2010: Lake Powell

Driving from Zion


We'd had a splendid time hiking and gawking at the cliffs of Zion, but after twelve days and multiple challenging hikes, we were pretty exhausted. It was time to move on to a different place with different activities.

Under our original schedule, we would have moved already; but we decided it was safer to hunker down in place for the four-day Memorial Day weekend. Being packed into an overfull RV park over the holiday was not our favorite part of the trip, and we were happy to pull out early on Monday. As Mike said, it was more crowded than a day at the fairgrounds.

We were more than ready to move on, but I was a little worried about our babies. They had finally settled down to our new location and I knew they wouldn't react kindly to having their house moved again.

Our route out to Lake Powell would necessitate towing the trailer through the Zion tunnel once again. No problem, we're old hands at this now. And as it turns out, we were leaving just in time; a week later, highway reconstruction would begin and the tunnel would be closed for most of each day.

Navigating the tunnel with the trailer behind us was a trip. This time Mike had to follow the rules and straddle the center line carefully; the tunnel sides are over a foot too short to accommodate the trailer height.

I felt a small pang as we rolled out of Zion, and so I snapped a picture of the "leaving" sign; we'd had a wonderful time there. As I admired the scenery on the road, I was surprised to see the second small tunnel we would pass through; I had forgotten it from our earlier trip to the east of Zion.

Because riding in the bouncy trailer seemed to give Peanut motion sickness, we decided to try putting the kitties in the cab of the truck for this move. Peanut immediately crawled under my seat to hide, but Ginny showed her distress by crawling all over the seat backs and the console and me, crying all the while. Eventually she settled down a bit, but she wasn't a happy passenger. I was afraid this would happen whenever we had to move, but there was nothing to do but ride it out.

The landscape changed quickly as we left Zion behind. There were rolling hills, stone monoliths, colorful cliffs, and meadows of wildflowers beside the road. The drive passed uneventfully, except for the fact that this route seemed to have no place for an RV to pull off the road when we needed a leg stretch or a potty stop.

And then, as we came over a hill and down a grade, there it was -- the first bit of blue in the distance that was the edge of Lake Powell. It's really quite a breathtaking sight; we watched it grow from a small distant patch into this sprawling, seemingly endless body of water, incongruous and improbable in the desolate landscape.

As we got closer, I was dismayed to see a yellowish smog layer floating above the horizon past the lake, and then I saw the source -- a triple smokestack belching into the sky. I placed a bet with Mike that it was burning coal, just based on the color of the smoke; he lost the bet. We would later learn that this is the Navajo Generating Station, sending electric power to several surrounding states. The coal feeding it comes from further south in Arizona, a fact surprising to us.

Another less disturbing but somewhat jarring sight was the truck that led us into the campground area, loaded with a tottering houseboat. Probably a common sight here, but not something I've seen every day.

We checked into the Wahweap RV Park, a campground inside the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. It sits on a hill overlooking the lake. Mike likes to negotiate for a good site, and this time it paid off. The lady at the desk recommended a particular site, based on the fact that people often specifically request it. And I can understand why. Shade is hard to come by in this extremely dry and hot climate, and our double-wide concrete pad boasted not one but two decent-sized trees, adeptly placed to provide some shade from both morning and afternoon sun. Way to go, Mikey!

Our two-tree campsite. View of the lake from camp. We're the white spot near the middle! Jack Rabbit ambled by every morning.

We got the trailer set up, tried vainly to soothe the kitties, and took a short walk around the camp. It was good to have a change of scenery, and I was looking forward to our next adventures.