One of the striking differences between my hike to the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area at the end July and my hike last week was the water level of Lake Isabelle. This is how Lake Isabelle looked in July:
And a mere two weeks later:
What happened?? Well, you see, the water rights to Lake Isabelle have been owned exclusively by an entity called the Left Hand Ditch Company (LHDC) since 1907. (For those of you not familiar with the American West, water rights are a very huge issue out here and the Rocky Mountains play a very major role in the fight). At some point in the past, the LHDC dug a tunnel from Lake Isabelle through the glacial moraine that forms the lake and every year round about the first of August, the tunnel gate is opened and the lake is drained. The water is gobbled by LHDC shareholders to irrigate parched crops in the Boulder Valley below. It sure makes Lake Isabelle rather unsightly, not to mention kind of smelly. Remind me not to hike to Lake Isabelle after August 1 anymore.