Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kayaking, Hiking, and Houseboating on Lake Powell

Lake Powell was created by Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Arizona, and straddles the Arizona/Utah border with most of it being in Utah. It is the second largest man-made reservoir in maximum water capacity in the United States behind the nearby Lake Mead which is formed by Hoover Dam and is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area administered by the National Park Service. The lake is named for the famed one-armed explorer John Wesley Powell who in 1869 courageously explored the Green and Colorado Rivers in wooden boats, including his daring adventure through the Grand Canyon and its 160+ rapids. Lake Powell extends 186 miles and boasts over 2000 miles of shoreline to be explored, more than the entire west coast of our country. Our group of nine spent seven days on a houseboat out of Bullfrog Marina in central Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  Below is our boat anchored under an alcove in 50 Mile Creek Canyon, a canyon off the Escalante River Arm (click to enlarge)...

Lake Powell is a reservoir designed to store water in the wet years and gradually release it during the dry years, thus steadily generating electric power and maintaining consistent water flow down the Colorado River, and it does its job admirably during even occasional lengthy periods of below average moisture. Since the water level can vary from year-to-year depending on rainfall/snowfall upriver, side canyons can sometimes by paddled and other times hiked as seen in the next two photos below.

As I paddled the scenic canyons, I tried to imagine this area without the dam, realizing that what I was paddling would have been near the mountaintop and the canyon I was in would probably be so high as to be inaccessible to people.  On the one hand, I was torn by a desire to have seen what had once been the wondrous Glen Canyon and to longing to have been able to hike and explore and enjoy its scenic beauty-- but I was also aware of the good the dam has accomplished, generating electric power, providing consistent water supply for many desert regions in the Southwest, as well as offering waterborne recreational opportunities such as this trip I was on.  At least the side-canyon hikes fulfilled some of my passion.

The still, clear water beautifully reflects the colorful canyon walls as we kayak up a canyon. Being the off season, there were only a few times when personal water craft intruded on our quiet and calm, but when they did, we experienced noise and waves bouncing off the narrow canyon walls and were glad when they departed. The colors of the walls changed as the light angle changed, presenting a kaleidoscope of colors throughout the day, and our seven days of nearly ideal weather added to the perfection of the trip.

To gain perspective of the cliff height in the photo below, the white rock near the bottom has calcium carbonate deposit because that area has been under water for most of its six decades, but a drought had the reservoir level about 40 feet below "full pool" depth resulting in the white "bathtub ring" you see.

Here are our stalwart adventurers:

Sitting (l to r):  Ann, Jim, Carolyn, Ned, and Julie
Standing: Ann, Greg, Chuck, and Pete


Here's a video of our week on Lake Powell


 This adventure is one of many offered by Adventures in Florida.

Ned Johnson, one of our participants, operates PaddleBoard Orlando, and can be seen two photos above on a board.

Additional photos of this trip are available here.


GREG PFLUG said...

No video to be found on the site. Send me a link.

Chuck said...

Don't know where it went, but I replaced it.

Lake Powell View Estates said...

Wow! You all had such a great time at Lake Powell! Do you mind if I share your adventures out on social media?

Carolyn Forbes said...

Great video Chuck. I have watched it so many times.