Arizona, Lake Powell, Travel, Utah

Birthday Shenanigans at Lake Powell

While it has been almost a year since our Lake Powell extravaganza, I’m finally getting a chance to recap our adventures here on the blog. Luckily I keep a travel journal with me on all of our getaways so I won’t forget about the fun memories and hilarious jokes; and now I’m able to refer back to those journal entries as I relive the experience here on the blog. I have quite a few adventures in the pipeline–Lake Powell, Paris, Kauai, Oklahoma, the Cook Islands, and Las Vegas so let’s get caught up, shall we?!

If you’ve been a reader for a while then you already know that some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around a sandstone oasis in Southern Utah: Lake Powell. Every summer, my dad, my older brother, myself, along with my uncles, cousins, and sometimes our friends, would make the drive to southern Utah in order to spend a week living our best lives.

Those trips were always full of shenanigans and hilarious mishaps. We’d spend all day adventuring — boating, wakeboarding, hiking, and cliff jumping — and just as the sun would start to set, we’d head back to camp and settle in around the campfire. This trip wasn’t for the faint of heart. It was full-throttle, loud-and-obnoxious, adrenaline-pumping, non-stop fun! And looking back, I have to hand it to the adults who brought us home in one piece and kept us from seriously injuring ourselves. 🙂 (Thanks, pops!)

Lake Powell, Utah

And just like that, life happened. Long gone were the days of playing with cousins, annual trips to Lake Powell, and care-free childhood dreams. Life was replaced with college, budding careers, and kids (I just realized that I am the lone exception on the kids part). 🙂

And after 15 years, the tides were about to change…

My dad had a milestone birthday on the horizon and he wanted nothing more than to celebrate his birthday with his family at his favorite place on Earth. So we gathered up the immediate family and planned a birthday getaway grand enough to honor the captain of our family.

There were 11 party guests in tow (pun intended) 🙂 and we wanted to stay out on the Lake, just like the good ol’ days. So we turned to Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas to reserve a houseboat for our boat-load of party guests. Ultimately we decided on the Voyager XL: a 46-foot, two bedroom, one bath houseboat, advertised to comfortably sleep 8. Two of the eleven guests were kids–I won’t mention how many of the adults are big kids at heart–so between the two bedrooms, a sofa sleeper, and the large deck on top of the houseboat, as well as my dad’s beauuuutiful Maxum there was room for everyone.

Houseboat rental, Lake Powell

After a five-hour drive south from Salt Lake City, we arrived at Bullfrog Marina and loaded our stuff onto the houseboat (a chore that was significantly easier thanks to the help of the porters stationed at the dock). We spent a few minutes completing the necessary paperwork and signing the liability waivers, and then it was time to throw off the bowline, sail away from the harbor, and depart on our epic adventure.

Lake Powell has over 1,900 miles of shoreline so potential campsites are everywhere; however, it’s important to note that out on the Lake you’re pretty much on your own. There are no manicured campsites with hookups, no pre-assigned camp spots, and no “glamp” sites–unless visitors bring their own “glamping” supplies. (No judgements here. I’ll bring the margaritas and the pool floats!) 🙂

We decided to set up camp in Halls Creek Bay, right next door to Bullfrog Bay, and although it’s “right next door,” the journey took about two hours because houseboats move much slower than your typical boat. Obviously. So we put on some tunes, poured some cocktails, and kicked back as we watched the incredible sandstone cliffs pass by.

Lake Powell

As we neared a secluded sandy beach near the end of Halls Creek Bay, dark storm clouds loomed on the horizon. And just as quick as a strike of lighting, it began to rain. And by rain, I mean a torrential desert downpour. We have this running joke in our family about the rain following my dad around the world, so it was fitting that the rain showed up the moment we arrived to camp. Luckily, the storm passed by almost as quickly as it began and we wasted no time getting out on the water.

Lake Powell
I wasn’t kidding about bringing the margaritas and pool floats.

Lake Powell

Lake Powell

Sunset at Lake Powell

The next day, in an effort to escape the intense midday sun, we went over to Lost Eden Canyon, located just south of Halls Creek Bay. As we slowly made our way through this narrow, wakeless canyon, the steep multi-hued cliffs rose high above our heads. And out of nowhere, a massive cave known simply as “The Cave” (who was the creative genius behind this name?) emerged among the sandstone. The cave is large enough to accommodate many shade-seekers, and the temperature difference was immediate. Not only was the temperature cooler in this corner of the canyon, the water was ice-cold. It was remarkable–and refreshing.

Cave in Lost Eden Canyon Lake Powell
The Cave in Lost Eden Canyon

Lake Powell

Paddleboarding at Lake Powell
Birthday Boy (Dad) on the paddleboard

We spent the majority of our days in the water as it was a welcome relief from the sweltering August heat. We took turns on the paddleboard, relaxed on the pool floats, and over-used the slide at the back of the houseboat. Because, what else are slides for? Oh, and I can’t forget about the rambunctious water fights. My brothers and I had some epic water fights and the ambushes continued throughout the trip.

And although we spent the majority of our trip in the water, we also experienced a different kind of adventure during our trip: hiking to an archaeological site in Forgotten Canyon.

Stay tuned!  

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