A Lake Powell Journal

As I put on my make-up this morning, I realized it’s the first time I’ve done it in several days, which is very unusual for me! But we’ve just returned from the closest thing to a vacation I ever have, which is our annual family trip to Lake Powell. I still take work (I always have work with me—I’m not complaining, it’s just a fact of life), but I take less than normal; I don’t wear make-up the entire time; I only wear swimming suits or pajamas (whichever is the most appropriate); and since we don’t usually get cell service, my cell phone sits unused in the corner. Ah! It doesn’t get much better that that!

But now I’m back in the saddle again—and that’s OK! I love what I do! But Powell was fabulous! I thought I’d share a few parts of it with you. (If this gets too long, feel free to bail at any time!)

We discovered this trip that it was easier and more relaxing to arrive in Page (Arizona, where the boat is) in the afternoon, have pizza for lunch, check on the houseboat, and then grocery shop in the evening when it was cooler. No one felt hurried, and we didn’t get hot and sweaty from rushing. And piloting out the next morning, after the guys had gone out and found a beach was a much calmer experience as well. It’s odd that after all these years we’re still learning a new tip or two.

Once we were settled in this nice little cove, the kids had to get in the water for some fun. Ashton thinks he’s Mr. Swimmer now, and Cooper did better than I’d expected. Phoebe was the real surprise though. She gasped a little when her daddy dunked her legs in and out of the water a few times, but when she came to sit with me at the water’s edge, she wanted down. To my utter shock, she sat in the shallow water, let the drenched sand run through her little fingers, and even crawled in the water without eating much of the sand at all. The lake trip was much more fun now that these younger boys want to be in the water.

When Megan and her four arrived, the trip got even more fun!

One of the real adventures was (as it always is) the windstorm, which seems to happen every year. I’m always amazed at how fast a storm can come upon us and how quickly the sky and water can turn against us. I’m also very grateful for the shelter of the houseboat, especially for the frightened children, and for a husband and sons-in-law who re-dig the holes for the anchors when necessary (the water came up about 9” a day, so the anchors had to be relocated every other day or so); who use every last method of securing the houseboat; and who pretty much stress out when the weather’s less than perfect to make sure we’re safe. Love those men—all of them!

The morning after the storm was still and calm (well, except for the little ones playing quietly), and I sat in awe of the beauty that surrounds us. Once in a while a fish jumped from the water and caused a few ripples, but other than that, nothing moved except the few billowy clouds across the blue sky. The water may rise and fall, depending on the time of year, but the towering red rocks (each with its own unique shape and color scheme) are as firm-standing as ever. I love this place!

Nothing really new happens when we vacation on Lake Powell, but I guess that’s partly why I enjoy our time here so much. We get into a routine, and everyone knows what to do and what to expect. And even when I bring work to do, it’s still a pleasure to be on the lake and with family. While I might work off and on throughout the day, I’m quick to stop and enjoy a swim or watch a movie.

Bum busting (riding the inner tube back and forth over the boat wake) was definitely the highlight of the trip. Everyone except Phoebe rode at least once, and the kids couldn’t seem to get enough of the bumpy waves and “catching air.” Sliding down the slide was also a big hit, now that some of the kids are older. We had the perfect beach with a shallow entry into the water where the kids could play and swim for hours. They also enjoyed several quick swims to the big “rock” where they were able to go and explore and try their hand at rock-skipping.

Sometimes we are so relaxed that we forget which day it is! (That doesn’t happen anywhere except here.) We giggle when we have to ask each other what day it is.

Shalae and Jon’s family left a little early this year--we dropped them off at the dock just before we picked up Sage and Jason and Kona. It was sad to learn that Shalae and Jon didn’t have to leave after all (they’d left because of other family obligations), but they didn’t figure it out until they were hours away from us. Ashton and Cooper and Kona love to play together and it doesn’t occur often enough.

Sara and Sean and their family haven’t been on a Lake Powell trip since they moved to Washington—total bummer! And Shanna has been missed too! I wonder when we’ll all be able to be on the lake at the same time again. One thing’s for sure, when it happens, it’ll be a wild party!

Something I love about being on the lake is that, for the most part, everyone is friendly. As long as you’re not camping at Lone Rock, it seems everyone respects your space. And the best part, especially for the little ones, is that when you’re boating, everyone waves to each other as you pass. It’s an unspoken law of courtesy and friendliness.

Although the menu is unchanged, the food this trip was better than usual. That could be because Megan brought her homemade salsa; or maybe it’s because we discovered that scones are better fried in butter (yum!); or just that we had different meals on different nights. No matter!

The kids all got along really well—better than normal— with little teasing. We forgot to bring games this time, but the older children helped with the little ones and entertained them so their mothers could visit and relax in the sun, and all the kids played well, ate well, and slept well (most nights).

Nate joined us for the weekend, and thankfully the weather cooperated (it was suppose to be windy all weekend but wasn’t). When the Whites went home, it was very quiet with only five of us still on the boat. One of the things Sterling and I enjoyed was that Kona was much more willing to snuggle without all the competition from his cousins, and we got to visit with Sage and Jason alone, which is a rare delight.

On our way home, Sterling’s first comment as we pulled out of Wahweap was that we survived another trip. Of course, my first reaction was somewhat negative (because I know being on the lake stresses him out when it’s windy and it’s really not his favorite place to be), but he quickly clarified when he said, “No, I mean no one got hurt, we didn’t have any major incidents, and everyone had a good time!” That made me feel better.

We only had two days of wind; otherwise, it was breezy most of the afternoons for a couple of hours—perfect for bum busting. And the last two evenings, after watching a movie, we enjoyed time up on the deck, visiting and staring at the full moon above and the smooth, still water below (except for the occasional jumping fish), which made for a beautiful reflection on the water. The last night was especially calm and quiet and warm. What a nice way to end our vacation!

I had a great time, and I think everyone else did too—even Sterling!