Lake Powell is one of the most incredible lakes I’ve ever visited. This man-made reservoir straddles the border between Utah and Arizona and has over 2,000 miles of shoreline. That’s a lot of shoreline–more than the combined Pacific Coast states. Yowzers! When you’re here, if your kids fight, make them walk the perimeter of the lake for punishment. I bet they’ll learn their lesson. Yuck, yuck,yuck.
This lake is the 2nd largest man-made lake in the U.S. behind Lake Mead in Nevada. It was named in honor of a one-armed American Civil War veteran, John Wesley Powell, who led the 1st expedition down the Colorado River in 1869. If you want to read a good book about it, read Down the Great Unknown by Edward Dolnick. You won’t regret it.
We went with our relatives who have a timeshare on a houseboat. My girls were excited when we got driven with all our luggage and ice chests down the long ramp to the marina
and right to the houseboat. They thought our driver was hot! Teenage girls think things like that.
What I thought was: “I wonder how much I have to tip him?”
Here’s the houseboat where we would live for the next week. We spent the first day lounging around (aka–working our buns off unloading ice chests of food into fridges and cupboards and cramming 27 persons’ worth of belongings into a very tight space while trying to keep track of a couple toddlers so they wouldn’t fall off the dock and become carp food).
Meanwhile, the guys made sure all was right with the boat before we headed off into the great unknown. There was one thing the guys didn’t check though…and it will figure into the drama of my story later. Try to guess what it was? You never will.
The next morning we took off and slowly made our way to a dot on that crazy lake-a-palooza. As you can see from looking at this map, Lake Powell has lots of jiggy jags…and each of those jiggy jags (my made up word) is a cool little canyon world of its own. You could explore it forever.
We traveled about 3-4 hours up the lake and enjoyed ourselves along the way. The surrounding desert is stunning. The white line on the cliffs shows how high the lake used to be. The lake can be very treacherous because of the water going up and down so dramatically. One year you might boat over an area and be fine–and then in a low water year, the same area might become treacherous because red rock cliffs are exposed just beneath the water surface. They’ll take out your boat if you hit them unawares. Scary.
What’s even more scary is when you find the captain’s wheel being taken over by young, silly teens who think they know it all! I started screaming when I realized my girls were driving the 36,000 pound behemoth we were on. What if they drove us onto a barely submerged rocky cliff and we all sunk? I was a little frantic, until I remembered there are no sharks in the middle of the desert. But there are large mouthed carp; I’ve fed them as a child at Lake Mead.
So I did what any wise mother would do…and grounded them to their rooms with no dinner until they untied the captain (their uncle) and let him steer the ship (aka–houseboat).
Once the true captain was at the helm, I breathed easier. My girls are not sea-captains, and I’m not afraid to tell them. [You can thank me later, girls.] At least we’re not at the bottom of Lake Powell being eaten by a bunch of big-mouthed carp the size of giant squids.
But my fingers are cramping up from typing. So stay tuned for our continuing adventure on Lake Powell next week. And try to figure out what the guys forgot to check out on the boat before we left dock–which would bring us sore afflictions a few days later when we were in the middle of nowhere-land. Until then, carp de diem (which means in large-mouthed carp talk–Peace Out!)