Lake Powell

I just got done kayaking on Lake Powell and I’m exhausted.  It was a wonderful experience though.  I explored Antelope Canyon, Labyrinth Canyon, and hiked overland from Labyrinth Canyon to Face Canyon.  Here are a few things to consider to help you plan your trip.

  1. Timing…  The time of the day in which you plan to kayak can be critical if you’re going long distances.  First light until about noon has nice calm water (hopefully) and fewer motorboats.  From about 1pm to 6pm motorboats swarm the lake and you’ll be dealing with lots of waves and more wind.  It’s also hot this time of day.  From about 3pm to 6pm the winds pick up and head down-lake.  Later in the evening the winds settle down and so do the powerboats allowing for lovely paddling conditions. Moonlight can also be favorable to paddle in, but your chances of getting run over by a power boat are likely much higher.
  2. It’s a bit committing out there!  There are long stretches of open water and cliff-ed shoreline. You’ll quickly find that paddling along the cliff-side means you get double waves and taking your chances with the boats is more appealing that getting swamped.
  3. Bring shelter!  A shelter that will serve as shade and rain protection will be ideal.  There are few to no rock outcroppings to hide under in the event of rain.  Also, mid-day is heavy with boat traffic and a great time to take a siesta if you’re not in a canyon.
  4. Beware the rain! Being in a slot canyon during a rain can be terrifying when it turns into a river.  It may also kill you if it flash floods.  Also pick your camp site carefully and think about how the water will drain.  It would be a shame to find your shelter perched in the center of a steam.
  5. Beware the Goatheads!  Much of the vegetation along the shore is festooned with goatheads (a thorny ball).  These will be a big problem for any inflatable air mattress.  Bring a patch kit, consider sleeping on the slickrock, or throw something like a ridgerest underneath it.
  6. Beware the Creepy Crawlies! In Labyrinth Canyon I saw two gopher snakes, a very large black widow hiding in the shadows, and some baby birds.  The gopher snakes look much like rattlesnakes and that is one of their defense mechanisms. I’m sure you could find some scorpions if your went around picking up rocks and looking underneath them.  I also saw several chuckwalla lizards while hiking above face canyon.
  7. Bring some entertainment!  I wished I had a book or some paper to write on.  Sitting still can be hard, and trying to stay active or engaged was exhausting.
  8. It’s a very big lake!  Many of the destinations are about 10 miles apart.  That’s a lot of paddling.  Try to plan several activities at each location so you don’t have to do as much traveling/paddling.
  9. Cell Service: Verizon works at a number of locations such as Labyrinth Bay, the Marina, Antelope Island, and perhaps others.  Hiking to higher ground also helps to get a better signal.
  10. Things to bring
    Essentials: beyond costal sunscreen, outdoor research board shorts, sun protection (clothes), sun hat, rain gear, lip balm, opticus sunglasses, katadyn water filter, map/compas/gps.
    Recommended: sun/rain shade, music, a good book, solar powered recharger, camera
  11. What time is it? You’ll be in and out of Arizona and Utah on your trip.  This may wreck havoc with timekeeping.