Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Lake Powell, Part 2: Ice Cream, Rainbows, and Castles

The title makes it sound like a fairy tale, doesn't it? Well, a great Powell vacation is the stuff of true fairy tales for me. Gee, I sound like I'm obsessed.

Tuesday morning, we ate breakfast and then headed out for a wakeboarding run, just like we do every morning! Russ taught Mike how to wakeboard, and instead of posting one of the many cool pictures I got of him, I decided to post a picture of his first real wipeout. I'm a good friend.

As soon as the wakeboarding was done, we pulled up stakes and headed uplake so we could explore another area of Lake Powell. The kids kept themselves busy during the journey with coloring... on their hands!

On the way to our next campsite, we made the traditional stop at Dangling Rope Marina. Poor Russ got stuck fueling the houseboat while the rest of us got ice cream. It was two days before the ice cream stand would close for the season, so they only had chocolate left, but we were happy!

Here we are about to leave the marina and forget all about fueling the ski boat and buying some ice. Hey, at least we remembered the ice cream and souvenirs! You know, the important stuff. When we got back to the houseboat, I suggested Russ take the ski boat back while I head uplake in the houseboat... he was annoyed that he ended up doing all the work by himself. I can't blame him. Hopefully this picture of Kyle in his tacky outfit can cheer him up someday.

After parking the houseboat on a huge sandy beach, we decided to go to Rainbow Bridge. It was only one canyon away from our new campsite, and we rocked the tunes the whole way there.

There was only one other boat there when we arrived, and we soon passed them on their way out... heavenly solitude!

Back at the campsite, the kids built onto a huge sandcastle that was already there. Even though I didn't love the campsite because there were so many other houseboats nearby, I had to admit the beach provided hours of safe fun for the kids.

That night, I was surprised to see my favorite constellation, Scorpio, setting over the cliffs. The moon had been so full during the trip that it had drowned out most of the stars while it was up, so I took the chance before it rose again to do some stargazing. Amazingly, even though I used part of the ever so slightly moving houseboat as a tripod, it turned out decent. Love!!

Soon the moon was up again, and we headed to higher ground for a campfire. I really loved this campfire spot because the area was so open that we had 360 degree views of the silhouetted cliffs around us.

Of course we made s'mores!

So ended another glorious day on the lake.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Lake Powell, Part 1: Sludge of the Slots

This year's Powell trip was epic! We just happened to have the most perfect weather imaginable, we had a better idea what we were doing, it was a day longer than last year's trip, and we got to see a super moon lunar eclipse over Lake Powell skies. Seriously?!?! What did I do to deserve this? We started our trip by camping out overnight at Wahweap Campground so that we'd be ready to head uplake Sunday morning. It was a beautiful day, and I was the captain.

As soon as we parked, the kids were anxious to swim. I know it was Sunday, but... how could we say no?

Our first night on Powell was the night of the lunar eclipse, and I didn't want to miss it, so we picked a spot that gave us a good chance of having a nice view of the moon. Okay, I love this picture of the red moon rising over the cliffs.

A closer view. I have never wanted my tripod so badly in my life! I tried using a rock, and, well, I'm still kinda learning how to take the best shots.

The next morning, Russ took a bunch of people out on the boat while Kyle, Kallie, and I paddled the couch farther down the canyon that we were staying in. Man, that was hard work! We finally got to a little crevice in the canyon wall and decided to climb up and explore.

We could see the houseboat from where we were, and it was tiny, but I thought our voices might echo off the canyon walls when we all yelled together, "COME PICK US UP!!" No love. The wind was blowing against us on the way back, but we made it, mostly because we walked along the beach part of the way, dragging the couch behind us.

As soon as we brought the couch back and tied it up to the houseboat, a bunch of the kids hopped on to float around on it.

It was our turn on the ski boat, and Kyle was ready for some sharking. I'm sorry to say I got just a precious few shark pictures this year. It's the burden of being the only photographer on the trip! I like the looks on their faces... I think they're having fun.

Now there's a good time! Mike was pretty much done after that excitement.

Russ went on a couple crazy rides with Kyle next, but the photographer was driving, so no pics. After everyone had a sufficient headache, the kids rode the shark as we towed it back to the houseboat.

Later that afternoon, I suggested we attempt the Wetherill Canyon slot hike again, the one we had failed at last year. We couldn't remain defeated!! This time we were ready, though, bringing the shark along to float us down the canyon when it got too narrow for the ski boat.

That's a lot of water shoes!

Yes, this is as fun as it looks.

When the water got too shallow for the shark, we got off to slog through the last of the sludge, and that's when Sylvia FLIPPED OUT! I think Mike was glad to have an excuse not to continue through the sludge, even though Sylvia continued to flip out for another 45 minutes after we left them behind. When it's your first time, it really is the stuff of fear factor. We're kinda used to it.

I kept expecting the canyon to dry up, but the water continued.

And then we came to the first choke stone. Too bad we didn't bring our grappling hook! Or any rope, period. The water in front of the rock was chest deep, so the only footing was on the walls of the canyon. Kyle was able to chimney up to the top of the first rock.


Sadly, I had neither the leg length nor the confidence to do the same, and there was no way we were getting all the kids up there. Plus, we had been hiking for an hour... it was a sign that it was time to turn back.

Paige really wanted to climb on top of it, though, so I gave her a boost, and Kyle gave her a hand. She's the selfie queen!

Going down.

No, really. Going DOWN!

On the way out.

I had to get pictures of us going through the sludge because it's just too gross to be believed! These are never before seen images... it's the first time I've had a waterproof camera to document a slot canyon adventure!

Yeah, it's like walking through a bowl of shredded wheat that has been sitting there for a day. And it stinks.

Soon we were back at the shark, where Mike and Sylvia were so glad to see us.

The sun was getting low in the sky as we headed back to our houseboat, and the water was so calm within Wetherill Canyon that if you looked over the edge of the boat, it looked like the boat was soaring through the sky because of the reflection. This picture was taken in the main channel... in the summer, the water never gets this calm. It was just beautiful.

That was a pretty good start to our trip, don't you think? More to come!