Home » 2018 Lake Powell Boat Camping

Page, AZ

Sunday, July 1, 2018 - 9:00pm by Lolo
879 miles and 17 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Towing the boatTowing the boatRather than bore anyone reading this blog (and myself writing it) about the pickup of the boat in Lake Mead and trailering it to Lake Powell, which took us 2 days, I am going to start my narrative with our arrival in Page, Arizona, on the shores of beautiful Lake Powell.

Rather than launching the boat in late afternoon on a Sunday (a very busy time for a boat launch) and searching for a canyon to camp in for the night, we had decided ahead of time to stay in a hotel in Page and launch early Monday morning. I somewhat randomly chose the Page Boy motel, a bit of a disappointment but since we are campers, we coped.

Before going to the hotel, we dropped the boat and trailer off at the Wahweap Resort and Marina for the night. Surprisingly the resort lets people do that for free.

Freed from the boat and before checking into our hotel, we decided to scout out the Horseshoe Bend Overlook, one of the area’s most popular and photographed sites. It was early afternoon, not the best time to photograph it, so we figured we would check it out now and then come back at sunset and then again for sunrise tomorrow morning when the lighting would be more dramatic.

The parking lot was a zoo, even though this was the worst time of the day to see it - extremely hot and bad lighting. Well, here we were too joining the mass of humanity along the ¾-mile trail over a sandy ridge to the edge of a cliff overlooking a sharp, dramatic bend in the Colorado River. There were no guardrails and the drop to the river was 1,000 feet, making it a bit intimidating to get close enough to view the entire river rounding the rocky peninsula.

Herb and his boatHerb and his boatIf it was this crowded now, what would tonight be like?

We checked into our motel, relaxed a bit, had a pizza at nearby Strombolli’s, and then headed back to the Horseshoe Bend Overlook.

We never did get to the Overlook that evening, for reasons I still have trouble reliving. Let me first give away the ending and say that nothing bad happened - just a very, very bad false alarm.

As we were jockeying for a parking space, I noticed a had a missed call from a Texas phone number - just an annoying sales call I thought. Then my phone rang again - same number. This time I picked it up. The man on the other end identified himself as being part of the International Emergency Response Center, and that they had received an SOS call from my son’s Garmin Inreach Explorer, a satellite communication device which he owns because he is often climbing, mountaineering, skiing, etc. in rather remote places. He said it was strange that they did not receive their GPS coordinates with the SOS, which might mean the device was deep inside a backpack, which might indicate a false alarm. We told him that all we knew is that he was rock climbing somewhere in the Eastern Sierra.

I’m not going to go into the details of how we spent the next three hours before learning that they were fine. Suffice it to say, it was the longest three hours of my life. Jacob (our contact at the IERC), however, was great, and very comforting. He called us about 20 minutes later to let us know that they had received their coordinates. They were located along the ridge of Mt. Conness, a remote mountain outside the eastern boundary of Yosemite. A ground search crew was being dispatched to the area, as it was too dark to send out a helicopter.

Lolo overlooking Horseshoe BendLolo overlooking Horseshoe BendWhile we were on the phone with him, he told us that they had moved 120 feet, and that this movement was a good sign. Over the next couple of hours, Jacob called us periodically to give us their coordinates, which allowed us to see that they were moving at a good pace down the ridge of Mt. Conness.

Herb was extremely comforting and tried to convince me that the most likely explanation was a false alarm - a google search confirmed that the particular device he owned had been responsible for several false SOS’s in the past. Still, we just had to hear his voice.

Finally, at 10:00, we received word that they had met up with the rescuers (over a dozen of them) and they were fine. My son was quite surprised to be greeted by name by a search and rescue crew, as they had no idea that they had sent out an SOS. The rescue team asked to see his satellite communicator, and sure enough, the Power was Off. No signal should have been sent. I’m sure he was relieved that they knew it was not his fault.

One of the responders let him use his satellite phone to call us - there is absolutely no cell phone coverage in that area so it was the only way he could talk to us. I can’t tell you how good it was to hear his voice.

We were emotionally and physically drained. No early wake-up for sunrise at Horseshoe Bend for us. I think we really needed to sleep in.

It definitely put things in perspective. There would be no complaining and sweating the little stuff for us this trip.

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