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