Lake Powell 2005

Take one large canyon, fill it with water, add a family and a boat, and what do you get? PICTURES!

Yes, it's been ages since I've added a photo gallery page that wasn't Europe-related. (See Europe LIVE! and France LIVE!) I am inspired to do so now because, on my semi-recent trip to Lake Powell with the folks and the sis in September, I was once again awed by the beauty of the place.

The entire trip is presented on one page with larger photos than I usually use. Hence this sage advice: If you have a dial-up connection, go shop for cookies while it loads. When you return, the page will be up, and you'll have a wonderful browsing snack.

Oh, and there's a NEW FEATURE! When you see this icon Enlarge Icon in the corner of a picture, you can click that picture to see an enlargement. Will wonders never cease? Let's find out!

(NOTE: My sister requested I remove her pictures from this page, but instead I have removed her name and blurred her out. Hopefully this will keep the pictures from showing up on Google searches!)

By dispensing with the pleasantries and tales of my flight to Colorado and our drive to Utah, I can get right to some dramatic photos. We put in at Bullfrog and stopped across the lake at Hite marina.

Drama Skies 1
Drama Skies 2 Drama Skies 3 Drama Skies 4
Drama Skies 5

After stocking up on ice and snarfing soft serve, we headed out to find a campsite. We were running out of options as the sun set and the thunderstorms closed in.

After some fun family arguments, a couple aborted campsites, and mud and submerged trees dredged up with the props of the boat, we settled on a place for the night. We put up the canopy of the boat and watched the spectacular lightning storm that was all around us.

Powell Lightning

I took many dozens of pictures, hoping to nab some of the lightning that was right near us, but all I got was this shaky shot of a distant strike. Well, you can't catch lightning in a bottle. Nor can you sprinkle it on tacos.

Powell Camp

The next day, under the more-typical brilliant skies of Powell, we found a very good campsite. 'Twas perfect for lounging and swimming, and had drama of the geological variety.

No one ever ended up sleeping in the tent since the boat had more comfortable accommodations, but it proved a good place to store floatation devices. It also was the only shade on the shore.

In the Shade of the Tent
Dragon on a Rope

A surprise feature of the campsite was the dragonflies. TONS of them! All kinds of colors and sizes and varieties. They loved to land on the leads to the boat...

...and on the tops of the fishing poles. (FUN AND EASY INTERACTIVE GAME TIME: Can you spot the dragonfly in the previous tent picture? HINT: It's on the fishing pole.)

Dragon on a Rope
Bugs on a Stick

The smaller dragonflies stayed closer to the water. In fact, these are not dragonflies at all, but are called damselflies. Clever, huh? (Yes, I had to look that up!)

I held up my index fingers often, hoping to look like a twig or pole, but the insects never landed on me. Little bastards.

Less-flying creatures were also in abundance, as one might expect in the wild. This is the Vicar's Collar lizard. It's named less for its markings and more for the fact that its tail will come off if trapped in an uncomfortable situation, allowing it to escape to the sanctity of its underground hole.

Lounging Lizard

While the campsite was nice and we spent much time simply lounging in the water or in the sun or both, the surrounding landscape was much too interesting to ignore. Thus, hiking every single day.

To wit, via visual stimulus:

Hiking and Sweating

I know, gross sweaty man. But ignore that, and ignore the high-water socks meant to ward off prickly plants, and ignore the fact that I don't look like I used to, and enjoy instead the amazing view.

Speaking of high-water, note, too, the high water line for the lake. You used to be able to get a boat all the way back there.

Sis, whose socks were not as tall as mine, suffered more abrasions from the prickly sticker plants. But, again, the view was worth it.

These boulders, now rounded from erosion, fell from those cliffs who knows how long ago. Compare that to the sharper rocks in the next picture...

Sis Hiking
Fallen Rocks

During one hike, on my own, I got up very close to the cliff walls. It was invigorating to know that at any time, a piece of the cliff could shear away and come crashing down. I had escape routes in my head the entire time. For instance: "Okay, in case it happens now, I'll be safe if I jump down to that ravine." Or: "I could dash behind this huge boulder here and hopefully nothing bigger will hit it from the other side."

I thought the same kinds of things growing up in our old house. "If the kidnappers chase me, I'll run into the pantry here and hide, and if they find me, I'll throw one of these Red Comets at them and escape while they are distracted!"

Glad I'm grown up and am past such silliness.

This is another good angle from which to view the low water level. PERSONALITY TEST: Would you call the lake half empty, or half full?

Our campsite is hidden in this shot. It was in the small inlet on the right side of the channel, toward the center of the picture.

Distant Land Mass

Every day presented a spectacular sunset.

Sunset Rays

Everything was beautiful. Thanks, Ray Stevens!

The hiking, the dragonflies, the sky, the kidnapper-foiling fire grenades... That's all great.

But what of boating?

Dad and Sis Boating

Yes, what of boating?

Dad and Sis Boating Driving the Boat

Well, here we are, boating. Boating about in the boat. I can assure you, my driving is much more serene under these circumstances than driving a car around L.A.

On one outing, we went to the northern-most point of the lake. Since the water level was so low, the marina up there had been closed for a couple years. We could only get close enough to see the marina from afar. It was like a ghost town, but a marina instead of a town. Which I guess would make it a ghost marina. Which sounds like a bad made-for-TV movie.

Yum! Water with lime!

The water up north was rather brackish. Or so we thought. It turns out the lake had been colored for a badly-planned beverage PR campaign. Since there were very few people here, I believe public awareness remains low for the new Gatorade: Toxic Citrus®.

At the north end of the lake, the scenery is very different. The subdued oranges and smooth shape of the canyon down south give way to brilliant rusty cliffs with sharp lines and fractures. You can see in previous photos how we were camped at a mid-way point between the two.

Puffy and Not Puffy
A More Serious Cruise

To paraphrase Snoopy, you can tell we're going north because we're facing left.

"It only took 25 years." That's what we kept saying. This is the very same model of Sea Ray we used to see at boat shows when my sister and I were little. Sleeper cabin underneath the bridge, built-in fridge and stove, and an actual bathroom! We always thought of how fun it'd be to go to Powell on that boat, but we never got the chance.

Until, as the dramatic announcers like to say, NOW! My folks have had this boat for a while, but this is the first time I'd been on it. It's a perfect boat for Powell. Only 25 years late.

(This one's worth clicking to enlarge, BTW.)

Boat Silhouette

The beauty of the nights was just as beautiful as the beauty of the days. Nights were beauts. The moon was either new or something close, because we had the darkest, starriest skies imaginable. Meteorites, satellites, the Milky Way... all the things you rarely see in the city were on display. Seeing the night sky that way is the only way to get a true sense of the grandeur of the universe.

Ugly Mug in an Elegant Sky

The only reason I'm including this horrifying shot of myself is to try to impart some awe of how plentiful the stars were. Sure, you can only see six stars in this picture, but I was able to capture them nonetheless.

I mean, you know, it's... Oh, never mind.

This little trifle is an experiment that I ran out of effort to perfect.
Any guesses?

Bugs in Light

Good job, Katie in Akron! It's a time exposure of bugs in a spotlight beam. Had I a better set-up, I could have fully executed this conceptual bibelot.

On our last day, just as we finished breaking down camp and leaving for Bullfrog, a fantasmagorical thunderstorm hit. We were in the middle of the lake and the rain was pelting the boat while lightning struck within walking distance (if you're Jesus). When the thunder comes on top of the lightning, you know it's close.

Is there some worry here? Do I smell worry? Or is it the bait cooler?

Weather Worrying
In Out of the Rain

We got the boat's canopy on, but not without first getting pretty wet. Do you wonder what it's like to snap metal snaps onto a metal frame while lightning is going off every which way? You do? We'll natter about it over hot cocoa sometime.

When the rain subsided, we got to see one of the rarest sights at Powell: Waterfalls!

On a trip when I was a kid, there was a big rain storm at Powell, and we had to stay in the boat for what I remember being a full day, maybe two. After those rains, waterfalls appeared over the canyon walls, cascading hundreds of feet.

So once again, I got to see waterfalls at Powell. I'd call it a precious moment if the term wasn't reserved for that line of endearing figurines. So cuuuuuute!

Waterfall of DOOM!
Props to the Clouds

Well, that's the abrupt end of the Lake Powell tale. I have this one pic left to show, which was on my flight from Grand Junction to Phoenix. I couldn't get the shot I wanted, but this amazing sunset through equally amazing clouds was a perfect capper to my trip.

Though the trip ended on a worse note, the good memories last longer than the bad. Ah-men!

The Glorious Wren Old Man Wren The Ranting Wren