led to water table levels dropping throughout the state. Wickenburg is no different. The Hassayampa River is dry most of the year, flowing above ground only in rocky areas north of town like Box Canyon and south of town near the Hassayampa River Preserve.

But when we have a lot of rain or there’s a lot of snow up in the Bradshaw Mountains, the water simply can’t fit underground anymore. That’s when it comes up to the surface and flows. Just like a real river.

Mike and I have been flying the new helicopter around quite a bit lately. Today, while taking some air-to-air photos of the helicopter for Flying M Air marketing materials, Mike snapped these two photos.

This first photo is a shot looking northwest to the town from just southeast. The bridge is dead center. And yes, that’s water beneath it. The Community Center is above it in the photo — note the Flxible Bus Club there this weekend in the parking lot. That big empty lot is the cleared land I griped about in another article here. It looks just as bad from the air as it does from the ground. But note how green the desert looks. I didn’t touch up this photo — it really is that green from all the rain we’ve been having.

Downtown River Flowing

This photo shows the view from a bit further up the river. That’s Route 93 on the left, starting about halfway up the photo. I still don’t know the name of the ranch facility taking up a good portion of this photo, but it doesn’t really matter. The proposed “bypass” will be cutting right through it, thus destroying yet another part of the town’s Western heritage. But today, with the beautiful green desert and flowing river, the view was just spectactular.

Up Route 93 and River

Time for a shameless plug: You can see views like these from one of the observation seats in Flying M Air’s new four-place helicopter. It’s an experience you’re not likely to forget anytime soon. And with the desert so absolutely breathtaking this time of year, you really owe it to yourself to give it a try. You can check the Flying M Air Web site for details.

As for these photos, like our other Eye In the Sky Photos, they’re for sale. Prices start at $19.99 for 8 x 10 prints. Call Flying M Air at 928/684-1233 for details.

Last 5 posts by Maria Langer

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