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Towing kayaks and other Stuff!

Maryland
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Towing kayaks and other Stuff!

Hi, we are a group of 4 adults renting a houseboat, 19' speed boat, and 4 kayaks from Wahweap Marina for a 7day/6night adventure on 9/17/13. The plan is to load the kayaks onto the houseboat and then to drive the houseboat and speed boat separately through the narrows around Antelope Point. We would like to make it to Dungeon Canyon for our first night but will most likely only get so far as Labrynth, West, or Dove Canyon. Ultimately we would like to beach the 48' Navigator in one of the coves near Dangling Rope Marina for the duration, then take the speed boat and kayaks out to explore.

I am wondering:

1. best way to tow the kayaks behind the speed boats w/out sinking them (for our day trips).

2. how many hours to get to Dungeon Canyon from Wahweap?

3. Do the side by side refrigerators in the Navigator keep things cold? How about the freezers?

4. Other than Rainbow Bridge are there any hikes/ kayaking that you would recommend near D. Rope?

5. Is there a need for a beach shade canopy? And if so, is there any place that rents them?We are flying in to Page, so cannot bring it ourselves.

6. I'm kinda freaked about driving through the Narrows at A.P. with the wakes rocking back and forth. Am I being a sissy?

I really appreciate any and all responses!

Carol

Salt Lake City, Utah
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1. Re: Towing kayaks and other Stuff!

Here is a decent map system broken down into each specific canyon.

http://fredsliquorstore.com/maps.html

And here is a decent itinerary for renters. I'm sure they will have more info at the rental shop.

lakepowell.com/media/8688/wahweap_houseboat_…

I wouldn't tow the kayaks behind the ski boat. I usually just use the kayaks around where the houseboat is located. I'll paddle for a couple of miles one way to a nearby canyon and then turn around. Some areas are much better than others for exploring. That is why I always look for interesting places that I can hike, climb up on top of the mesas, and also kayak/swim. Might want to have PFDs with you.

Houseboats travel about 10 MPH. This map has several milage markers at various canyons.

glencanyonnha.org/maps/GlenCanyonNRA_map.pdf

A beach shade canopy might be nice, but I usually end up in the water or on the houseboat seeking shade. This time of year the sun won't be as powerful. I'm not familiar enough with Page to know if there is a rental shop for shade.

I won't worry too much about the waves at Antelope. You might get there and find it calm. Slow down if you must and just make your way through. The houseboat should be fine maybe rocking a little, just secure things on the bow and stern. Don't let people sit up front and act like they are "The king of the world" on the speed boat. Yes that was a Titanic reference. Bad choice, but you know what I mean. A big wave could send a passenger overboard if they are up front where they're not supposed to be.

Maryland
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2. Re: Towing kayaks and other Stuff!

Thanks again Shake. Great links and info. I was on LP in 1999 for 3 days and stayed in Padre Bay and Gunsight Canyon. Since we have more time, we wanted to venture further up this go round, but are re-thinking our itinerary so that we don't put too much pressure on ourselves to get up to Dangling Rope area on day 1. Maybe make day 1 camp somewhere in Padre Bay, then venture towards Dangling on day2, find a nice camp area and park it until day 5 or 6 then head into our last camp at maybe Warm bay area so we are closer to Wahweap. How long do you think it will take to get to from Wahweap to Padre Bay since the CR cut is closed? From Padre to Dangling?

As for the kayaks, is it safe to paddle from one canyon to say one above it? It would mean a bit of paddling on the main lake. These are sit on top kayaks.

Thank so much!

Carol

Salt Lake City, Utah
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3. Re: Towing kayaks and other Stuff!

I usually go to the Bullfrog Marina when I go to Powell. I haven't been to Wahweap in few years. Here is a time chart I found. lakepowell.com/media/…20listings-Wahweap.pdf

Maybe 2-3 hours to Padre and another 3 or so to Dangling Rope. On the bottom it says to allow more time for the 48' Navigator, which is what you indicated you are renting. The Antelope Point channel is about 10-12 miles so that will be an additional hour or so. Again, I would talk directly with the rental company as they are working with renters every day and know the problems, conditions, and times better than anyone.

As for kayaking... You should have no problem paddling out in the main channel, parallel to the shore line or cliff walls about ten feet out. I'm a professional raft guide though and feel pretty confident paddling for several miles and know how to edge, read water, angle the bow, get back into a kayak from the water if I happen to fall out, etc. If you don't feel as confident, use a PFD when traveling longer distances. Pay attention to wave conditions and the weather. Be very careful crossing a canyon, as speed boats won't necessarily be looking for smaller vessels.

Just use common sense and know your limitations. And remember that as far as you paddle one way, you have to duplicate that for the return trip. Sometimes people will exhaust themselves going to the destination, exposing themselves for accidents when they are out of gas on the voyage back. There is an old mountaineering saying, "It doesn't matter if you reach the summit, it only matters if you return." Know when to turn around and don't let your ego get you hurt. But push yourself a little and explore what that limit is.

Atascadero...
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4. Re: Towing kayaks and other Stuff!

Was just put there all last week, and so here's my take on your questions. Dungeon to Wahweap is 43 miles with the Cut closed, and this will take a solid 4-5 hours in a houseboat. It's 3 to Padre Bay, and almost 2 more to Dungeon. The Cut being close adds about 2 hours, partly because your need to go wakeless near Antelope Point marina and at the narrow point where Wahweap Bay meets the main channel near the dam. It's almost exactly 1.5 hours in a houseboat from Wahweap to Antelope Point Marina. Count on 8 MPH in the houseboat you're renting.

Refrigerators? The smaller side by side models do not work as well as the full-sizedodels, but well enough. It's only an issue if it's brutally hot outside--above 95-100. This past week it was a mixed bag--half the days rained and were in the 70s to low 80s, the other half about 90 and sunny. Ou ought to be fine in Sept.

Atascadero...
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5. Re: Towing kayaks and other Stuff!

As for hikes and kayak trips near Rainbow Bridge, I'd put Driftwood Canyon near the top--kayak into the right hand fork, it will narrow to about 8 feet to the end. You can hike through a near slot at the end. Perfect for kayaks. Cathedral and Mountain Sheep are good for kayaks, but longer than Driftwood, so more work. Mountain Sheep can be hiked out of the end; Cathedral can't. Twilight and Cascade are better for kayaks--and Twilight has a good hike.

Bring a camera in a drybag. You'll be glad you did.

As for towing kayaks behind the ski boat, you can use a long tow rope--say 25 feet or more-- to minimize wake effects. Most importantly, go slow. It's not a race. Stay out of mid-channel if you can.

We just spent two nights with our houseboat docked in a cove on the west side just south of the San Juan. From there we took the kayaks into Music Temple and Hidden Passage, which were close enough to not need the ski boat to shuttle them there.

Similarly, you could put your houseboat in Oak Bay and take your kayaks up Secret Canyon (a perfect spot for kayaks) or Little Oak Canyon. You'd be off the main channel the whole time. There are also many little coves to explore there. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I wish I had done that... But there's only so much time...

Maryland
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6. Re: Towing kayaks and other Stuff!

Thank you both for such good info! I would be really interested to hear your itinerary JFR since you were just there. Oak canyon looks great, in fact we have considered it, but don't want to spend our trip driving and anchoring every day... Is it worth it? How is Dungeon compared to Oak?

Also, rain gear and foot wear... When it rains is it an all day affair or intermittent? Do we need windbreakers or real weather gear ? Footwear for hking, low hikers or Keens or a solid pair of Chacco sandals?

Silly pack question, but helpful info to me!

Atascadero...
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7. Re: Towing kayaks and other Stuff!

I'm planning on posting on posting a trip report in the next few days that will include some details about the current conditions and things to think about. That said, I'll give you a quick summary of my recent itinerary from last week if it helps.

First off, as to the question about whether driving and anchoring is "worth it", that's a subjective call based on how much you value your time and money. In 7 days, you will certainly have the time to move around to different parts of the lake. As for the money, here's a good way to think about it: we rented a 46-footer, and I figured out it got about 1.5 MPG. Since gas is a shade over $5/gallon, that translates to about $3.33 per mile for the houseboat. So if you only go to Dungeon Canyon and back to Wahweap, that's about 80 miles--or about $265 in gas. A round trip to Oak Bay is about 110 miles, or about $365...an extra $100. I'm guessing the 48-footer will get similar mileage.

Our itinerary was not planned out in advance except in rough terms, and we had to adjust on the fly due to weather issues and the fact that the ski boat broke down on the fourth day, which complicated things a bit. In general, my goal was to base the houseboat near where good kayaking areas were (where a speedboat wasn't needed), or in canyons where there was good hiking potential. With that in mind, our itinerary (4 people) was as follows:

Day 1: Leave from Wahweap; camp just inside Padre Bay (mile 22). Take kayaks to Gunsight Butte. Rained most of the day.

Day 2: Head north; top off tank of houseboat at Dangling Rope; camp in cove off the west side of the main channel north of mile marker 53, just across from Music Temple Canyon. Take kayaks into Music Temple Canyon, and hike beyond the end of the lake. See Butterfly Arch in Music Temple. Rained part of the day. I was surprised to see two excellent houseboat sites in Music Temple--normally there are none, but sometimes things present themselves at lower lake levels.

Day 3: Keep houseboat in place. Take motorboat into Reflection Canyon (2 miles north) and hike the canyon--a half day hike, but could have been longer. Return, and explore small unnamed canyon south of our campsite in kayaks. Clear weather.

Day 4: Head north into the Escalante River arm, anchor houseboat in Davis Gulch. Take speedboat to the end and take a long hike in Davis Gulch, then up to the top of the canyon rim overlooking Davis. Kayaking in Davis Gulch.

Day 5: Short trip into nearby Clear Creek Canyon in speedboat to see Cathedral in the Desert. Kayaking in Davis Gulch. Move houseboat south. Anchored in cove between Dangling Rope Marina and Cornerstone Canyon. Kayaked in Cornerstone Canyon.

Day 6: Had been planning a hike in Dungeon Canyon the day before, but needed to wait and repair both boats--so we scotched that plan. For Day 6, we needed to be anchored close enough to Wahweap to be able to get back to the marina by about noon--one of our guys had to catch a flight in Vegas at 7 PM. So we anchored the houseboat in Labyrinth Bay (mile 17). Took kayaks into the end of Labyrinth Canyon, and hiked the slot canyon beyond the end of the lake.

Day 7: Return to Wahweap. Took almost 3 hours from Labyrinth Bay.

So...that's the short version. Note we moved the houseboat to 5 spots in 6 nights--I'd say typical for us in a week is 4. We also got to the Escalante--that added miles (about 150 miles roundtrip to from and to Wahweap) and took time, but I wanted to get into Davis and Clear Creek in the lower water levels. The best parts of Davis are below the High Water Mark, so I wanted to take advantage of that--it was worth it. At current levels, the lake ends just before reaching LaGorce Arch, for those who know that canyon. Cathedral in the Desert looks impressive, but still has a lot of water in it--the small waterfall at the end is exposed and falls about 20 feet to the lake surface. When the water drops to expose the ground there, the waterfall is about 60 feet.

Dungeon vs. Oak? Different places. Oak is a small bay with three excelletn nearby canyons to explore in a kayak--Secret (sometimes called Oak on some maps), Little Oak, and Twilight (across the bay). All are hikable. There are also several nice coves. If you stretch, Anasazi Canyon is a couple miles north (on the right side), and worth exploring in a kayak.

Dungeon is more like an open bay (it got the name "Dungeon" before there was a lake, when the mouth of the canyon looked like a dark dungeon--now underwater). It has an excellent overland hike to the top of the mesa, but not as good for kayaking. There are no nearby narrow canyons, unless you tow them north behind your skiboat to either Wetherill, Mountain Sheep, Driftwood, or others.

Oak is a more versatile base that requires less use of the speedboat. Dungeon has an outstanding (if strenuous) hike.

Rain and footgear? Don't really need raingear. You might consider a light waterproof jacket, but you won't mind a light rain. Typically rain events are brief (but possibly intense) in the summer (less than an hour). But on our trip, we had one day where it rained lightly all day (unusual), another with a breif storm for about 45 minutes (more typical), another with an evening storm (always possible), and three days of solid warm sun. That's a pretty standard mixed bag.

Footgear? For overland hikes away from water, I just use my low ankle light hiking Merrills--comfort is much more important than sturdiness. In a creek hike, I use my fairly rugged water shoes (closed toe is VERY important!), which I wear over Smartwool socks (which cuts the possible chafing on your heels and toes). Better than neoprene for hiking. Open toed sandals like my Tevas I only wear on the boat or on a very clear path (free of thistles, cactus and irregular terrain that could hurt your exposed toes). Kayaking, you're fine barefoot, or with sandals like Keens or Tevas--unless you plan to hike on the same trip, then plan as noted above.

Edited: 02 September 2013, 08:43
Maryland
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8. Re: Towing kayaks and other Stuff!

Great itinerary! Thanks for sharing. I feel much more confident having something of a plan. We have decided to go to Oak Canyon instead of Dungeon on day 2 and stay put for a few days, venturing out daily in the power boat and kayaks to fish, hike, and explore. Then day 5 we'll venture back to Padre Bay area to be closer to Wahweap. Can't wait!

Thanks again to both of you for sharing your knowledge of this massive body of water!

Atascadero...
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9. Re: Towing kayaks and other Stuff!

Your plan is a good one--I think you'll really enjoy your time around Oak Bay. Also don't forget that Rainbow Bridge is a short speedboat trip away from Oak--an excellent base for that too.

One more thing...about cellphones. Now I'm not much of a fan of cellphones, but for those who are, Oak Bay is right at the base of massive Navajo Mountain and its cell towers, which means you'll have cell service... If you have Verizon. With AT&T, you're out of luck. In fact, AT&T doesn't really work anywhere on the lake, except near Wahweap and Antelope Point marinas. Verizon will work from time to time, but don't count on it..

Oddly, I think AT&T has gotten worse over the recent years, not better.. Hmm...

Edited: 03 September 2013, 15:21
Maryland
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10. Re: Towing kayaks and other Stuff!

Thanks for the heads up. I'll be sure to NOT mention it to my broker brother in law, who is has trouble disconnecting!