Thursday, June 2, 2016

Lake Powell Day 8

Day 8 - 9 miles, Trip Total =75
After 40 minutes hiking up Lake Canyon we looked back over our shoulders and saw ruins tucked up in the cliff; our first successful find. We continued walking up the sandy Creek bed until we saw where the canyon mellowed out and we were able to hike up and out to the Mesa top above.

Walking along the top we were able to look down on the twists and turns of the canyon. Being able to see blue sky in all directions was a rare treat and although there were some ruins somewhere along the rim of the canyon that we never found, the morning was well spent.

With a forcast for more wind and 8 to 9 miles left to paddle before we reached Bullfrog Marina, we made a deal with Glen Canyon. We promised no singing Little Mermaid songs, no tempting the wind by yelling, "You call this wind?!!" and no yodeling against the amphitheater walls if we could make it into the marina with minimal battling against the weather.

Before we made it out of the canyon it started to pour. The rain wasn't cold so we held our breath and watched the it soak the sandstone until the rock looked glossy. As quickly as it started, the rain stopped and the sun broke out. The glare of the sunlight on the wet rock made us scramble for our sunglasses and we pulled out to the main channel in calm clear weather.

The beautiful conditions continued to hold and the lake miles were passing quickly. We had been paddling for an hour without seeing a single boat. We knew we were nearing the end of our trip, the end of our desert time, and the return to the mountains. The sun was warm and the wind barely moving so without hesitation, we both ripped off our tops and paddled. For 5 fabulous topless miles we moved quietly along the giant walls listening to the swirl of water around our paddles and wondering how we got so lucky.

Nearing the marina we pulled
on our sandy dirty shirts and turned into Bullfrog Bay. We paddled the last four miles as the sunset and lit up the rocks and the light breeze died down completely. It was the most beautiful evening of the trip but we were a little giddy at the prospect of a shower and dinner at a sit down restaurant.

As soon as our boards touched the docks we deflated our boards, rolled them up, and ran for the car. After finding the marina's heavenly showers, we sped to Anasazi Resteraunt and ordered steak, salads, and old fashions. The cook sat down and joined us which was a little strange, but good to talk with a new person.
We finished our dinner, said goodnight to the cook, and found a place at the campground to roll out our bags for the night.

The next morning we eagerly waited for the restaurant to open and ordered huge breakfasts smothered in green chilies. Heavily caffeinated, we went to the picnic area, dried out and repacked all our gear, and headed south to Paige to see Glen Canyon Dam. It's big.
We joined the hoards of tourists at the visitor center and looking at the pictures of building the dam made our last eight days feel a bit surreal. The186 mile long Lake Powell is only accessible by car at three points. Most people only see a sliver of the lake and none of the access points give a sense of the grandeur that the side canyons give. 
Just south of Paige is a place called Horseshoe Bend, an overlook of a stunning twist in the river. We parked in the crowded parking lot and walked the half mile to the overlook with hundreds if other people. We walked to the edge and waited to take a picture while hoards of people took selfies, skyped, and gushed over the view. After days of solitude this just seemed unreal. Beautiful yes, impressive yes, but how we wanted to remember our trip? With eyes wide, Carla looked at me and said "Lets get the hell out of here." We turned against the flood of tourists and headed home.