We got to the lake just as the sun was going down, and my uncle picked us up in his little purple speedboat. Unfourtunately it was too dark by that time to really see any of the landscape; the moon on the water was the only thing visible.
But the next morning when the sun came up...
Blue water, blue skies, and only red rocks and sand in between them.
There's the little houseboat--just big enough. We had a party of four adults and one cute little girl (seriously--only four years old, but she was hilarious), and we were comfortable, but there are four bunks, two fold-down couch/bed things, you could sleep under the awning up top, or you could even pitch a tent on the beach if you aren't afraid of coyotes. Enough room for as many friends as you want to bring, or as few.
Miles and miles of canyons. Lake Powell, when it's full, actually has a larger coast line (around 1900 miles) than the entire west coast of the US (around 1200 miles). It's really amazing to see.
A (slightly blurry) cormorant in Halls Bay, where we camped for most of the time. My uncle, the mechanic of old vehicles he is, pointed out that the logo of Packard Motor Car Company had a cormorant in it.
And this guy kept buzzing us as we puttered around in the purple boat one day. He was doing touch and gos. I love me some piper cubs and I love me some seaplanes--so I have more pictures of this than could be considered perfectly reasonable...
We camped next to this little rock, so I had to go out on top of it.
The water was somewhere around 74 degrees, definitely on the chilly side, but not so much so that you couldn't go swimming for a while before the cold got to you. And you couldn't have asked for nicer weather, with hardly a cloud in the sky, highs of around 80, and lows in the 50's.
And here, in Lost Eden Canyon, there's a really cool overhang/amphitheater thing the water is still a couple hundred feet deep under there, so we just bobbed along marveling at it for a little while.
The formation on the west side of Halls Bay, where we camped, is called Waterpocket Fold, because of all the slick rock potholes that collect water, and stay wet even in the summer. This arch was only a short hike up from our campsite. And you can barely see my uncle waving back at me from on top of it.
Behind the arch are a bunch of the water filled potholes, which just keep going up the drainage in a string like that. Saw a few little froggies living in the holes.
And, in the southwest, where there are canyons, there are indian ruins. This place is called Defiance House, and consists of several of stone dwellings and a kiva up on top of a rubble pile under an overhanging cliff, near the end of the water in Forgotten Canyon.
We also stopped to look at this (you may need to click on the photo to see what I'm talking about). There are some foot holds carved into the rock right here that come right up from the water and go up the cliff. My uncle said that he once had himself dropped off there and he climbed up it--at the top are a bunch of areas that were obviously farmed by the natives way in the past. There are little square plots of dirt, no more than an acre, and channels cut from more potholes for irrigation. I would have liked to have climbed up myself, but we were running out of daylight and still a ways out from the houseboat.
This past year's runoff was exceptionally good (you've heard me talking on and on about how high the Colorado has been in town here, remember?), the lake hasn't been this high in many years--only about 30 feet down from high water. This makes it much easier to get to and from some of these places, where in the recent past it has been necessary to bushwack through miles of tamarisk to get to any of these things. On the one hand, I can see why environmentalists consider Lake Powell to be some sort of disaster--it really is equivalent to flooding the Grand Canyon--but on the other hand having a lake and a boat makes everything so much more accessible. And there's that whole "electricity" thing that Glen Canyon Dam does for us. TANSTAAFL.
Speaking of free lunches, in return for all the fun times, this was the last outing for the year of the little houseboat, so we had to help clean it up and winterize it. It's now tied to a buoy in Bullfrog, awaiting next year's adventures. Sadly, many of its buoy-mates' owners seem to have fallen on hard times, what with the economy and all. People are deciding it's cheaper to give up their dreams and let the boats rot, rust and sink away, forfeiting them for the marina to deal with. Kind of sad, really.
And speaking of lunches, boy did we eat like kings. My uncle was expecting a few more people than we ended up with, so between the steak, barbeque pork, and bleu cheese hamburgers, we were all expected to drink up the large supply of beer, gin, cheap tequila, and rum. Well, all of us but the cute little girl. And with Radio Margaritaville on the satellite radio, we did our best. I think I gained 5 pounds.
So that was my pretty neat spur of the moment vacation from last weekend. Hope you're at least a little envious; otherwise I didn't do a good enough job writing this all out!