Monday, February 06, 2006

Geocaching along the canal

Last week's geocaching adventures took us to the agricultural section of Yuma, following a trail along the Gila Gravity Main Canal.

The water for Yuma's crops is supplied by the Colorado River. In 2001 Arizona was allotted 2.8 million acre feet of water for the entire state and Yuma diverted 1.2 million acre feet of that for its crops. Since the area's growing season is about 340 days and the average temperature is 89 degrees the conditions are ideal for year-round harvesting of the various vegetables they grow. While they harvest field crops of grain, hay and cotton, what we see around our campground are huge fields of iceberg lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower that are constantly being hoed, irrigated, maintained and harvested by migrant farm workers. At the height of the season workers are out at dawn and shifts continue well past dark when the conveyor belt equipment is lit with spotlights and the workers continue to work the fields.

We've gained an appreciation for the amount of work it takes to grow and harvest something as simple as a head of lettuce after staying here and watching the planting and harvesting process. In the period of two weeks we have watched the process from beginning to end due to the staggered planting of the fields and then watched them start all over again because as soon as the field is picked, the earth is disked, tilled, seeded/planted, irrigated and the process starts again.

So searching for geocaches along the Gila Gravity Main Canal not only took us far into the agricultural section of town, it caused me to learn a little bit more about this area. I've come out ahead with trinkets, exercise, pictures, and knowledge. And Denny didn't whine too much about the walking since all the caches were close to the road; now that's the way to geocache!

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