Deep in the southwest, far from the interstate freeways, single lane roads pass through small, virtually desolate towns littered with americana artifacts. Even further beyond them waits a landscape that seems to contradict itself.
With little signs of anything beyond dried out river beds, rocky outcroppings, and the occasional group of Juniper trees fighting for survival one would never expect to find a massive lake branching out around large red rocks, and orange stained sandy beaches.
Apparently Lake Powell, a man made creation with the construction of dams along the Colorado river, has more shoreline than the stretch of ocean beaches from San Diego north into Washington. What Lefty, Jen and myself found on a recent trip there completely surpassed any expectations.
Southern Utah bound forecasts for 100 degree weather was mentioned. Not exactly inviting, but with promises of temperate water just outside your back door you can't go wrong. House boats dart the sandy shorelines along the inlets on the northern side of the lake. We found ourselves stepping aboard one a half hours boat ride from the marina we shoved off from, one occupied by the Sherowski clan and friends. This would be home for the next few days.
It seems like a strange concept to me, traveling up the lake on a floating home, beaching up on any spot that suits you. But here we were, boarding with gear in hand and a cooler full of chilled water and food. Activities were plentiful. Kids jumping and slipping down the water slide on the back of the boat. Stand Up Paddle boards lining the slick red rock cresting from the river. A trail snaked away from the lake shore heading up into the strange rock formations in the ridge just to the south. This sparked my interest, especially with mention of an archway up the canyon in that direction.
With a hike in mind the second day started early, trying to get it in before the sweltering heat took over. That didn't take long though. As we climbed up along the canyon we decided to seek some shade in the small stream bed below. As we settled into the shadow of the canyon walls, standing in the trickling water something came to site.
Adding to the ever growing collection of abnormalities of the trip we found ourselves 10ft up stream from a large unfazed owl, most likely cooling himself in one of the only possible shelters from the sun in the area. Lefty didn't pay much attention to him and soon after we climbed back up searching for the cairns leading the way up. At this point heat was beginning to exhaust our exploration. So as others found refuge in the shadowy crack of a rock I pushed up over to find this elusive archway. Not much further up, rounding a bend and dropping down into the canyon onto the top of what would be a beautiful cascading waterfall in the rainy season. Following the now dry stream up a little further the archway came into sight.
This is the type of natural monuments that came to mind when the idea for the trip first came up. Along with skyscraper size plateaus and distant craggy mountains, these prehistoric rocks and outcroppings walled in Lake Powell. Without a doubt these wild lands were unlike anything i have seen before.
The vantage point from our tent, strategically placed close with a fisheye lens view of the sky and the surrounding horizons brought some bright starscapes and sunrises that mirror the scene on the still waters below.
The road was long to this oasis in the desert and it was filled with the contents of any memorable journey; Blowouts on hot roads deep in the desert, legs covered in poison ivy (if it exists I will find it, and yeah Utah deserts have it), cell phones submerged in water, packs of coyotes barking at the moon, jackrabbits galloping to flee said coyotes, meeting friends new and old, skipping ass first down the lake in an attempt to water ski, dive after dive from the roof of a house boat, Jen and Lefty riding tandem on the SUP board, and too many photos to share them all here. It is all the contents of a very satisfied life.