Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lake Powell

This last Thursday the young men in our ward left our local church in Tucson, Arizona a little after 6:30 a.m. to head to Lake Powell. Warren Rustand, a member in our ward graciously let us use his house boat, motorboats, and jet skis that he rented.

John Wesley Powell, a Civil War veteran whose right arm had been amputated after one of the battles in which he fought, took the first organized expedition down the Green and Colorado Rivers in 1869. Nearly a century later (1956), construction began on the Glen Canyon Dam, just south of the Utah/Arizona border, to store the water flowing down the river. Seven years later it started storing the water flowing in from the Colorado River, and in 1966 it started producing electricity. It took nearly twenty years after completion to reach its full capacity in the early 1980s, but with the drought spanning several years during the last decade, the water level dropped nearly 140 feet. Since that low point, the water has risen and was only about 70 feet below capacity when we visited it this last weekend.

We had an uneventful drive of almost 400 miles as I worked with Scouts on the Pathfinding merit badge, which is only being offered this year as part of the centennial celebration of Scouting. The last time Scouting offered the merit badge was in 1952, the year it was discontinued.

After taking the house boat, motor boats, and jet skis to a beach several miles from the marina, the Scouts quickly changed into their swim trunks and slid off the slide on the back of the house boat. During the couple days that we spent at Lake Powell, the young men in our ward prepared meals, worked on Lifesaving, Swimming, and Motorboating merit badges, and had a blast going on the jet skis, riding on an inflated floating device behind the ski boat, and jumping off the rocks into the deep water below.

Yep! If one person jumps off a cliff, so does everyone else!

Even me!
Dana Willis and Scott Evans continue their tradition of doing back flips on trips they take.

It wasn't all just play--although I don't think I could convince my wife of that! Here the scouts can be seen working on the Lifesaving merit badge.

On Thursday night I rode on the yellow floating device behind the ski boat with two young men. Warren Rustand takes pride in his ability to make those riding the tube fall off. I managed to stay on for quite a while, but he finally wore me down. After falling off two or three times, I was exhausted from the constant exertion of trying to hold on--one time he even flipped us over. There was no chance to stay on. When I finally went to get on the boat, I could barely pull myself up. Jed Mayfield, one of the leaders jokingly imitated the Tyrannosaurus Rex on Meet the Robinsons, bringing his upper arms close to his body and raising the lower part of his arms into the air while saying, "I've got a big head and little arms!" I couldn't help but laugh because that is exactly how I felt.

Three of the young men who went with us gave it their best shot. The hardest part of the ride is when the boat starts to turn and the outward force begins to pull you in the direction of the turn.

Thanks to the generosity of Warren Rustand and his son, Eric Rustand, we had a great experience on Lake Powell that we otherwise would not have been able to afford, since the houseboat alone would have cost somewhere in the range of $2700 to $4000 just to rent. Thanks to the Rustands, the other leaders, and the great youth that we took up with us, it was a memorable experience for me and, I'm sure, for everyone else.

This evening shot shows the canyon walls to the southeast of where we parked the houseboat.

This panoramic picture taken by James Evans shows where we "camped." We stayed in the houseboat on the right-hand side.


Richins Family said...

I loved the first shot of Lake Powell and your night picture. Great job. It sounds like you had a lot of fun. Makes us want to go too, although it can not be near as fun without a boat and skis and all the toys. Glad you had fun and were safe. Thanks for sharing.

rantipoler said...