SUP ADVENTURE LAKE POWELL ARIZONA
On a warm summer day in Arizona is where our adventure began. As we crested the hill coming to the breath taking views of Lake Powell. 5 hours due north of Phoenix, we had finally arrived. Rick Weigele, mere moments away from old age, and Ken Russell set off to paddle some of the most beautiful canyons Lake Powell had to offer. The gear, a 10’8” Angulo Soft Top and an 11’ 11” Gu’d Angulo hard board. We scoped out the area, after stopping at several stores looking for just the right power bars for the old man. We ended up at Wahweap campground overlooking the west end of the gigantic lake.
After a good night sleep under the stars in 70 degree weather, we woke at sun up and headed to Antelope Point Marina, gates don’t open until 0700. We launched from the private marina ramp shortly before 0800 and headed up Antelope Channel, east towards Navaho Canyon. A 3-4 mile paddle in some serious boat chop on a Sunday morning. The channel was full of returning houseboats, power boats and jet skis. We broke the canyon about 2 hours in. We were all ready pretty tired. Our original goal of making it the full twelve miles in and 12 back, was beginning to look overly optimistic.
The canyons were amazing. The water was such a deep green color, it was almost hypnotizing. Outside temp was in the 90’s, expected to peak over 100. We began our trek into the canyon after a quick break and some cliff jumping. Every bend in the canyon would bring the walls in closer and closer. The boat traffic made for some interesting paddling. They would fly through the narrowing canyon at 15-20 knots sending wake waves at the shear canyon walls only to bounce back creating a very confused chop. We dropped to our knees on occasion to keep from an unintended swim. I may have expressed my displeasure to a few rude boaters who came mighty close to us at a high rate of speed but the majority of the motor heads were polite and slowed for us.
About 6 miles in, the old man was heading to a break in the cliffs for some well deserved rest on shore when a school of striped bass started chasing the boiling bait fish on the surface. I, of course, switched immediately into fisherman Ken. Paddling closer to the boil, I cast my lucky silver spoon right into the middle of the fray and get hit instantaneously!
About a pound and a half striper for my efforts. I chased the boil for about a half hour catching one more about the same size. I went to check on Rick to make sure he was still breathing, and we continued on our way. About 7 miles in, we ran across our friendly AZ Game and Fish Officer in a cool boat. He was disappointed that we did not have PFD’s. We attempted to argue the fact that our boards were our PFD’s but he wasn’t buying it. He was really cool about it and said if he saw us tomorrow on the water without one, he’d be writing some tickets. He went on into the canyon and we opted to start the long trek back to the marina in the 100 degree afternoon sun. Not even a mile into our return, our friendly officer stopped by again and offered us a lift. We enthusiastically accepted. Exhausted, we made it back to Antelope Point about 3pm, went right into Page for a big steak and cold beer, then directly to Walmart for some PFD shopping as we had a trip to Antelope Canyon planned the next day and we didn’t want to tempt the nice officer.
Lake Powell is a must do trip for all of the SUP Junkies out there. Bring LOTS of drinking water or purification pills, PFD’s, a good attitude to deal with the government officials at the park and the boaters. A great adventure with a great friend!