Three easy credits? Ha! Lake Powell kayak trip challenges muscles and brains
Lake Powell, in southern Utah, offers stark and stunning scenery.
Five Utah State University students took the opportunity in May to kayak Lake Powell. The parks and recreation department of the university put on the class.
The trip was extremely primitive. Our kayaks were made of wood and canvas, painted about 40 times. We were made to travel as light as possible; everything we needed to use for the entire week we had to have in our kayaks. This meant at times mundane dehydrated meals, along with water micro filters and purifiers, and a portable toilet for those times you just want to be left alone.
We set out on this trip not really knowing what to expect. I thought I would get three credits and be on a weeklong vacation in one of the most scenic areas in the Southwest. My assumptions changed about two miles into the trip. The paddling of the primitive-style kayaks was difficult.
We had excellent weather the entire time and never really came upon any serious problems like dehydration, or heat stress, which are common in this area of the country.
The purpose of the trip was entirely educational. We learned about the Glen Canyon area before the Hoover Dam was built, and after the dam was in place. We talked about the people who inhabited the area before the lake and what they did to survive. We had a chance to see cliff dwellings up Forgotten Canyon. The cliff dwellings housed a small community of 25, called Defiance House. At the cliff dwellings Indian paintings, (pictographs) were still existent but with the high amount of traffic these cliff dwellings get, there is no telling how much longer they will be there. We learned of John Wesley Powell and his exploration through the rugged land the government sent him to map.
Another aspect to the educational side of the trip was environmental. Every beach we camped at we performed a service project in cleaning up the beach. This project at times was disgusting; some of the things we would find left us in awe.
The only real discouraging part about the excursion was the motorboats and the sometimes-slow fishing.
What a great trip!
Dr. Frank White of USU, in dark hat, heads students down Lake Powell in May.