Brent - Great website--it's like watching your family grow up on to different houseboats! I actually think I came across your website before when I was trolling for Lake Powell info a couple of years ago... very cool, thanks for sharing those memories and photos...
I would very much like to participate in your project. I have information about, beaches, hikes etc. spanning from 1992 to 2020, just completed my 66 stay at Lake Powell. I would like to mail/send you a sample of what I can provide. Where do I send it to, address, e-mail? My e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.orgI might have mentioned in passing on some other thread that I’ve been working on a pretty ambitious Lake Powell project having to do with beaches and hiking. Well, I just want to bring anyone who is interested up to speed, and just what it is I'm up to.
In a nutshell, what I’m doing is creating a comprehensive guide that describes all the best houseboat camping sites on the lake—and here’s the hard part—at multiple lake levels. The other part of the project is to describe which canyons have the best (or any) hiking potential, but more importantly, how accessible are the ends of the canyons at different lake levels, and to what kind of boats.
There are a lot of great guides out there, particularly Michael Kelsey’s book. That is probably the premier source of hiking information for the lake. I’m not trying to do the same thing. What Kelsey’s book does not really do is describe how difficult boating access might be to reach these hikes, and at what lake levels such hikes might be best. For example, Fiftymile Canyon has a very narrow window through which it’s possible to enjoy a great hike past the end of the lake. If the water is too low (say, below 3605), all boats will be blocked by a giant sandbar about 0.8 miles from the Escalante. But if it’s too high (say, 3670 or more), then even small boats may get pinched out between canyon walls before reaching the end. But in the sweet spot between 3610-3630, you’ve got access to one of the coolest grotto semi-slot canyons on the lake.
That’s the kind of information I’m trying to compile.
Similarly, some epic campsites become considerably less epic at lower (or higher) lake levels. For example, a great cave-grotto houseboat campsite in Davis Gulch goes high and dry below 3603; above 3635, that same site disappears altogether underwater. Some great beach sites in Llewelyn Gulch are similarly challenged at lower levels. But in some cases, low water reveals some real gems. When finished, I’ll include maps and photos to illustrate key findings. I’ll also describe point-to-point boating distances between the different canyons (accounting for shortcuts at higher water levels) and other key locations on the lake, plus the average time it takes to travel. This would help calculate things like typical gas consumption. And of course, I’d want to share my own past observations and notes taken at the time I visited any of these places, which relate to all sorts of other issues about being on the lake, including food, bugs, weather, anchoring issues, you name it.
I’ve been working on this project for a couple of years already. It’s a daunting task. My main sources are my own extensive notes, journals and photos from the past 30 years, augmented by GoogleEarth and a few other online sources. So far, I’ve put together a very rough and incomplete version that is already over 300 pages. I say incomplete, because there are several parts of the lake I just haven’t spent that much time in, and so my firsthand knowledge isn’t that great. These would include Last Chance, Navajo Canyon, Rock Creek, and much of the San Juan arm.
So what I’m looking for, if anyone wants to help, are descriptions of past campsites, including specific locations and dates (so I can correlate to a lake level), plus any photos you’d be willing to share—especially about places in the San Juan, Last Chance, or Rock Creek—but really anywhere. Similarly, any experiences hiking, with a specific eye to the difficulty of boating access to the ends of canyons or small coves that might provide access. And finally, any recent experiences in the everchanging mudflats/log soup at the northern end of the lake, and how that has affected canyon access.
When I’m finished, I’ll release it somehow, but at this point I’m still undecided about the best way to get the information out. As a book? Online? Both? In small pieces? As one large volume?
All I know is this: for anyone willing to provide any helpful information or photos, I’ll give full credit, and I’d be happy to share what I come up with once it’s finished. Not sure exactly how soon that will be, but I won’t forget when the time comes. You all are spectacularly knowledgeable, a great resource from whom I’ve already learned a ton in the few years I’ve been following this site. Thank you!!
If you’re reluctant to share special sites or secret places, I totally get that. Don’t send me anything. I’m not sure I want to share mine either, but on the whole, I think this could be a unique resource if presented the right way. But if you do want to share, you can either post to this thread, or if you want it to be more confidential, just send me a private message.
Thanks, that's awesome! Sounds like you're a treasure trove of great info, and your help is very much appreciated... Feel free to contact me at the email address that Peto pulled up...I would very much like to participate in your project. I have information about, beaches, hikes etc. spanning from 1992 to 2020, just completed my 66 stay at Lake Powell. I would like to mail/send you a sample of what I can provide. Where do I send it to, address, e-mail? My e-mail address is: email@example.com
Great idea and good luck. Looks like you’ve forgotten “Forgotten” Canyon between Knowles and Good Hope Bay where there is an easy to moderate hike to the Defiance House Anasazi ruins.Hey all--
Thanks to all of you so far who have sent me messages offering some very interesting information or photos that would be useful in this project. As it is, the project is already coming along pretty well--the main question is when to stop! I've got a lot of detail in there so far--maybe too much. But ideally, I'd have detailed descriptions of each canyon, the navigability, hiking potential, and beach potential at different lake levels, plus photos and aerials for everything. And so far, I've got almost the entire lake covered pretty well. It's nearly 500 pages so far (!!), with literally hundreds of photos illustrating beach sites, landing sites for further exploring on foot, and highlights of hikes up the canyons.
Right now, I'm still looking to fill in a few blanks, mostly photos of certain canyons that I just don't have that much coverage of for one reason or another. If anyone wants to help out, send me a private message with any photos you might be willing to share (and get credit for). That would be awesome. If not, no sweat--totally get it.
In general, I have pretty good coverage on the canyons from West Canyon up to Halls Crossing, including all of the Escalante, plus a lot of the others too, just not quite to the same extent. Here's the list of canyons I'm still a little thin on (from south to north), and could use help with:
Warm Creek Bay
Last Chance Bay
Rock Creek Bay
Balanced Rock Canyon
Hidden Passage Canyon
All canyons in the San Juan
Lost Eden Canyon
Halls Creek Bay
Crystal Springs Canyon
Good Hope Bay
Blue Notch Canyon
I appreciate everyone's help in advance, and thanks again for the help some of you have already provided! This should turn out pretty good...
I appreciate the reminder of course, but I won't forget Forgotten Canyon, I promise. That was just a list of canyons I could use more photos of, in case you've got them... I think I've got Forgotten covered...Great idea and good luck. Looks like you’ve forgotten “Forgotten” Canyon between Knowles and Good Hope Bay where there is an easy to moderate hike to the Defiance House Anasazi ruins.
Pre-order? Well, let's not get ahead of myself here. Always better to underpromise and overdeliver, especially for pizza or anything else edible. But I really appreciate the enthusiasm, which is a great motivator to finish! Right now, I'd say I'm close to 80% there... I'll be spending some time on this between now and the end of the year, between actual work, since I'm nowhere close to retired... I might need to make a trip or two to the lake to cover the bald spots in the narrative, especially with regard to the San Juan...Oh boy. A "sea shanty".
JFR, I think half the fun of this guide will be your writing ability. A good script is the foundation for a good movie. That's the first thing an actor reads when deciding whether or not to take the part. Even a great actor cannot make a blockbuster if the script is no good.
In light of today's trend towards long book titles (almost always including a sub-title) your modest header as the "incomplete" guide might also add a more superlative clause "An Armchair Traveler's Guide to the Most Scenic Place on Earth". Because for many of us, this is exactly what it will be. A sugar high for sure.
When can we pre-order?