July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow


June 20, 2013
New Adventures


May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug


May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference


May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy


April 15, 2013
In The Middle


March 29, 2013
On The Hook


March 18, 2013
Tinker Time


February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix


February 15, 2013
Time Travel


February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation


January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending


January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports


December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current


December 1, 2012
New Neighbors


November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?


November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?


October 15, 2012
CHANGE OF LATITUDE


October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable


September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem


September 1, 2012
Promises


August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options


August 1, 2012
Go West!


July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination


July 1, 2012
Propane


June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly


June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour


May 15, 2012
Making New Friends


May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New


April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast


April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler


March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature


March 1, 2012
Last Dance


February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique


February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound


January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World


January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation


December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell


December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds


November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love


November 1, 2011
On the Water Again


October 14, 2011
First Impressions


October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun


September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road


September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!


August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row


August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat


July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home


July 1, 2011
One Step Closer


June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future


June 1, 2011
Made in the USA


May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice


May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder


April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around


April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude


March 15, 2011
Helping Hands


March 1, 2011
THE PERFECT BOAT!


February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options


February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!


January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing


December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing


December 15, 2010
The New Plan!


December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg


November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water


November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile


October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough


October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?


September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool


September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder


August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland


August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"


July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time


July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!


June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous


June 1, 2010
On the Hard


May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West


May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board


April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance


April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures


March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise


March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound


February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters


February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise


January 15, 2010
New Frontiers


January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences


December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port


December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady


November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello


November 13, 2009
A Cult Following


October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time


October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye


September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature


August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote


August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North


June 1, 2009
Northern Migration


May 15, 2009
Priceless


May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye


April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!


April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy


March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound


March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?


February 15, 2009
Slow Motion


February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View


January 15, 2009
High Anxiety


January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands


December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure


December 1, 2008
All Together Now


November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike


October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River


October 16, 2008
Big City Lights


October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins


September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop


September 1, 2008
The Space Ship


August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle


August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!


July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around


July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop

   

Winding Our Way to Lake Powell
By Kismet, Thursday, December 15, 2011

By Jim Favors

We enjoyed our three, relaxing, sun soaked, days at anchor in Lake Tahoe immensely; part of our time there was spent talking about, planning for and researching our next stop, Lake Powell. From Lake Tahoe it’s roughly 750 miles to Wahweap Marina and our launch site for our two-week exploration of Lake Powell. You’ve most likely heard the statement, “You can’t get there from here.” Well, I can tell you first hand, there really is no shortcut and in our case we almost had to back track once we arrived at the entrance of Utah’s Zion National Park. Although there is another way to get to our destination, without driving through the park, it’s really not the most direct route and probably not as scenic.

Boater-homing in n RV park in Springdale, AZ, the only way this could be better is if it was on the water.

Lisa and I took our time driving to Lake Powell by spending three nights “Boater Homing” at RV parks along the way. We arrived early to our planned stop the third day, just outside the entrance to Zion National Park it was only 110 miles northwest of Lake Powell. Our objective was to see the rocky, natural beauty that Zion is so famous for, take the shortest route to and arrive at Lake Powell early enough to launch and get settled into a slip at Wahweap Marina.

Everything was going as planned until we saw a Zion park sign that indicated we might have a problem. It was a warning sign, this one had to do with a vehicle’s limitations driving through the mile-long, Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel, not too far into the park. Basically the sign stated that if a vehicle was more then 7’10” wide and/or 11’4” in height or larger (tunnel height is 13’ 1”) that said vehicle required a tunnel escort. At 8’6” wide and 11’8” high I deduced we’d have to pay the $15.00 for the escort pass to qualify to drive through the tunnel. Reading a little further on the sign I saw another ominous line that stated combined vehicles over 50’ are prohibited. Because we are about 55’ in combined length my anxiety level started to rise, I really didn’t want to back track, drive an additional 100 miles and miss the experience of driving through the scenic Zion National Park altogether. We decided to proceed to the Ranger Station none-the-less, a little nervous about what would transpire.

Stopping to take photos and enjoy the sights at Zion National Park.

“Where do you think you’re going?” we were immediately asked by a park ranger as he eyeballed our rig’s configuration. I replied, “Lake Powell.” to which, much to our dismay, he said, “I’m not so sure about that!” and that’s when all the questions were asked and rules and disclaimers were explained to us. After divulging to the ranger that we were about 55’ long and 11’8” at the highest point (the smokestack – we always lower our mast when we travel) he agreed that we weren’t any bigger than most tour buses that go through the park every day and agreed to let us go through with the purchase of the escort pass. That was music to our ears.

After negotiating five or six uphill, hairpin switchbacks on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway we arrived at the western entrance of the burrowed, rock tunnel, (first opened in 1930) and our short cut to Lake Powell. The sign at the entrance to the tunnel stated the peak clearance height was 13’1”, which gave us a 1’5” margin of error to be able to clear the boat’s smokestack, if we drove right down the middle of the tunnel. With an escort pass in hand the westbound traffic was halted so we could traverse the tunnel by driving down the center. There was no physical escort just the pass itself was needed. It was more than a little unnerving, trying to maintain the center position in order to optimize our air draft, all the while only traveling at 10 to 20 mph, in pitch-black darkness if it was not for our headlights. Luckily, we made it through without any problems; much like we’ve made our way through shallow water so many times in the past. I’m finding out that trailering our boat really isn’t much different than cruising on water, both require us to know where we’re going, be aware of our surroundings, plan ahead, pay attention and trust our equipment.

Waiting in line for our turn to drive through the tunnel.

Once safely through the tunnel, after making a few roadside stops to take in Zion’s grandeur, we arrived at the western end of Lake Powell and Wahweap Marina. We had been talking about boating on Lake Powell for over 20 years, but we always thought it would be on a rented houseboat. Well, after dreaming about it for so many years the time had finally arrived and we would not be disappointed, especially since we had allotted two whole weeks to explore the lake and to make our trip even better, we were going to be on our own boat.

Wahweap Marina was our base camp as we waited out the three-day storm and prepared for our Lake Powell adventure.

As we neared Wahweap Marina and it came into sight, we were in awe of the view that stood before us, the 1.2 million acres of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and the home of Lake Powell. We left route 89, entered the park and, after passing inspection for invasive species, motored to a stop in the prep lane to experience the widest and longest boat ramp we’d ever seen. I couldn’t help but marvel that until 1963 this was still the wild, deep canyon area the mighty Colorado River ran through. It was on that date in 1963 that the Glen Canyon Dam had been completed and the diversion tunnels at the dam were closed off to allow Lake Powell to begin filling up. It would take 17 years for the Lake to reach full pool, at 3,700 feet above sea level.

The primary benefit of building Glen Canyon Dam was to generate hydroelectricity and control water flow from the upper Colorado basin to the lower. The ancillary benefit was the creation of the second largest, man-made, body of water in the United States, Lake Powell. At 186 miles long, with water depths as deep as 500 feet and 1960 miles of shoreline, one can easily reason why it took 17 years to flood the 96 named major canyons to create Lake Powell.

The mother of all boat ramps, so long you can hardly see where it begins.

Prepping Kismet for launch these days includes raising the mast and antenna, reinstalling the plug (important we dont forget that item) and the putting up the cockpit canvas, along with setting up the fenders and dock lines all before we drove forward down the airstrip sized boat ramp at Wahweap Marina. You read that correctly, we drove forward down the ramp! This thing is so wide and long, you need to do it this way otherwise youd be backing up, down a steep hill, for what seems like a mile or more. When we got close to the shoreline we did a 180-degree turn so we could then back into Lake Powell and launch Kismet into what became our home away from home for the next two weeks however wed have to wait three days before our adventures on the water could actually begin.

This is how the Colorado River looks today below the dam and how the canyons just above the dam must have looked like before they were flooded to make Lake Powell.

Lisa and I are fairly cautious as it relates to boating in bad weather. Even if youre careful, if you boat long enough, you will at some point get caught out in high wind and bigger seas than youd like. We knew wed be staying at the marina for at least one night so that we could get organized, but upon checking the weather it appeared we should consider staying tied to the dock for a few days. A cold front was moving through the Lake Powell area expecting to generate high winds, with gusts up to 40 mph, so we decide to wait it out and proceed when conditions were more ideal. As it turned out our decision was well advised because for three days the winds would kick up so strong, we had white caps inside the marina basin. Going into unfamiliar waters with bad weather unfolding would have been a recipe for disaster, besides, boating and exploring new territory is supposed to be fun.

This birds eye view was taken from the top of Glen Canyon Dam during our tour.

With time on our hands we drove into Page, Arizona so we could provision for our trip. In doing so we had to drive across the Glen Canyon Bridge. To the left we saw the backed up waters of Lake Powell being held by the massive arch walls of the dam, at 720 feet its the second tallest dam in the United States. To our right and 638 feet below the bridge we saw, for the first time, the Colorado River and what the canyon looked like for thousands of years before the Glen Canyon Dam was built. What a spectacular sight.

Perched on a ridge above the dam is the Carl B Hayden Visitor Center which offers guided tours into the dam and along with a knowledgeable tour guide who relays the history and the construction of the dam and education of its purpose in addition to the history of the surrounding area. Being caught up on chores and waiting for clear weather, we decided to learn more about how Lake Powell came to be by taking one of these guided tours.

This is a model showing all the flooded canyons and main rivers that make up Lake Powell, it is prominently on display at the visitors center for the dam.

Our tour started with an elevator ride down to the top of the dam. While walking along the ridge (25 feet wide), I got a little queasy when I looked over the arched concrete structure with the Colorado River over 600 feet below. I heard from our tour guide that the concrete I was standing on began to be poured, non-stop and around the clock on June 17, 1960 and continued until the dam walls were complete on September 13, 1963, a span of over three years. In that time 5-million cubic yards of concrete were used. For perspective, thats enough concrete to pave a four-lane highway from Phoenix, Arizona to Chicago, Illinois.

We proceeded into another elevator that took us down to the base of the dam (300 thick) to where the eight turbines are located they generate the hydroelectricity, the main reason for the dams construction. As mentioned before the ancillary benefit of the dam was the creation of Lake Powell. By the end of our tour we were both anxious to get out onto the water.