Lake Powell 2005


We flew to Las Vegas and arrived around noon. Then, we drove four hours to Lake Powell.

Lake Powell is upstream on the Colorado River from the Grand Canyon and is located near the Utah-Arizona boarder. We arrived in the late afternoon and stayed that night at a hotel next to the boat rental marina

The next day we toured Glen Canyon Dam. Constructed in the early 1960's, the dam backs up the waters of the Colorado River forming Lake Powell. Down stream from the dam is the Grand Canyon that then leads into Lake Mead and Hover Dam that is located near Las Vegas.

Lake Powell provides fresh water storage, along with Lake Meade, this is used for agriculture and domestics drinking use in the states of Arizona, Nevada, and California.

The water level in BOTH Lake Powell and Lake Mead is down from full capacity. While Lake Powell is up 50 feet higher than last year, it all points to a water shortage in the western states.

The Dam as seen from the visitor's center. The lake is not at full capacity and the white area on the distant shore line marks how far down the lake is from "full fill".

Pictured above is the bridge near the dam for vehicle traffic across the river. Normally, there is no traffic over the dam, with one exception. Extremely heavy trucks are allowed to cross over the river via the roadway on top of the dam so that they will not damage the bridge.

Looking over the edge of the dam down at the power house where the hydroelectric plant is located. Between the powerhouse and the dam, the green area is grass. To the right of the powerhouse is the outflow from the dam. Also visible are the high tension power lines.

The top of the dam

After purchasing groceries and other supplies, we started off from the marina at the southern end of the lake near the dam. The house boat cruises at about 8 knots. We traveled 40 miles through fantastic rock formations that line the lake. Lake Powell looks much like a water tour of Monument Valley (near the Four Corners area). The rock formations are very similar.

The white "bath tub ring" above the water line and below the cave in the rock, is the high water mark when the lake is 100% full. While the lake was relatively low last year, the heavy snow in the Colorado Rocky Mountains provided enough run off for the lake level to rise 50 feet this year. The lake is still about 100 feet below full level. That white area being 100 feet high, it gives you and idea as to the size of the rocks.

The normal procedure is to beach the boats and then run mooring lines from the port and starboard stern of the craft outward at a 45 degree angle to large Danforth anchors that are dug into the sand.

Then, we went further upstream another 15 miles to Rainbow Bridge. What an amazing site.
This is the dockage that the National Park Service provides at Rainbow Bridge. From here it is a one mile walk up the valley to the bridge.
The red line in the photo is the high water mark when the dam is 100% full. When completely full, the valley to the bridge is flooded up to the site of the bridge.

Rainbow Bridge

The floating ramp from the docks up the valley to the shore line. This is continually re-positioned as the lake water level rises and falls.
Again, please note the red line that shows the high water mark when the lake is completely full.

Cynthia releasing the docking lines as we prepare to depart

Then, we went 30 miles back down stream toward our starting point. Along the way we stopped at Dangling Rope Marine for more fuel and some supplies. I can only describe the marina as this. If your son or daughter wants to have a summer job that they will never forget, have them apply to the National Parks Service for a job at Dangling Rope Marina. There are 30 employed there. It is about a third of the way up the lake. It can only be accessed by water. The employees are housed at the marina in rooms supplied by the Park Service. There is absolutely no land route to it as the high mountains isolate it from the rest of the world. Every boat imaginable stops at it along the way up the lake. The setting is beautiful. Everything must be brought in by boat or barge.

As seen in the photos above, the dock extend about 1,000 feet out into the bay. As the bay is several hundred feet deep, the marina is held in place via a complex network of cables that are connected to the canyon walls. The cables are heavy and droop down enough so that the shallow draft house boats can ride over them with no problem.

Just to the front of the house boat bow is the heavy winch (see the red circle) that is used to adjust the anchoring cables as the lake level rises and falls.