From Valley of the Gods it’s a short drive to Hite on the northern end of Lake Powell. The drive, along White Canyon is quite spectacular with lots of views into this long canyon and a note jotted in the Journal to check this out on the next trip through here.
Has a nice ring to it doesn’t it. “Glen Canyon National Recreation Area”. Our very own National Recreation Area, created just for us. How Nice, but the facts of this recreation area are somewhat different than that. Long before there was a Glen Canyon Dam, before there was a Lake Powell, there was Glen Canyon. Reputedly, Glen Canyon was one of the most beautiful canyons in the southwest. There were miles of side canyons to hike, mysterious slot canyons, Rainbow Bridge (hard to get to but worth the hike) and a wild Colorado River running through it. Sounds like a great recreation area to me. But, if it were to continue developing, the southwest needed water, lots of reliable water, and electricity. Glen Canyon was there and it was the perfect spot for a big damn lake. Lake Powell is named after John Wesley Powell, known as the first man to run the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Here’s a link to the Wikipedia entry on this interesting Character in American History. John Wesley Powell
Truthfully, Lake Powell is beautiful and we have enjoyed our time on the lake, but there isn’t enough water to fill it any more, so it’s a little rough around the edges. The, previously wild, Colorado River has dumped a lot of it’s constant load of silt on the horizontal surfaces of the canyon which are now, at low water, exposed as thick sticky clay flats. Due to the dam, the river now flows more slowly and constantly through the Grand Canyon, again dropping more silt and changing the character of the river in the Canyon. But we can’t change that so we make the best of it and enjoy the lake. Really though, it should be called “Lake Powell National Recreation Area”
We camped at Hite at the northern fringes of the lake, where the Colorado and Dirty Devil rivers meet and flow into the lake. Unlike Lone Rock on the southern end of the lake, which is true beach camping, Hite is a sloping “beach” made of gravel and clay. It’s dusty, and not very pretty, but still it’s on the lake and the view across the lake at the canyon wall is magnificent. The Lake is still a bit silty from the recent spring runoff and is about 25 feet below normal or “Full Pool”.
Hite is a great place for bird watching.
And, of course, lizard watching,
Before we could put our boats in the water we had to have them inspected. Lake Powell is very serious about preventing the introduction of an invasive species called Zebra Mussels, and we had been kayaking in Quachita Lake, Arkansas, a lake that has been invaded. We had cleaned and dried our boats when leaving Arkansas.
The view from our campsite, across the lake, was of an opening through the canyon wall to “North Wash”, but we decided to save that for another day. Tomorrow we will paddle the Colorado River…the hard way – upstream.
*LPF = Little Pink Flower.