overnight kayak Lake Powell?

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mfox
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overnight kayak Lake Powell?

Post by mfox » May 29 2019 5:53 pm

Bringing two adults and my 4yr old. Antelope? Lone Rock Canyon? Ice Cream? The dam to Lees Ferry? Which is best? We like solitude if at all possible.

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ssk44
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Re: overnight kayak Lake Powell?

Post by ssk44 » May 30 2019 6:41 am

I vote for Dam to Lee's Ferry. That just looks gorgeous down there. I've never personally done it but it looks amazing. Maybe someday..

[ photo ]
ISAIAH 6:2-3 / MATTHEW 11:28-30

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ssk44
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Re: overnight kayak Lake Powell?

Post by ssk44 » May 30 2019 7:07 am

In my opinion, kayaking Lake Powell which I have done extensively, is best done from a houseboat basecamp. The best kayaking is up-lake within protected side canyons. Face Canyon and beyond. Paddling the lower lake can be very intimidating depending on conditions which can change in a millisecond. It's best for experienced paddlers in long 16-17 foot touring kayaks. It can be beautiful or a complete nightmare. Paddling conditions in "The Narrows" can be downright frightening. That's just my thoughts on the matter.
ISAIAH 6:2-3 / MATTHEW 11:28-30

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azbackpackr
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Re: overnight kayak Lake Powell?

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 01 2019 5:40 am

@ssk44
@mfox
Agree with ssk44, except for the part about going below the dam.
There is a serious problem with doing a "dam-down" to Lees Ferry in Glen Canyon. The problem I see is that you want to take a small child onto a river where the child will likely die of hypothermia within a few minutes after falling into the extremely cold water. This is not a place for small children at all. It is just too cold. I can't emphasize that enough. If you capsize, your kid could die pretty quickly. Doesn't matter if the air temperature is 110. The water is 45 degrees, and that doesn't change. I have seen people get into trouble on this stretch of river, and it wasn't pretty. There are a couple of companies now which provide the "backhaul" services. One is Wilderness, the other is based at Vermilion Cliffs Lodge. But that's if you leave the kid at home.

I would say you could go car camp at Lone Rock, if you have a 4wd. It is VERY crowded, but there are lots of kids playing in the water there, and you can kayak nearby.

But long multi-day kayak trips on Lake Powell are exactly as Ssk44 describes: You need an actual sea kayak, 14-19 feet long, with a rudder or skeg, and a lot of paddling skill and knowledge. It can get very rough, very quickly, and there is often nowhere to land, with vertical cliffs going into the water. You didn't mention what type of kayak you have.

I would instead recommend lower Lake Havasu or Lake Mohave. Same problems with wind, but lots more places to land, lots of beaches to camp on, and once you are on a beach, it's yours, and other people will go somewhere else. Lake Havasu has over 100 developed boat-in campsites along its Arizona shore. All are south of the city, all the way to the dam. You can launch in the city at Rotary Park, paddle south, and very soon you will start seeing campsites with picnic tables. (You are supposed to bring cash, put in the "iron ranger.") Lake Mohave has undeveloped camping which is legal on almost 200 beaches, and many, many places to land if it gets too windy. For that trip you can launch at either Katherine Landing or Princess Cove.

Lake Mead has similar problems as Lake Powell. Lots of cliffs, fewer places to land in an emergency.

All the lakes have many speedboats, lots of choppy water, lots of wind. But at least on Mohave and Havasu you can find a place to land. The lake waters are warm enough to swim in all summer long, and into the fall. Plus, they don't have that ugly bathtub ring like Lake Powell has. When it's very busy with speedboats, I just follow the shoreline. This has proven to be a very safe way to go in Lake Mohave and Lake Havasu.

A safer river-running option would be Black Canyon, below Hoover Dam. You need an outfitter to launch you, (Desert Adventures, or several others) or paddle upstream from Willow Beach. The water below Hoover Dam is chilly, but not nearly as cold as Glen Canyon. Although it is very popular, there are a few beaches where people don't usually camp, such as Crane's Nest Wash. The reason is that most people go for the hot springs. If you camp on a beach with no hot springs near it, you will have the beach to yourself.

Maps of all the lakes and the Lower Colorado River are available from FishnMap company. Other info: Lake Havasu camping, call BLM Lake Havasu office. Lake Mohave is administered by the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, so you can call them for info.
Last edited by azbackpackr on Jun 01 2019 7:54 am, edited 3 times in total.
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mfox
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Re: overnight kayak Lake Powell?

Post by mfox » Jun 04 2019 11:12 am

@azbackpackr
Well we did dam to Lees Ferry and it was awesome. The water was completely smooth even though flows were described as moderate. Even when a few boats did fly by there was plenty of room for everyone and the wakes were very small. I'm fairly risk averse and the risk of capsizing seemed lower than the chance of a car accident on the drive up. My son said it was the best time of his whole life. Glad we went :y:

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rcorfman
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Re: overnight kayak Lake Powell?

Post by rcorfman » Jun 04 2019 4:44 pm

@mfox
I'd love to see a trip report :)
Go find a LonelyCache

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ddgrunning
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Re: overnight kayak Lake Powell?

Post by ddgrunning » Jun 04 2019 4:46 pm

@mfox
Where did you end up overnighting? Also, any side-trips on the way down? Which backhaul service did you use? I've been eyeing this one for awhile.

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hikeaz
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Re: overnight kayak Lake Powell?

Post by hikeaz » Jun 04 2019 8:47 pm

I have camped at Ferry Swale a few times and used Colorado River Discovery for about $50 for 2 with canoe and gear and (on the side) we had, in the past had a boatman pick up items in Page overnight & deliver the next day- YRMV..
HOWEVER... WRA* has more recently cornered the market on this stretch (* an Aramark company notorious for high rates) for backhaul.

Colorado River Primitive Camping, Between Glen Canyon Dam and Lees Ferry
Map > https://www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/ ... amp3_3.jpg
Do not boat below the cable downstream from the Lees Ferry launch ramp. There are dangerous rapids below the cable. Downstream waters are restricted. A permit is required from Grand Canyon National Park to float this section of the river.

Camping is limited to 14 days. Camping is permitted in designated areas only. There are five designated areas, marked with signs, on a first-come, first-served basis. Upriver campsites are provided with toilets and fire pits. All campsites are located well above the river and require a short walk from your boat. This is to prevent camps from being damaged by high water releases.
Don't miss these > [ Horseshoe Bend Petroglyphs ]

Fires are permitted only in the fireplaces provided or in portable fire pans. No ground fires are allowed. If portable fire pans are used, all burned charcoal must be carried out. Collection of wood is prohibited.

Carry out all litter and garbage. There is no regular garbage collection upriver. Plastic litter bags are available free of charge at the ranger station. Dumpsters are available at the launch ramps for garbage disposal.

Federal law prohibits the disturbance, defacement, or removal of historic or archeological sites. Do not deface rocks and cliffs. Do not disturb plants or animals, and do not feed wildlife.

There are no fees or permits required to camp upriver. Entrance fees and vessel use fees apply.
Last edited by hikeaz on Jun 04 2019 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
kurt

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azbackpackr
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Re: overnight kayak Lake Powell?

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 06 2019 5:13 am

@mfox
Glad you had fun! It's a gorgeous stretch! Who did you use for backhaul? Wilderness, or Vermilion Cliffs Lodge? Post your trip report here: [ Glen Canyon Dam to Lee's Ferry ]

@hikeaz
Colorado River Discovery is out of business, and it's a good thing. They lost their contract to do business in Glen Canyon. I used to guide for them. I didn't like that company for various reasons. (The hazing of new guides was not stopped by management, lying by guides to get a friend of mine fired, the owner notoriously "hated" the guides who worked for him, unbelievably low pay, no company policy to encourage the tourons to tip the guides, etc.)

Vermilion Cliffs Lodge has been bought by the guy who owns Moenkopi Riverworks, a friend of mine (and my landlord). He has a backhaul service as well, runs it out of Vermilion Cliffs Lodge, but I am not sure what he calls it. He is so busy I almost never see him.

By the way, if using backhaul service, if you like the service you received, it's customary to tip the boat captain. When I was doing it, we basically worked for tips, but so many people don't realize that. $60 a day in pay--you can't live on that. Yes, and you can rail and gnash your teeth against this American custom, and talk about how it's different in Europe and other parts of the world. But that is how it is here. River guides and river bus shuttle drivers and tour drivers accept tips.
Last edited by azbackpackr on Jun 06 2019 5:20 am, edited 3 times in total.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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hikeaz
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Re: overnight kayak Lake Powell?

Post by hikeaz » Jun 29 2019 4:41 pm

June 4 - 2019

LEES FERRY, Ariz. — A longtime fly fishing outfitter on the Colorado River is now offering a new way to explore the river.
Kayak Horseshoe Bend is a service of Lees Ferry Anglers, a licensed guide service owned and operated on the Colorado River by Terry and Wendy Gunn.
The Gunn’s have operated the fly fishing business along the Colorado River since 1983. They have owned Lees Ferry Anglers since 1989 and in 2001, Gunn and his wife bought Cliff Dwellers Lodge, relocating most of their services to the lodge. Now, Gunn said they are excited to offer shuttle services and kayak rentals on the Colorado River.
The shuttle service will carry kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle boards up the Colorado River, 16 miles from the Lees Ferry boat landing to Glen Canyon Dam. The company rents inflatable single and tandem kayaks and hard shell kayaks. They can take up to six passengers with gear and rentals up-river from Lees Ferry to Glen Canyon Dam or any spot in-between for drop-off. Small boaters can then paddle, row or drift downstream.
There is a $75 per person fee for the shuttle boat service including up to 100 pounds of personal watercraft, luggage and gear with a two person minimum. Rental for an 11-foot single passenger kayak is $25 per day including paddle and required life vest.
More information or to make reservations is available at www.kayakhorseshoebend.com or at (800) 962-9755.
kurt

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azbackpackr
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Re: overnight kayak Lake Powell?

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 29 2019 6:05 pm

Good info!
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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