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oldhockeyvb

Rainbow bridge on a jet ski trip report

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On Sunday May 30, 2010 I made the trip from Wahweap marina to Rainbow Bridge and back on my stock 2003 Kawasaki STX-12F jetski. Rainbow Bridge is approximately 50 miles each way from Wahweap marina. I was very fortunate to have excellent weather conditions that day. This was my first trip to Lake Powell so I don’t have a lot to compare it to weather-wise. Not sure if that day was normal or unusual. Friday and Saturday were very windy and it was difficult to even leave the marina because the water was so rough, but Sunday was very nice. Wind was reported at about 7 miles per hour that day, not sure what direction.

My itinerary was Wahweap to Rainbow Bridge through the Castle Rock cut, back to Dangling Rope for fuel, then on to Navajo Canyon, Antelope Point marina, Antelope Canyon, Glen Canyon Dam, Lone Rock beach and back to Wahweap. All told a distance of approximately 110+ miles. I left Wahweap at 7 AM and returned at 5 PM.

I really only hit rough water four times for short periods of time throughout the whole trip. There were 3-4 foot swells in some of the bays but I didn’t consider those too bad, just had to learn how to navigate up and down them. The first rough water was on the way there at about mile 40. The wind came up quickly and I experienced 2+ foot whitecaps. At this point I was committed; there was no way I was going to turn around after having come so far. I rode the ski standing up the last ten miles or so to Rainbow Bridge to avoid getting completely soaking wet. I had to slow down to about 10-15 miles per hour (mph) depending on wave conditions but I managed to make it to Forbidding Canyon where Rainbow Bridge is located. Rainbow Bridge had been on my life list of things to do for a long time and it did not disappoint! Add an absolutely gorgeous day; and I found out later Sunday May 30, 2010 was the 100 year anniversary of the creation of Rainbow Bridge National Monument; made it a very special day for me! The next rough water was getting out of Forbidding Canyon. With the narrow canyon walls and all the large boats speeding through there the water was very rough, but only for a few miles. I am going to write the Superintendent of the Park and recommend they make the entire Forbidding Canyon a no wake zone. There is a lot of traffic in there and it can get very rough. Someone is going to get hurt. The next bout of rough water was on the way back between approximately mile marker 17 and 13. Again the canyon is fairly narrow through here and with all the large speed boats the waves were complete chaos, 2-3 footers coming from all directions, not like wind generated waves you can get a rhythm to. This part I had to slow down to 5-10 mph in spots. This was the least fun part of the trip. The last rough patch was between Antelope Point marina and Glen Canyon dam. Again a narrow strip with lot’s of boat traffic on a holiday weekend. Only bad for a few miles and by this time I had learned how to manage it.

I made two fuel stops (one unneeded). The first stop was at Dangling Rope marina. I made it from Wahweap to Rainbow Bridge and back to Dangling Rope (a distance of approximately 60 miles) and only used 6 gallons of gas (on a 14 gallon tank). I filled up again at Antelope Point on the way back and only used 3 gallons of gas. I didn’t really need to fill up at Antelope Point but I needed a break anyway and wanted to check the place out.

I checked out Navajo Canyon a little bit on the way back but again with the heavy traffic and narrow canyon it was very rough. I’ll have to make that a day trip some future trip. Antelope Canyon is also pretty and it’s fairly short. Real mucky at the end, beware!

Route finding can be confusing. I got off track on the way out in the morning and ended up in the channel to Antelope Point instead of turning up the main part of the lake. I realized my mistake when I got to Navajo Canyon, backtracked and found the correct way toward Rainbow Bridge, just lost a little bit of time. After that I was able to follow the markers pretty well. They are small so you have to be constantly watching for them. It is easy to take a wrong turn and end up in a side bay instead of the main body.

I averaged about 20-25 mph most of the trip except for the few rough water spots where I slowed to 10-15 mph.

Hopefully this information will help others contemplating such a trip. I couldn’t find any information out there from others that had done it before (probably everyone else knows better than to attempt it).

I had an absolute blast on this trip and thank my lucky stars for the opportunity to complete this great adventure!

I LOVE LAKE POWELL!!!

Pictures here:

http://s290.photobucket.com/albums/ll255/oldhockeyvb/Lake%20Powell%205-2010/

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Nice report & great pics Vern! Years ago we took our boat to Powell & camped out of it for a few days. Saw a lot of neat stuff, but the place was so crowded we've never gone back. Looks like it's still that way - lots of big boats up there. Haven't been on a wet bike in years, looks like you guys had a lot of fun. d :rolleyes:

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Great trip report and pics! Thanks George:cool::D

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Thanx for sharing these timely and beautiful pictures, and the storyline... It was for sure an adventure to take on the trip from Wahweap to Rainbow and back on one of them things.:eek::eek::eek:

 

I tried one a few years ago, but they're just too damned rough for an old codger like me... Especially when the winds pick up, and as you discovered, in the narrower canyons where the straight canyon walls and boat traffic create reflection waves from multiple directions...:( It's even rough in a larger boat, much less the PWC's...:eek:

 

I've spent the past few days getting the boat ready for our annual week-long June trip there... My close friends and our families have been going there for a week in June, for the past 25+ years together. Occasionally we've also rented a houseboat, but mostly we've simply camped and used our boats to get us up-lake for day-trips to the dunes on the back side of Castle Rock, Rainbow Bridge (a MUST for ANY Lake Powell newbie), the Miners steps, hole in the Rock, and the myriad of side canyons to go exploring in, etc.. etc.:D:cool:

 

For the first few years we camped and stayed on the beaches of half-moon bay on the East side of Antelope Island, but eventually that grew old (not to mention the increases in the numbers of folks visiting that end of the lake that "D" reported), so we began to camp further up-lake, and for the past several years, we've camped within a few miles of Dangling Rope, because of the handy access to fuel at the end of the day.

 

Lake Powell is without a doubt, one of THE most remarkable and beautiful places on earth, much less AZ & Utah, and even after all these years of visiting we've only been able to see less than half of it all.:eek::eek: I can't wait to get this years June trip in gear...:D:D:D:D:D...

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Ob1:

That sounds like a lot of fun! What kind of boat do you have? I would like to take our pontoon boat and jet ski up there some year and beach camp as you describe. I'm not sure I want to take it as far as dangling rope but I was thinking around padre bay somewhere then use the ski to explore from there. I would love to see the hole in the rock from the lake. There is more than enough area to explore up there for several lifetimes

Have a great trip!

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Have owned several over the years, but the one I am currently using for Lake Powell is a 1990, 25ft Wellcraft off-shore WAC (walk-around-cuddy) with a chevy 350-mercruiser alpha-one I/O, which I picked up in Traverse City, MI a few years ago. Cabin is large enough to sleep in and get in out of the weather when it turns snotty, yet not overly large either.

 

The Pontoon would be fine for the trip to near Dangling Rope. One of our group has been going with us for the past 6-8 years and brings their 24 ft pontoon powered by a 4-cyl I/O. That thing can carry a TON of people and gear, just can't go at the pace the V-hulls normally go at, but we go for a bit then fish until they catch up, and then go again for a while... No hurries when on the lake...:D

 

The kids like to run up & down the Hole-in-the-Rock trail, but for us old farts it's a bit slower and more strenuous. However, it is VERY rewarding once at the top, as the views are spectacular... from up there...

 

Here's a few pics from Camp during a storm...

LAKEPOWELL200520.jpg

 

LAKEPOWELL200522.jpg

 

Did I mention we sometimes go fishin':D;)

LAKEPOWELL20057.jpg

 

SavannahsStriper.jpg

 

Quentin08.jpg

 

AND sometimes go sight-seeing...:cool:

Cathederal Canyon...

CathedralCanyon02.jpg

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Amazing pictures and a beautiful boat thanks for sharing!

Looks like you have this down. I'll have to try my pontoon up there some year, but I'm going to work my way into it slowly. It's a small 18 footer with a 40 hp outboard. It is not a good rough water boat. They will carry a ton of stuff tho and are a nice party platform. You've got me excited now!

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