September 30 - October 7, 2007: Lake Powell, Utah
One of many trip reports by Alan Silverstein.
Last update: February 29, 2008
Following is an "incomplete" trip report. This is text I posted to
on October 11, 2007, in four parts, and edited later.
Our recent houseboat trip out of Bullfrog Marina:
We got the boat from the previous owner mid-Sunday in nice conditions
(wind had calmed down) and made waves down the lake as far as the mouth
of Slick Rock Canyon by sunset, which comes annoyingly early this
time of year, around 7 pm.
Gorgeous light and clouds all week long, due to low sun angle and rain
often clearing the skies. Also with less boat traffic, mooring right on
the main channel was more appealing...
Monday, we stopped into "Eureka Canyon" for a few hours. (Next
downstream of the Escalante, opposite side.) It clouded up again
and drizzled all afternoon, but the entire crew of six walked into the
"cathedral". Not as impressive in gloomy weather. Excellent cave
though along the way back, worth a detour.
Clearing, with wreathing clouds over Navajo Mountain, two of us
went up the "exit" again just upstream of the canyon mouth for a
look-see. We didn't have time to explore seriously for how to get to
the flats above.
Continued down with the houseboat, ran out of daylight by the mouth of
Lewellyn Gulch. Sweet spot for anchoring!
It rained hard a lot of Monday night. The metal awning roof over the
houseboat roof leaks a little, sigh. :-)
Tuesday morning, four of us ski-boated down to Forbidding Canyon.
Nice stops in the previously underwater cave just downstream of the
San Juan mouth (opposite side), looking through the magic crack
behind the huge slab by Hidden Passage Canyon, and watching the
crescent moon through the Eye Arch.
Difficult, mucky dropoff at the end of the water in Forbidding. The
other two went over to Bridge Canyon for the typical hike to
Rainbow Bridge, while I and another went 1+ hours up Forbidding. Lovely
place, reminded me of Willow, but less overgrown. Still had to walk
in/through water a lot. More boulders, more small waterfalls due to
Ran out of time at a narrow spot with a pool that approached waist-deep,
so we went back. Probably just below the full-pool mark.
Looking for deeper spot to get into the ski boat, dunked my old digital
camera (on my belt) a second time. Stupid. But a day later it was
dried out and working better than before, I think the lens got cleaner
Back to the houseboat with a detour to the double bridges at the Lehi
Canyon mouth off Anasazi Canyon. Water running in the back
at the dryfall! Amazing. Also the usual waterfall further up Anasazi a
Took the houseboat up to the east end of Cha Bay. Unlike summer,
looking for sun, not shade; north shore too rough and dangerous looking,
but observed late sunlight hitting the cape on the south shore just west
of Trail Canyon. Nice place to spend a couple of nights.
Wednesday, perfectly positioned, Bob and I walked off the houseboat for
an 8.5-hour one-way "Cha Bay South Shore Grand Tour", my third
time, but this time we went a lot further south. Up around the new
fall, up the hill, catch the old Navajo livestock trail, up onto the
rim, west to the 4714' high point overlooking Cha Bay.
Absolutely amazing, incredible day. Clear, crisp, calm, and quiet; a
God-like perspective on the panorama. Other crew hiked up the north
cliff from Wilson Creek, and one guy stayed on the houseboat.
Played with radios and signal mirrors. Could talk (yell) back and forth
to the houseboat (0.7 miles GPS away), and at least hear yells from the
other hikers 1.5 miles or so distant. High-res digital telephoto shows
them sitting there! Amazing perspective.
We continued south and up a 5058' high point north of Navajo
Begay (the "little" mountain)... 2.84 miles south by GPS. Great
view, very peaceful. Then west over to the south end of the left fork
of Cha Canyon, north nearly a mile, down to catch the other
livestock trail, and down the canyon floor past the petroglyphs. At the
lake before 6 pm, ski boat pickup.
Thursday, most of us ski-boated to the end of the San Juan, then
hung out a few hours at Neskahi Wash until out of time and good
weather. Just spectacular scenery, especially this time of year with
yellow flowers and fall scenery and puffy clouds. The fishing half of
the crew were happy too.
Took the houseboat back out and upstream to the cove below "Middle
Rib Canyon", the second one upstream from Ribbon Canyon on
the same side. Active waterfall running here from the thunderstorms
earlier! We moored in sight and sound of it, and explored above it
before dark. It ran into the night before stopping.
Friday, again perfectly positioned, while some folks did the
"Escalante grand tour" by ski boat, Bob and I walked off, up the
rib in "Middle Rib Canyon", and around to the Bell Tower
Window overlooking "Twin Edens Canyon" (next downstream); my
Another spectacularly beautiful fall day. Lenticular cloud cap over
Navajo Mountain, interesting photos. Leisurely 2:05 one way from
the houseboat with lots of photo stops. Sat atop the right pillar of
the Window -- and then the wind really picked up! We could barely
We meandered back northeast in and out of powerful winds. Went up a
high point where you could lean into it. Saw water being blown out of
tinajas (small pools) across the slickrock. Went north to overlook
"Walking Rock Canyon" (third upstream of Ribbon), then a fast 10
minutes back to the exit point, and down into "Middle Rib" again. Total
only about 6 hours round trip.
Moved the houseboat upstream toward the marina as far as Slick Rock
Canyon. Went into the canyon seeking a lee, but this was
nearly disastrous... Demonic, tornadic winds, sporadically losing
control of the boat with two little boats in tow. Shoved it hard onto
shore to get control and detach the little boats. Finally moored in
relative calm on river-left around the corner from the mouth. Windy,
Saturday (Oct 6), tired of hiking, I finally took out my kayak for 2.5
hours, up to the end of the water, walked 10 minutes further so I could
see where we moored in 1989, then out across the main channel, up the
peninsula rocks, and back.
Also I cleaned up a pigsty campsite near the houseboat; half a trash bag
full of burned cans and bottles, plus a big hex tent in decent condition
in a shredded stuff bag, and a kid's plastic shovel.
To Halls Marina by 4:45 (fuel dock closed at 5), for gas,
propane, water, sewage; interesting maneuvering in continuing strong
winds, but no incidents.
Got to the Bullfrog buoy for the night just before too dark.
Nice but windy night there.
Sunday, all depart by ski boat for the long drive back to Colorado...
Later I added:
We had a nocturnal visitor, a ringtail cat, the first night of our
The game started in the middle of the night when someone else sleeping
on the roof informed me he heard noises and felt something run over his
legs. I thought: That would have to be a ringtail cat, probably not a
kangaroo rat, but I've never seen the former on the boat, only the
latter once, years ago. Anyway, I tried to go back to sleep.
A minute later he told me that he'd gone downstairs and seen a bushy
tail sticking out from under a hallway bunk... I had to drag myself out
of the sleeping bag at that point.
We think the cat (which is really more like a skunk) must have gone down
the "mousewalk" (narrow catwalk alongside the boat) and up the spiral
stairs to the roof, since the back door was closed, then returned the
same way. Not sure how it got into the cabin, but the helm window was
open. So we left everything closed except the front door open a few
inches, and never saw it again that morning or after.
Fortunately it did no visible damage. To my surprise it didn't touch
various food that was sitting out, not even a broken potato chip on the
floor, although it did nibble on a plum a little, and possible even
moved it. Also it took a greasy paper towel out of the trash, over to
near the couch.
Later I added:
We had gorgeous dark skies each evening, with the waning moon rising
later and later toward morning. Spectacular conjunction with Venus
early Sunday morning at the buoy. Milky Way right overhead each night.
We only got to see one Iridium flare, but despite the sometimes cloudy
conditions, we saw the International Space Station pass by every night
Tuesday through Saturday!