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Lake Powell – Labrynth Bay

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Lake Powell, Utah (near Page, Az)

@1.8 million acres
Area: 175 to 250 sq. miles
Length: 186 miles
Shoreline: 1,900 miles
Avg. Depth: 132 feet

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Lake Powell, Utah

Elevation: 3,700 feet

Marinas: 4 (Wahweap, Bullfrog, Antelope Point, Hall’s Crossing)

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Lone Rock Camping

For the first night I just wanted to get to the water’s edge and ‘acclimate.’ I had spoken with ‘Chace’ a few days earlier at Desert Kayaks – and after a rocky start he provided some great information and advice for paddling in the Airizona/Utah sun.  Lake Powell is a very large lake, at 1.8 million acres the volume of water the distance from end to end seemed enormous – at the moment the lake was 70′ down (I won’t even try to figure the gallons).

Chace provided numerous options and information on various time/distance/ objective paddles (end of this post) –  by chance I had my own objectives prior to arrival and felt lucky to have maintained them.

Lone Rock, Ut

I knew that I wanted to Paddle the canyon of Labyrinth Bay, but also with the distance from Wahweap marina that it would be an ‘overnighter.’ So the first night after traveling I simply wanted to camp ‘lake-side’ and figure it out from that point.

Lone Rock Campground is the only place on Lake Powell to camp on the shore – that was my simple objective the first night – and after the travel time, just stop and put my ‘feet-up.’

Once settled in I figured what the heck; so with my kayak (‘traveller‘) off the little truck and calibrated – I went ahead and paddled the Lone Rock corner of the lake.  There were several interesting canyons across the way – on my side were a small number of campers, not crowded at all.

The water clarity was a solid 10, awesome water, I have seen a couple of those tv shows ‘Cops’ on water filmed here and could visualize how the place could fill up with a whole bunch of ‘doggone people,’ but this was Monday Night and the larger part of Lone Beach was bare.

Darkness was falling as I made it back to camp and after nourishment the opportunity was there for an extra late ‘night paddle’ up and along the shoreline – near the campers and campfires. The campers fires were a nice glow against the black night.  As usual there was an ‘odd-ball’ with his generator running watching tv and yet another with music blaring; made me wonder; Why not just stay at home?

Those weren’t on my favorite list but it was what it was – and I was just a paddler.  Beverage in-hand and observing it all……. I coasted back to my little private section on the beach and ‘fell out’ for a really good nights rest.

Walheap MarinaWahweap docks

Early the next morning I drove the short distance to the Wahweap Marina, parking my vehicle (as the attendant told me I could) in the parking lot near the landing. This is where I began my paddle.

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Labyrinth Canyon Paddle

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Castle Rock

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Labyrinth Canyon was a 6.5 hour paddle, and the sun was blaring down.  The only shade along the way was along this massive wall – so I rode it’s shade.  Like everything else the wall was massive and the shade it provided was a stark contrast to the weather in the sunlight – the temperature difference was absolutely distinct.

a marker marks the mouth of Labyrinth Bay

The size/distance in mileage of Glen Canyon is incredible – its simply impossible to adequately convey without seeing them in person – just how far away and massive the mesa’s are… giants, ancient giants.

I stopped and spoke with this couple because I liked their boat, a C-Dory.  Its the first one that I had seen since talking to a member of the C-Dory club a year earlier while navigating the Mississippi River, evidently the C-Dory Club is a large and very active in their get-together’s, it’s a practical boat – nice folks too.

But back to what I came here for, at the end of Labyrinth Bay the Canyon begins, it twists and turns until only a kayak can go further –

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Well until this point, as I approached the boat nestled in the canyon (above) the guy and his girlfriend (looking a little sunburned or embarrassed) stuck their heads up – conversation was pleasant as she adjusted her suit and they adjusted the boat too so that I could paddle through.

There’s no reason to be surprised with what you come across when paddling.

A few hundred yards beyond their boat, the water ended and it was possible to walk further through the canyon, plenty to explore and it would be easy to spend hours here.  I think too that if the water was at full pool, the further distance of exploring on kayak….

and it goes on and on, beautiful place to explore – but I needed to head back.

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back out until I found ‘traveller,’

and once again past the couple in the boat, later in the day as they idled past me they threw a couple of really cold beverages (Coors) my way; the beverages were delicious in the heat – excellent.

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Returning to Labyrinth bay and back into the spacial abyss, I felt like ‘one little dot on the water,’ pretty insignificant yet moving along at one little stroke at a time.  So far I have found that in distance paddling the mind is ‘occupied’ with the surroundings while the arms find perpetual motion; it’s not work – just a frame of mind; a place within neutrality.

It was now late in the day, returning west and into the sun at this altitude was brutal.  The shade was hit-and-miss as I paddled the opposite shore – but some shade was available around the rock formations.  Remaining hydrated in this heat is important, one trick is with having one of those loose long-sleeved fishing shirts and dousing it in water – it dries as you paddle and maintains a comfortable level of moisture on your skin.

The rock formations are very interesting too, formed under unimaginable stress then cooled, layered, then stressed some more.  It’s similar to large drippings of cement sitting for millions of years compounded on top of each other.  The rock formations had to have participated in a violent time within earth’s history.

Later I found shade and for me the perfect beach to set up camp, which I did.  Took a nice swim and sat up late into the evening with my pre-mixed cranberry/tequila cocktail (a ‘waggit adder’) perfected while on the Mississippi River.

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This spot at Powell remains my favorite camp setting EVER as a paddler.

Late that evening I was reminded how quickly the sand loses its heat – as I adjusted the tent the sand beneath remained as warm as it was during the day (so I moved it to cooler sand); during the night my clothes that were wet and spread over the warm rocks – dried completely.

The stars in the night sky were the most distinct that I have ever seen.

The next morning I was up real early, with five more hours of paddlin I wanted to make all the time I could before the Sun hit its peak again.

more formations,

101_0890it was a beautiful time with lots of morning peace.

Slipping up on some fishermen I even joined them in conversation before they finally noticed me (I heard most of their small talk long before they even knew I was nearing).

Through the great spacial abyss and right back into the world of ‘doggone’ people, there were lots of house boats many of them pulling a motor boat and/or a jet-skis, some even come with helicopters…

Lake Powell site – and Lake Powell houseboat rentals

I just stayed to the ‘quiet’ side and eased on back across the bay.  Within the setting there were times that paddling seemed ‘slow’ – the perspective is one of a single humans insignificance in the grand scheme of things – one stroke at a time.

Civilization.

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and my day(s) were done here.  Paddlin Lake Powell, awesome – it’s big so pack your lunch.  It was such a neat paddle, I’m tired now and ready to put my ‘feet-up,’ made it to Hurricane Utah.

Boulder City, and the Colorado below Hoover Dam tomorrow.

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More Lake Powell Paddlin information

Twin Finn, Inc.- P.O. Box 4780 – 816 Coppermine Rd. – Page, Az – 928-645-3114

We have the largest fleet of Kayaks in the area (over 50 kayaks), which will accommodate the most novice Kayakers to the more advanced. The least expensive are the Ocean Kayak “Sit-on-Tops” they all have seats, and strapping to secure your gear, but you and your equipment are more exposed to the elements.

The other types of kayak we carry are called “Sea Touring” kayaks they are enclosed cockpits with rudders, they are 14’-18’ in length, and have a “Storage” compartment both in front and back of the paddler. They are fast and can be paddled from 2-4mph, they are a little more “tippy”, but even the novice could handle with a little practice.

All of our rentals come with all the equipment you will need to paddle, such as: Paddles, PFD’s, and a dry bag if needed. If you are camping within ¼ mile of the water edge IT IS THE LAW TO HAVE A PARK SERVICE APPROVED WASTE CONTAINMENT DEVICE FOR CAMPING (We do sell such items at our shop). If you are using the Sea Touring kayaks they also come with Spray Skirts, Bilge pumps, and neoprene hatch covers.

There are multiple areas to paddle, camping is allowed pretty much anywhere. We recommend, and sell the “Stan Jones” map of Lake Powell and will be able to assist you in the planning and logistics of your trip if required (please take into account that we are 70’ below “Full Pool”, and due to the huge fluctuations in our lake levels, camping spots and different areas may not be accessible). I will try to touch on the different areas, but please take into account these are just recommendations, we suggest always adding a cushion to your trip time due to unforeseen events such as weather.

There is a spot named:

“Lone Rock Camp” above Wahweap marina. It is a very long sandy beach and is the only place where you can drive to-and camp next to the waters edge. There are out-houses on the beach and a shower at the top of the beach that is available to the public. You can paddle across to Lone Rock canyon (it takes about 15 minutes), there are no deep canyons but there are nice little jetties, and the hiking is great, in fact they find a lot of fossils, geodes, and there are huge boulders balanced on sandstone pillars in areas. If you bring a GPS to our area there is a treasure back there to find. It is a fun game I play called Geo Caching, see their website at I think www.geocaching.com and look up by zip code 86040 and it will bring up numerous treasures that are hidden in the desert, and on the Lake, that can only be found by a GPS. When you find one of the treasures, most people sign a notepad and when you take one of the treasures you must leave a treasure. My kids love this game, and it is a great excuse to go hiking.

“Wahweap Window Arch” is a nice camping and hiking area, there is another Geocach located behind Castle Rock. There is another place to launch the kayaks that they call “Stateline Launch Ramp” it is between Boat Rentals and Swim Beach on the Arizona/Utah Border. It puts you closer to that area.

Antelope Point” is a public launch ramp. It is a very good place to put in kayaks, and you could camp on Antelope Island. Antelope canyon runs parallel to Navajo route 22b, it takes about 15 minutes to paddle to the mouth of the canyon from the launch ramp. It is about an hour to back of the canyon but well worth it! You paddle through the muck at the end and then do a hike (depending on the amount of debris at the end). No one will be hiking unless they come in by kayak due to the runoff sediment that is floating on top of the water (power boats wont risk it due to sucking it up in motor, and hidden dangers to props). You can spend an easy ½ to full day in there. * It is best to start in early in the morning due to the boat traffic that gets thick about 9:00am in the morning; the main channel at the mouth of the canyon is the only way for other boat traffic to get uplake.

Below the Dam on the Colorado River is an area called “Lee’s Ferry” It is my favorite place to paddle. It is cooler down there, there are old buildings and homes with a lot of history to explore (that was the only place settlers could cross the river), there is a very intense trail that takes you up the side of the cliff that they used to bring coal by mule from “Spencer’s Coal Mine” to the river via the “Spencer’s Trail” It takes about 4 hours to go up it. As far as paddling, you either get a tow 15 miles upstream to the base of the Dam or you can paddle up (it is a very mild current and is all flat water) as far as you can and then let the river push you back. The float from the dam takes about 6-8 hours, or you can tell the water taxi service how much time you have and they will drop you off accordingly. Cost is $23 per person and $20 per kayak to take you upstream. They do not have rental kayaks available at the river you would need to get them from us and then transport them. You can only camp in designated areas, but they do have fire pits and bathrooms at the sites, the first one is about 5 miles upstream. The nice thing about this area is that it is cool, you can see the rainbow trout below your kayak, less boat traffic, but the down side is that the water is a constant 50 degrees, no swimming! Or short swimming.

For a Water Taxi (tow-back service) from Lee’s Ferry to the Dam you can contact Colorado River Discoveries (888-552-6644)

“Navajo Canyon” is a very nice canyon, there is camping at the mouth, but it is 20 miles long with no place to camp, so whatever you paddle in, you must paddle out in the same day.

Labyrinth Canyon has the most incredible slot canyons at the back of it that I have ever seen, but they are tough to get into. You would need at least 3 days to do this paddle. 1 day up, 1 day to explore, 1 day to get back. Some people have done it in 2 days, but we feel you need a full day to take in the experience of the canyon (blog-my experience – 6.5 hours there, 5 hours to explore – camp a little way out, then return next day).

“West Canyon” is a slot canyon at the end that makes for a very nice hike. Will require 2 days of paddling to get there.

Mountain Sheep Canyon”, Cathedral Canyon, Driftwood Canyon, Twilight Canyon, Cascade Canyon, Rainbow Bridge” are all in the 40mile 1 way range and would be easier to reach using the of a Water Taxi service, WELL WORTH IT! But expensive.

Dangling Rope Marina” is the only midway marina and is 41miles from the dam, and is not accessible by Auto. But is a nice area to meet the water taxi.

Things to ponder for safety: Lake Powell can be a very isolated area with some very extreme conditions. Cell phone reception is limited in the narrow canyons of Lake Powell. Handheld marine band radios will do better; you can contact the National Park Service on Channel 16 and may also be able to pull up the automated weather channel. Extreme weather announcements are broadcast on both channel 16 and weather channel.

Please remember our boats are first come first serve, so reservations are a must! We have both single person and double person boats.

Can book reservations on our secure server located at:

http://www.secure-access.net/~twinfinn

Thank you for your inquiry, we look forward to hearing from you.

Chace Cooper – http://www.twinfinn.com or desertkayaks.com

(Scott) Mullinsville

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Interesting day, I really needed last night at the Holiday Inn in Wichita after a few days on the Current river.  A sinus-attack had unexpectedly ‘popped up’ and hit me hard – zapped my energy.  Made a quick stop in the ER of Springfield, Mo. for some med’s – then barely remember the drive to the hotel…..   Anyway, the solid night of sleep helped to get my ‘feet back on the ground’ for an awesome trail-ride today – tonight I’m at the Cow Palace in Lamar, Colorado – fitting ending after seeing the prairies of the Santa Fe trail across West Kansas.  There are several places that they have preserved the historic Santa Fe for all to sense.

Out of Wichita and across the Santa Fe Trail with the ‘shortest route’ plugged into the Garmin, this has been an amusing piece of equipment, more later (its muted).

Junk stores, antique store’s, ‘My people.’

Long rolling hills that you could imagine cattle drives going across, of course the farming industry and silo’s that figure into the support of the meat industry.

And then Greensburg, Ks who’s only fame was having the largest hand dug well (which supported the railroad and city in its early years), just under it’s current tower. Well, fame until 2007 then a twister came through and leveled the city – the town was/has rebuilt – they’re still working on it, you might notice the light pole by the well.

Mullinsville (actually Mullinville)

Then to Mullinville where MT had quite a racket going on in his field, so much so that I just had to turn back and ‘go-figure’ with him.

I found him hard at work in his shop grindin, weldin, and swearing at the simplest of things, it was good swearing.  I introduced myself by saying that “I want some of whatever you been smokin,” of course that brought a nice smile.

We talked a bit and he told me how he got started, then he wanted to scribble on the ‘Chuck-wagon,’ I thought that was neat –

So I gave him a sign that I had tucked in (in case somebody ran off with the turtle sign), it was a fun conversation and in it all seems that the city has finally ‘takin a shine to his work, in which I fully support –  I mean what better could you do with old farm equipment (which there is an abundance of here) besides melt it down, I say go MT, set yourself free. Check out this link on him. He even pulled out an old camera out of his overalls and took my picture by the chuck-wagon, whether he’s ever had anything good to smoke or not he was a real character to talk with and a nice guy, thanks M.T. Liggett, made my day.

– And if I needed any help to remember the name just ran parallel with a buddy at the FD, Scott Mullins (ville) sorry Scott, he might be some of ‘your people’.  🙂

Just down the road Steve and Penny were taking another long bike ride (this one to Florida), more kindred spirits on the bac roads – check on them at Crazyguyonabike.

Of course there has to be Dodge City, I wondered if Ms Kitty ever got that body part unstuck from the saloon door.

Dodge City of course was branded into to me as a kid as one of two shows that my Dad always watched, Gunsmoke and Bonanza.  Dodge City was known as the cattle shipping point for points up North (Marshall Dillon kept the drovers in check around town and Ms Kitty), it continues to support the same  industry but now processes the cattle (ships them out in cooled boxes instead of loading them on a train.  Point is the distinct aroma is present in Dodge City, just a part of it.

Marshall Dillon would be proud to know that they now serve Chinese and Mexican food on main street, not sure what Wishbone would say about it, nor what type work ‘Mushy’ would be doing now.

Of course boot Hill was always where you could end up, it didn’t seem like much to me so I just followed the tradition of doing the things that were free and moving on, so I headed out of town.  A couple of blocks later I thought what the heck, my Dad was proud of the part he play as an early Florida ‘cracker’ – and as part of many of my home town (Ft. Myers) rodeo’s (because of an early bull-dogging injury, he later only participated as the clown)

Dad on left @ 50’s

so lets make one more lap though town, for WT Haynie – I’m sure he would have loved to have smelled the stockyards of Dodge City for himself.

In running the back streets for the final lap through town I came across a seemingly unnoticed old church, the statue caught my attention so I stopped to investigate, why not? – (‘leave early, enjoy the ride’) it was the original Boot Hill site! No tourists here, no one.  One inscription read;

“This site became known as Boot Hill due to the custom of burying gunfighters with their boots on or behind their head.  It is estimated that 32 men and one woman was buried on this site.  The names of many of these are unknown as they died without friends or money.  Their deaths occurred between 1872 and 1876, in 1878 the graves were moved to the newly established Prairie Grove Cemetery.” (exert 137)

It was neat to find something so overlooked that no one comes around, so much so that I took a moment to ease any glaucoma, tuned into 93.9 ‘The Buzzard’ and moved on out of town, the last lap for Dad was a good one.

I DID NOT stop at Wyatt Earps Liquor Store or Doc Holiday’s Package store,

nor, (traveling ‘lone-wolf’ as I am)  did I ‘bust-a-move’ or let out a howl at El-Coyote’s disco,

But I did find Ms Kitty as a poster at the General Store promoting the annual testicle festival…(no kidding).

You’d be proud Dad.

Time to “Get outta Dodge” and I did, right past the Thunderbird Motel and down the Sante Fe Trail.

Had to take a little walk but it was worth it, the prairie just rolls across west Kansas, easy to imagine those cattle drives and settlers that passed this way.

It was a short walk but worth it, part of the Santa Fe trail, 1822 – 1872.

Two lane roads where 65 is the norm, I was having trouble with the Life at 60 – cattle trucks, big ones.

Moving those cows.

This is where the Garmin got interesting, right through the old parts of Garden City, Ks, ‘shortest route.’

Kids running cross-country,

– and right past the High School where the Varsity team practiced as the JV team played across the field – made me remember Thursday nights. Interesting route, even though I think the Garmin technician lost a page when entering this one – it worked out.

But it was all ok because I was able to enjoy the ‘down home’ feel of these parts where the folks graciously honor and remember those that have served our country – they even wave at 65 mph (I think they were waving).

And those steel woodpeckers are everywhere.

It was an interesting day across West Kansas leaving the Cow Palace in Lamar to feel quite appropriate – this was a hasty post, may be a couple of days before another, think I’ll wander on down to the Branding Iron Saloon and show off my chaco’s……

Biloxi ‘Quick-trip’

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Not sure where this post fits in at, but I unexpectedly sold my box-truck and the buyer paid me to deliver it to Biloxi (Ocean Springs), so why not? plus its exactly where the ‘eagle landed‘ (and the Mississippi River Trip ended) one year ago.

‘Freebird,’ 1800 Miles later

A ‘free’ road trip, besides really nothing else on the schedule and with a bro-in-law (John) already in Biloxi about to head back I jumped in and am adding to the bugs on the windshield now (actually I hate a dirty windshield) – but still, a quick-trip.


The interstate just reminds me of why I like the back roads so much, not that they don’t have their ‘bottlenecks,’ just that waiting for ducks to cross

– is a different mindset than running amongst a ‘wolf-pack.’

Southbound

And that’s just what its like, through Atlanta you just have to find a ‘slot’ and ‘keep your mind moving forwaqrd,’ all the while blending into the perpetual motion within these concrete corridors.  Its all like an artery within a great beast, iron machines like blood cells in motion continuously supporting the life of America’s South.

Returning

The trip down was all rain with a nasty tornado over in Mississippi, just weather.  Made it to the coffee house early where I found some ‘zip,’ an egg, and John.  With a couple of hours to kill (and some caffeine to burn) we took a ride and admired the character of the old part of town before stopping by tranquility base (Biloxi Marina at HardRock).

“The nest was empty.’

– after the long ride it was nice to be off my butt walking around the marina contemplating and admiring the moored vessels.

Biloxi Light

Just another one of those ‘little circles‘ that I find interesting to complete, returning to places… (and making light of coincidence).

With the transaction completed (time for a modest update, maybe an RV) we quickly pointed Johns ‘beamer Northward, ‘life at eighty-five… 🙂

Good conversation and a number of hearty laughs made the @ 500 mile return seem much shorter –

Along the way I think John asked about Why? I write.  Well, generally its simply impulsive and without peer pressure – I like Hot Rods because there are no rules to building one; you build, tinker, or change your car ‘any way you want‘ – and in a very similar way – I feel the same about this blog thing.

It’s all just a part of the trip that we can only make once.

iasr

Along The Coast

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Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Taking the long way home….

Frisco Campground at Cape Hatteras for the night, its really nice weather with little to no folks around, perfect – except there’s a fine line with the ‘cold-water only’ showers….  Sailor Jerry’s/coke (I’ll finish the bottle on the Pacific in October).

Tuesday morning,8am

Beautiful day, very small breeze, headed to Ocracoke Island to paddle – more ponies? (check link)

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