Visiting the shores of Lake Powell over the years had us intrigued to explore the narrow canyons by water, so when the G family invited us on their houseboat for a week of fun, it was a no brainer for us! The stars aligned, and the M family was able to join us too. After months of waiting for the marina to do some necessary repairs to the houseboat, we ended up without our houseboat at the last minute. Thankfully, both families had smaller boats, so we were able to revise plans to do amazing day trips out of Bullfrog Marina.
On the way, we decided to stop for a night in Arches with the G family, and it couldn’t have been more amazing. We took a sunset hike to Delicate Arch, followed by a full moon trip back.
Early the next morning, we took a hike through Devil’s Garden to Double O Arch. The hike along a narrow fin was definitely a highlight. Evening and early morning hikes are the best times to hike the Arches heat in June, so this was a perfect stop! We stayed at Slickrock Campground in Moab, which fit our last minute needs perfectly.
On the way in to Powell, we stopped to check out the houseboat, and were still hopeful that the marina would get their act together and finish the repairs, but as it turned out, they did not.
We were just happy to be at Lake Powell with a group of friends who have become like family to us. We ended up at the Aramark run campground with an electric site to run the air conditioner in the summer heat, and were able to park 3 trucks, 1 camper, 2 boats, and 2 tents there! It was an impressive sight! The kids loved playing games on the boats, although it seemed we were only around for early breakfasts and late dinners with most of our time on the water.
Our first day on the water was a trip to Defiance House, a cliff dwelling down one of the mysterious canyons of Lake Powell. We beached the pontoon and took a short hike to see how this ancient civilization lived. Super cool!
Tubing was a definite favorite for the kids and parents alike. We tried lots of combinations – big kids, little kids, all kids, families, and more. We were all thankful for warm water temperatures in the 70s!
Some days, we took out both boats, but my favorite days were squeezing all of us on one boat and exploring the lake together. While it was cozy at times, at many points, half of us were out on the tube.
Our next day trip was over 100 miles round trip to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, which has always been on our bucket list. The bridge was massive and beautiful, and it was such a treat to get to see it at last. At one point, the bridge had lake water underneath, but the water level has been diminishing for years. With a heavy snowfall year, lake levels were going up 15 inches a day while we were there! We were also able to see a dinosaur footprint here too.
After Rainbow Bridge, we found an amazing canyon to eat lunch and play in, and the M family pulled out their giant beach ball. It was amazing to see how quickly it moved through the canyons. Ethan babysat the ball for awhile, and when it finally escaped, it took off on us! We had to chase it down by boat, and thankfully and not so thankfully, it lodged itself at the end of a canyon in a bunch of muck. Justin paddled in to get in, and it was quite the project to tow him out with the ball in hand. An epic game of water polo ensued, and we will never forget the echo of the ball as it hit the water, as well as Faith’s unhuman skills and battle cry. We may have gotten a bit carried away, as when we left, we found ourselves in quite the storm. Inside those canyons, it is very difficult to see what is happening in the sky above. Thankfully, the M family had zip up sides for the boat, so everyone stayed nice and dry as we raced back across the lake from mile marker 49 to 90. Rainbow Bridge is about halfway between Page and Bullfrog Marina, so it is quite the trek no matter where you start on the lake.
I was particularly amazed with the flushable floating bathrooms in the middle of the lake. We found ourselves at these every few hours to make pit stops, tubing adjustments, and more.
The following day was spent playing in the lake, finding a nice sandy beach to hang out on and play on the paddle boards, shore, and picnic. In addition, we took turns learning how to surf, wakeboard, ski, and more tubing of course. Surfing was a favorite by all, and we can’t wait to spend more time learning the tricks of the trade!
Our last day on the water was spent cliff jumping, diving off the boat, exploring Iceberg Canyon, and more wakeboarding, surfing, and tubing. I found it difficult to say goodbye to the lake and all the fun we had here!
We pulled out the eagle for some great tubing fun. While the wind and water was a little rough at the beginning, the eagle took flight a few times, once we got back in those canyons, we were good to go. The eagle stayed in back for a surfing companion or two to ride along.
Wakeboarding and skiing in 70 degree water was a nice change from the chilly mountain waters of Grand Lake, and I think I could have spent the whole summer here playing in this amazing rock and water wonderland.
We left Lake Powell Friday for a planned “lunch” break at Goblin Valley State Park. We have passed this amazing park many times, without a chance for the small detour, and I am so glad we finally made it a priority. What was planned for a lunch break turned into hours of fun, playing a long game of hide and seek with radios followed by many rounds of camouflage. This place was made for this game, and we could “change scenes” by simply walking a few feet in any direction. With a couple hour drive and approaching storm, we reluctantly pulled ourselves away from this playground to continue to our next destination. It’s so amazing when somewhere that was to be a simple lunch stop turns into the possible highlight of the trip. We couldn’t have had more fun here, and the kids were so excited to have all the adults play along.
Our last stop with the G family was a planned late night of games in an Airbnb. We came across the coolest park in this small town of East Carbon City, and their amazing kids Katie and Justin spent hours playing there with the Hoff kids. Upon discovering camper fridge problems, we were able to move everything out into the house fridge, spending hours trying to diagnose our problem before we head off the grid for the next month and a half. The G family went above and beyond troubleshooting our problem, going out of their way to join us at an RV repair place, and adjusting plans to get us back on the road with a running fridge. We could not have been more thankful for them, and the quality time we were able to have on this stretch of the journey!
After talking to dozens of RV places and replacing parts that “may be the problem,” we finally ended up at Neill’s near Provo, UT when the owner Mike took pity on us and invited us in to take a look himself on a Saturday night at closing time. Turns out the squirrels who chewed up our gas lines before we replaced them and left home were the culprits once again. Somehow, water had gotten into the gas line, reducing the pressure from the recommended 11 down to a measly 3. Once we blew the lines out with an air compressor, we were good to go! We left Mike with hugs and a happy Hoffpack! (travel dates 6/15-6/22/19)