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Thread: Lake Powell Kayak Solo: Wahweap to Bullfrog

  1. #1

    Lake Powell Kayak Solo: Wahweap to Bullfrog

    First day back home after 12 days alone on the lake. Love the fatigue and day of laziness that follows one of these trips. Been a long time since I have done a solo of any length and this trip is the longest time so far. A quick TR and maybe some photos later if I can find the cords to my camera.

    Wahweap to Dangling Rope
    Managed to launch despite the epic wind and small-boating warning from NOAA. The area was shockingly calm considering they were calling for 50 mph gusts. The lake around the area was busy but never a concern as a kayaker. Saw several boats a day during these first few days, mostly NPS, Aramark crew and Rainbow Bridge tour boats. A few fisherman out and about but not many. Had great camps by Antelope Island, Face Canyon and a side canyon at the mouth of Dangling Rope. Not hard to find a spot to call home with on a solo trip. Unless you wanted out of the wind on the main channel. Only really explored Labryinth canyon as I wanted to make miles and get out of the big bays.

    Dangling Rope to San Juan Arm
    The wind really picked up in this section and stayed a prominent experience until the last day. Winds from 10-20 mph almost every day and gusts to at least 40 many days. Sailed with my "WindPaddle" most of this stretch. Paddled when the chop and wind got too aggressive. I must have been cruising a good 10 mph at times with the sail up. Was a novice with waves in a sea kayak until this section. The learning curve is sharp in 20-30 mph winds and chop in the 2-4 foot range. Learned to stay away from outside bends and deep walls real fast. Surfing a 4 foot wave is exhilarating.
    Narrow side canyons weren't that enjoyable at this level. Many had thick mud for at least 200 yards. Added to this fact is the lack of mooring for a sea kayak. Many of the slots experienced tidal bores of 2-3 feet driven by the heavy winds. Nonetheless, I got to explore Balanced Rock and "Not Hidden Passage" a ways from the boat.
    The main channel was quiet in this stretch. Only saw one boat in 4 days and one other solo kayaker (out on a 31 day trip). Camped and hide from the biggest storm on the Equinox while in Oak Bay. Woke up to snow on 50 Point and Navajo Mountain. Got pelted for a few hours but it was mostly light rain. Hadn't been in a tent for 40+ mph winds since Hurricane Floyd on the AT; manageable but not something I would call fun. Must have had 5 pounds of sand blown into my tent.
    Camped in Reflection canyon for a night and explored a ways upcanyon. Great ruins and moki trails for the curious. First foot prints of the season. Got duped by good weather to camp at the Junction of the San Juan Arm for a night. Found many arches and likely pit houses in shallow alcoves.

    San Juan to Bull Frog
    Hiked up the HITR trail for the first time. Great route and amazing views from the top, especially with all the fresh snow. More road traffic gets out there than I would have imagined, at least 5 cars a day from the register. Also some great explorations around the Escalante Arm. Saw first boat in several days.
    Epic winds from Escalante Arm to Slickrock Canyon. Had some great stretches of sailing with 3-5 foot surf. Ran into a large group of kayakers who had been exploring for a week. Felt vindicated about wearing a dry suit during the fringe season when one of them took an unplanned swim in the big waves.
    Bummed that they fenced out Widow's Ledge ruin on Slickrock. Had been looking forward to exploring that drainage the entire trip. But it seems necessary considering the poor condition of so many ruins on the lake.
    Explored Lost Eden a little from the bottom for the first time. Not far as it had a trickle developing from the rain storm on Saturday. Look forward to finally descending it some day in the future. Spent one last night in an Entrada cave in BullFrog Bay as the storm cleared and exposed lots of new snow on the Henries.

    All said I paddled about 130 miles (low for 12 days) and finished up my solo of the entire lake now. The main channel is a great place to be as a kayaker in March. I would normally be more interested in side channels but they stunk an had so much mud. Great time of year to explore the benchlands and small unnammed canyons the proliferate the lake.

    Highly recommend sea kayakers on the forum to make or buy a sail. Nothing like cruising that fast in a kayak in moderate sized waves.


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  3. #2
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
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    May 2007
    We're all here, because we ain't all there.
    Sounds like a great adventure, Phillip. Thanks for sharing. I would really like to see your pictures.

  4. #3
    wow. very cool. now its time for a packraft/canyon/backpack loop around the lake...

  5. #4
    There are definitely some appetizing multi-sport loops on the lake. The place is rich with opportunities, especially off-season without motor traffic around. Wondered the entire trip what a packraft with a sail would be like....think you might have to lean way back for it work.

  6. #5
    Bogley BigShot
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Just a few miles from Zion National Park

  7. #6
    Zions the "s" is silent trackrunner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    indoors wanting to be outdoors

  8. #7
    Wow. Coolest trip report without pics that I can remember. Thank you for sharing.

    But pics would still be AWESOME!

  9. #8
    can't wait to see some pictures ! One day I would love to kayak on Lake Powell :

  10. #9
    Great report/story. Need some photos to make it perfect!. God, I need to get out more fter reading that.

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