Lake Powell Area

Tue, 22 Apr 2003 03:00:36 -0000 (GMT)

Lake Powell Area

Lake Powell is a lot different than I expected. We took a 7 hour boat trip out to the Rainbow Bridge National Monument. It is one of the largest natural bridges in the world and is 290 feet high, 275 feet across is 33 feet wide and 42 feet thick. The water in Lake Powell is down about 60 feet due to dry weather so where they used to walk about a 1/4 mile from the boat we had to walk a mile but did get some great pictures.

What was different about Lake Powell is that is follows the Colorado River channel for most of the 50 miles to Rainbow Bridge and other that about 3 bays it is from 1/8 mile to 1 mile across a lot of the way. Because it is in the original channel it is much deeper, about 400 feet for the first several miles.

It costs $6000 to rent a big house boat on Lake Powell. Do you think that is per week or month? It actually is for 6 days!!!

The other thing that surprised me is how rocky it is. There really are no beaches where we went so one would have a hard time anchoring at night. They do have places you can pump your black water tanks and fill up with water and of course marina's for supplies and gas.

There are hundreds of huge house boats docked here. Many have to cost over a million dollars. They are triple deck and absolutely huge!

Today we took a day trip back west. We pulled the 5th wheel to Page, AZ and Lake Powell via the northern route through Utah. Today we went back west. The AZ Strip is that portion of land north of the Colorado River. One can not get across the Colorado so this has been a very significant natural boundary for centuries. The Spanish were trying to find a way across the Colorado back in the 1700's. In the 1800's a ferry ran at Lee's Ferry west of where Page, AZ is now located and is the only place you can get across the canyon in nearly 600 miles and was the only way to the AZ strip without going way around. In the early 1920's the Navajo Bridge was built about 4 miles downstream from the ferry and the ferry ceased operation. It was replaced by another bridge in 1996 and the old one is a pedestrian bridge which we walked over the Colorado today. We then drove down to Lee's Ferry and it is absolutely amazing as you can drive down a valley and right up to the bank of the Colorado River. The road on the other side was tougher for the people using the ferry but it could be done.

We then drove on west to Jacob Lake which is about 8000 feet and it was snowing like mad and about 6 inches of snow on the ground. That is why the road south of there and to the main part of the north rim does not open to around Mothers Day and closes in October. That area is a lot like the Black Hills but not quite as mountainous and rocky.

Edith bought some very nice Navajo jewelry today on the reservation.

Now for an update on the houseboat situation on Lake Powell. The only company who can have rental houseboats in the water is Aramark who has the NPS concession contract for Lake Powell so they have a monopoly. However 9-11 and the price of gas has forced them to lower prices. The cheapest is a 36 foot standard which sleeps 6 people. the shortest rental is 3 days and 2 nights and costs $1,074.00 and you also need a %500 deposit and a $23/day liability insurance premium is highly recommended. Fuel capacity is 140 gallons and you buy all the fuel. It has twin 60 HP motors and travels 10-12 mph and takes about 14 gallons per hour. Average running time is 8-10 hours. You get it with a full tank of gas and you bring it back with a full tank of gas. There is 6.75% tax on the rental fee. From there you can move up with more money for a bigger boat and more money to rent it longer. The lowest price one I described can be rented for 7 days and 6 nights for $1,800 so each extra day gets a little cheaper. They can be rented at Wahweap, Hall's Crossing and Bullfrog Marina. I am told the northern marina's have a lot of dry flats due to the low water level. In talking to the locals they say there are plenty of places to tie up or beach for the night.

Three couples could likely do it from about $650 each by the time you pay for gas and food, etc. which would be over $200 a day so given what tours cost probably not to bad.

Next rafting the Colorado River. To do the complete Grand Canyon from Lee's Ferry down to the headwaters of Lake Mead costs about $2800.00 a person and is about a 14 day trip by oar.

The best part of the river is from Phantom Ranch on down, about a 6 day trip. Phantom Ranch you remember is at the bottom of the canyon by the north or south rim access. This trip costs about $1500.00 a person and you have to hike to the bottom of the canyon. One company says in 4 hours or you can include a reservation and a day at Phantom Ranch and it would be about $1,700 or attempt to get a outback permit which might be possible when it is hot in the summer and do-able going down hill on the Bright Angel trail. As mentioned early in the Grand Canyon, Lava Falls is he BIG ONE!

There are numerous other white water trips on numerous rivers. One could do some research and find the rapids that you feel you could handle and likely make it a one or two day affair and cut this cost down. When I get home I am going to research the more thoroughly on the Internet.