Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Those of you familiar with the area around Winters, CA will probably recognize this aerial photo. Others might suspect what it is. And others still might wonder what I'm up to this time.
I'm talking about beautiful Lake Berryessa in Napa County, the Monticello Dam and the morning glory style spillway, known as the Glory Hole. I pass Lake Berryessa often on my way to or from Davis when I don't want to take the freeway but rather trundle along Highway 128 from Winters to the Napa Valley. It's a beautiful drive with not much traffic.
Here is another view from above of Glory Hole.
To the left you can see the road; you can also see that the spillway is above the lake and doesn't look like it would ever do its work - spilling over flow water beyond the dam.
This is how I had known Glory Hole over the last years when we didn't have any serious amount of rainfall.
Can you imagine that the water will ever reach the spillway?
At the top, Glory Hole is 72 feet in diameter and then narrows down to about 28 feet. It spills the water beyond Monticello Dam and that exit is well known in the skateboarding world as a full-pipe. The spillway can drain 48,400 cubic feet per second at the lake's peak level. The water spills over the lip when the lake reaches 1,602,000 acre feet.
Do you think that can ever happen?
Let's take a look, shall we?
This is how I saw Glory Hole in the middle of April this year.
After a record rainfall this past winter the lake has reached a level where the water happily flows over the lip and rumbles down the spillway - the first time in more than a decade.
Do you want a closer look?
Still closer? Do you want to see the water rushing down over the lip?
To the right you can see Monticello Dam, but the only thing everybody wants to see is Glory Hole. After all the lake doesn't always carry that much water that the spillway is in use. I for one hadn't thought that I would ever witness it. And here I am, standing by the side of the road, peeking through the fence and trying to get halfway decent photos.
It was fascinating.