Posted in photography, travel

Tuesday Tour: light in the desert

Do you ever feel like you are just stuck out in a desert with no way of escape?

Imagine you are a person lost in a foreign environment where as far as the eye can see, there’s only sand. The only color that meets the eye is the drab one of endless sand dunes. The sun beats down on you and you feel like you’re literally baking to death.

As you sweat profusely and your mouth feels full of cotton absorbing any moisture left, you reach for your canteen, which was filled with cool, clear water, and find it completely empty.

There’s no source of water in sight.  Not a refreshing drop to drink. No shade either to provide a bit of comfort from the sweltering sun. No way out of this desperate situation you are in, which leads you to despair so great, you fall to the burning sand in surrender.

You look upwards to the sky in anguish and you cry out for help. And suddenly, sunlight reflects from something and it almost blinds you. You squint and gaze into the horizon and you see it – there’s a light and it beckons you to find your way to it. It promises to guide you to a safe destination, one where you can be refreshed, renewed, rescued.

Often times in life we encounter a difficulty so overwhelming, it seems like we’re stuck in an arid, lifeless desert. We’re dry as a bone as we try to struggle our way through it. Everything seems to go awry and we become so engulfed in our circumstances, we just can’t see any form of relief available.

But then the incredible happens. Someone offers us a hand of assistance. Someone comes alongside us and encourages us on our journey. Someone shares his own experience that provides the impetus we needed to carry on.

Recently, I read a profound thought. although I can’t find the original source, that inspired me to write this post. “Remember when you’re in a position to help someone, be glad to do it. That’s God answering someone else’s prayer through you.”

I believe wholeheartedly that statement is true. Sometimes we are the light for others in peril, just like a lighthouse shining its beacon outward to a stormy sea.  And as much as a lighthouse is needed during storms, sometimes we need a lighthouse in the desert as well. 

The desert. It’s certainly not a spot where you would expect to find a lighthouse, let alone 27 of them. But replicas of lighthouses from America’s east and west coast as well as the Great Lakes actually exist in the desert around a man-made reservoir, Lake Havasu, on the Colorado River which borders California and Arizona.

When Papa I journeyed to this area of Arizona one winter, we never imagined we’d see one lighthouse, let alone several.  So we were surprised to learn in that land-locked state, specifically Lake Havasu City, a town surrounded by desert, more lighthouses exist, thanks to a replica lighthouse program, than in any other city in the U.S.

That sounds crazy, but it’s a fact. In 2000, some local boaters and artisans formed the Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club in order to improve safety for night fishing and boating by providing navigational lighting on the lake. After fund-raising for the project, the group began building and installing scaled-down replicas of famous U.S. lighthouses.   

Most of the lighthouses, which are actual functioning navigational aids, can be seen on the lake’s shores and can be hiked to but some can only be accessed by boat. West Coast lighthouses are represented by the replicas on the west side of Lake Havasu, East Coast replica lighthouses are located east of the lake, and those built on the island represent Great Lakes lighthouses.  

Maintained by the non-profit Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club, these replicas follow U.S. Coast Guard regulations. The western lights shine green beacons; eastern lights use red ones. Flashing amber lights designate safe harbor lights for emergency use.

We visited Point Gratiot, a replica of the original lighthouse situated on Lake Erie in New York state, by crossing the London Bridge (another interesting site in Lake Havasu City) via car.

While driving around the lake island, we viewed two other lighthouses there – Split Rock, replica of a Lake Superior light in Two Harbors, Minnesota (photo at beginning of this post), and Wind Point, replica of the lighthouse located in Wind Point, Wisconsin.

On a boat cruise up the Colorado River, we saw East Quoddy, which is a replica of a Canadian lighthouse in New Brunswick.

A fun way for visitors to view the replica lighthouses is to take a lighthouse boat tour offered around the lake on both the Arizona and California side.  Click here if you’d like to view some of the other replicas around Lake Havasu.

Viewing these replica lighthouses in this arid region of Arizona is a good reminder that we can be a source of light for others in the darkness, maybe on a stormy sea but even if it’s in the desert of life.

“I feel that we’re all lighthouses, and my job is to shine my light as brightly as I can to the darkness.” ~ Jim Carrey



Mama of this empty nest, I’m content to live a quiet, country life with my husband of 40+ years and to view the gorgeous sunsets off my own back yard deck. Mama to three adults and Nana to adorable grandchildren, my empty nest fills up again with noise and laughter when they all return 'home'. A former English teacher, reporter/editor, education director for a non-profit organization, and stay at home mom, I retired after a season of substitute teaching at a private academy. Now I enjoy time spent with my grandchildren and family and writing words that seem to pour out of my soul or wandering around the countryside with my camera. Foremost, my faith sustains me as I meander through the empty nest stage of life. My favorite scripture is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

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