Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lake Powell

September seemed to be a whirlwind of a month. Only two days after my birthday Brad and I flew to Las Vegas to meet up with his family for one of the best vacations we've ever had. I kept telling people we were going to a family reunion, and Brad kept correcting me and saying we were going on a family vacation. Apparently a family reunion means a 100 people (80 of which you don't even know), team building (or should I say family building) exercises, lots of hot dogs, and custom-made matching family t-shirts. Our Lake Powell family VACATION was nothing like that. At all.

Lake Powell is one of the prettiest places I've ever been. It's seriously like a little oasis in the middle of the desert. We drove 5 hours from Vegas to Powell and not once did we see a tree or a single drop of water. Then all of sudden we turned a corner and there was a huge lake right in front of us. Definitely a breath-taking sight.
We rented a house boat for the week and Uncle Mike and Lindy brought their boat and jet skis.
Although none of the plans for activities during the day came to fruition, we all had a great time just hanging out on the boat or on the beach relaxing from the stresses of everyday life. Brad and I were constantly out on the boat or racing on the jet skis. I even learned to wakeboard (ok, not really. I just got up on the wakeboard and crashed like 3 seconds later, but, in my defense, I had never tried it before in my life. So I think I did pretty good. However, I'll probably just stick with skis from now on.)
There was a slide off the back of the house boat, and Chloe and I went down it probably about 1000 times, no joke. We also made friends with the huge carp that liked to hang out underneath and right beside the boat. They probably knew there were 5 little kiddos on board, and they would get some yummy scraps that accidentally (or not so accidentally) got thrown overboard. Chloe also let me take her out on the jet ski, and we got up to a whopping 14 miles an hour before she got scared for her life. But we sure did have a blast going super slow.
One afternoon some of us were able to get out and go over to West Canyon for a little hike. This was most definitely the highlight of the trip for me. The boat ride to get there seemed almost magical. We had high canyon walls on either side of us and bright blue and green water beneath us.

The further we got back into the canyon the more constricted the waterway became. We were more than careful as we slowed down to a crawl and everyone had their hands out ready to guard the side of the boat against the rocks. We finally tied up, climbed out, and got started on our hike. For the whole trip I hadn't seen any sign of vegetation other than a tiny brown srub, but it seemed like we had stumbled upon a tiny forest in West Canyon. There were trees and bushes all around.

Since Valeri didn't come on this hike with us Brad took over as acting photographer. I think he got some pretty good shots.
 And here's one of us:
On our way out of the canyon we ran over a log (we didn't see said log and we were going super slow). Well, turns out that it bent the prop so badly that we had to idle the whole way back to the house boat. Two hours. Poor baby Katie was starving and the only thing we had was a sucker I carelessly threw in my backpack before we left. That sucker entertained her for almost an hour though. She loved it! Of course we had no cell phone service so we couldn't call anyone back on the boat to let them know what happened. We just idled and idled the whole way home. By the time we got there Neil, David, and Mike were looking for the search and rescue number because they were sure we had gotten lost. Luckily we all made it back safe and sound, which is more than I can say for the boat. For the rest of the trip we had used the jet skis to get around.
Brad and I loved the West Canyon hike so much that we decided to go back the next day and explore a little more. After a few miles we found some awesome narrows that we had to swim through to get to the other side. It was some of the coldest water I've ever been in. The narrows were surrounded by high canyon walls and the path was only a few feet wide, which meant it never got any sun. It was also stagnate, disgusting, and smelt like cow manure. We also smelt like cow manure when we were through. If you've ever swam through a water-filled canyon you'll what I mean when I say I was completely banged up by the time we were through. It's pretty much impossible to see anything underneath you, which means occasionally you swam right into a huge rock just below the surface, which means I did it every 5 seconds. When we were out my knees and ankles were a bloody mess, and I was praying they wouldn't have to be amputated due to some nasty disease that got in the cuts. But it was amazing. The other side was another forest full of trees and plants and flowers, and I even think I heard some birds chirping. Unfortunately we didn't have a waterproof bag for our stuff, so we had to leave the camera behind, but we got some great pictures of the other parts of the hike.
 neat editing, courtesy of Brad Andersen
 Keens were our best friends on this trip.

We slept outside (mainly because we don't have a baby which means we don't really need a bed, and since Brad is the youngest we get last dibs on everything) and got to see the stars. I've missed being able to see the whole night sky lite up with stars. There's nothing quite like a desert night, in that regard.
Sleeping outside also meant lots of bugs. If all the lights on the top deck were turned off they weren't too bad, but even if one little headlamp came flickering on the bugs were immediately swarming. Here's a picture of them congregated off the back end of the boat where one light was on. It's hard to distinguish individual bugs since they move so quickly and their wings were reflecting the light, but you get the point. Insane.
 I woke up with bugs entangled in my hair, and I'm sure I swallowed enough to fill my quota for the next 30 years. We went to bed when the sun went down and woke up when the sun came up. We took baths in the lake and played till our hearts' content.

 We got to experience good food, a birthday party, great company, and some serious tantrums.
Thanks to all who made it possible!
photo courtesy of Valeri Andersen

And a special thanks to Mike Powell who graciously stopped the car in St. George on the way back to Vegas so we could partake in some long overdue Cafe Rio!
 photo courtesy of Valeri Andersen

Love, Brad & Courtney

1 comment:

  1. 14 mph, eh? I think that exceeds the speed she allowed me to go! Nice pictures, Brad! Love the stars. Shoulda thought of that. It definitely was a great vacation (NOT reunion).