july 24, 2000
the most recent dispatch from the field... (more)
catch up on previous news postings... (more)
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july 15, 2000
Natalie visits for the weekend... (more)
july 13, 2000
First full week in "Flag", starting on projects... (more)
july 10, 2000
Weekend biking, cratering, elking... (more)
july 8, 2000
Settling in, walking the town, an Escalante movie... (more)
This longer gap in time was due not to my falling behind or working too hard, but because of our family vacation, 5 days on a houseboat on Lake Powell, the huge lake straddling the Utah Arizona border, formed by the damming of the Colorado River at Glen Canyon Dam.
Before we went for the first time last year, I was rather negative about Lake Powell, thinking of the loss of Glen Canyon that now lies below the water. However, after that first 7 day week, my attitude was appropriately adjusted, owing to the incredible relaxed feeling and serenity of that experience.
Last year we explored the middle part of the lake from the marina at Halls Crossing, so this year we rented a houseboat at the western edge of the Lake, Wahweap Marina near Page, Arizona. Our group of family and friends left Phoenix early on July 19, met me in Flagstaff, and we headed north for our lake experience.
What we did not expect was one of our 4 cars having a blown tire that sent it spinning into the path of a south bound 18-wheeler which sheared the front of the car, sending the roof flying into the windshield of another one our cars. Thank (fill in your favorite deity) no one was hurt seriously. We also greatly appreciate the rapid response of the rescue team from Tuba City who were fantastically helpful (they even stayed to help move our stuff out of the wrecked cars). The hospital in Tuba City took excellent care of our injured and cleared us to leave.
And as far as the truck driver who complained about "#$&@% tourists" who "ruined his day and cost money", I only hope you can sleep in peace and that should any of your family ever get in an accident, that they be helped as we were.
Unfortunately, one car was totaled and the other had a smashed windshield and a rash of dents. The only problem was we were reduced from 4 stuffed vehicles down to 2, and Tuba City does not have rental agencies! Again, the helpful folks came through, as the owner of the Glass repair shop rented us a trailer.
So we were on our way to vacation! The photos in the slide show are mostly my pictures of various scenes and canyons as I prefer not to glob my family and friends pictures all over the 'net. Rest assured, there were 8 people having a great time on this trip!
today's photos - all photos o o o o
o o Scenes from Lake Powell
Loading the houseboat is an exhausting experience, pushing cart after cart of food, clothing, and other stuff down to the boats. Our first day took us to the great expanse of Padre Bay (see map from Lake Powell Magazine), where we found a spot in Kane Wash near a nifty landmark known as Cookie Jar Butte. The water is incredibly clear and refreshing on a 100 ° day.
Our next day's travel took us to Dry Rock Creek Bay, which is not so dry, but has some pretty nooks and crannies. This was another case where the most awesome camp spot was taken (at the far back, where the canyon turns almost back on itself with a sandy beach in between!), but we still found a pretty location on a sandy cove.
A hike up a narrow canyon and then a climb up some of the curve sandstone "blobs" was a vain search for what our maps showed as "Alcove Arch". However we later realized it was in the wall just above our camp site! You needed to hike up the rubbly slope to see that it was an open arch to the sky.
Day 3 was more travel up lake, stopping at Dangling Rope Marina to have our boat engine fixed (bad starter) and to restock on ice. The store there is very well equipped, though perhaps not as cheap as your local grocery store (all supplies, fuel, and trash are hauled in and out on barges).
Our destination was Oak Bay, and we found our best site of the trip back in the far end of Oak Canyon, a wide stretch of sandy beach. In fact, we liked it so much decided to stay an extra night here and do a long sprint back to Wahweap. There were fun places to swim and float here, more sandstone walls one could walk up, and more.
We used our small fishing boat to explore Secret Canyon, a narrow canyon that twists and curves for a mile or so, ending in a shallow spot that had some great (but occupied) camp spots in the sand. From there we hiked a ways up the dry part, which offered some dramatic views of painted sandstone walls. It is pretty rocky and tiresome on the feet! If one hiked far enough (5 miles?), the map showed the canyon would intersect the hiking trail to Rainbow Bridge. But being hot and the fact we were on vacation (!), we skipped a death march.
The next day we took our little boat again to travel one canyon west, Forbidding Canyon, and inside that to visit Rainbow Bridge National Monument. It is an impressive thing to see, and we were fortunate to putter in when the big tour boat was leaving. A natural bridge, as you may or may not know, is an arch that spans a creek or river. This one is sacred to several Native American people, perhaps a gateway to another spiritual world. The National Park Service provides a nice introduction to Rainbow Bridge, how it was formed, when it was discovered, etc.
Unfortunately that was our last full day on the Lake. The last day was a long run to return the boat to Wahweap Marina, unloading all of the stuff under a glaring sun, cleaning the boat, driving back to Tuba City to pick up the repaired car, a nice dinner of Navajo Tacos at the Cameron Trading Post, and a long ways drive home. Well, my trip was shorter since I was dropped off in Flagstaff, and everyone else had another 3 hour drive to Phoenix.
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