It’s a tried and true, well-known aspiration – let’s see, do, experience or visit (fill in the blank) and check it off our “bucket list.” Ed and I headed to Lake Powell with our Starboard inflatable touring boards and a bucket list- slot canyon paddling experience in mind. Fortunately we had contacted Joe and Jordan at Lake Powell Paddleboards beforehand to schedule a one-day private trip.
From the first moment we walked into their shop we knew that Joe and Jordan had created a very special culture and vibe in Page, Arizona. The store was built out of a number of shipping containers, paneled with wood reclaimed from pallets and insulated with environmentally sound materials.
The photos just begin to tell the story. Joe (behind the counter) is under a custom painted board, just one of many unique, one-of-a-kind objects and posters that tell the story of connection with community and water-athletes.
After falling spontaneously in love with the canyons and waters that make Lake Powell, they made a move based from their heart and a passion for standup paddling. Check out their website often. While they have an incredible service-based operation now – they envision so much more Lake Powell exploration and coolness coming in 2017.
We were so lucky to grab the last full-day adventure of their season. After a long and busy spring-summer, Joe told us to be at the marina at 6:30 am because the beauty and glassiness of the water is prime at sunrise. No burn out or fatigue from Joe after all those busy weeks – he was no less in awe of the oranges that welcomed our day or the full moon setting as we hopped on the boat.
We got a “whack on the side of the head” from a day that turned all expectation on its ear. The best words I can use to describe the energy and magic that Joe and the team at Lake Powell Paddleboards brought to the experience are “a sense of wonder.” That and an absolute respect and love for Lake Powell.
We hadn’t motored 100 yards before Joe pulled out a fish net and picked up a floating bag of chips that apparently blew off a boat. There was very little litter but he nabbed the few we saw. Not a word was said, but the respect was evident. And the “talk story” continued without a hiccup. We learned so much – what a day!
Our destination for the day was Labyrinth Canyon, a spot we could have reached in maybe a third of the time if we zoomed over with a focus on “arriving.” That’s not the experience we got – and for that we were beyond grateful. We meandered up river and learned the names of landmarks and formations along the way. Boundary Butte and Dominguez Butte became familiar, as did Navajo Rock, Tower Rock and Gunsight. Joe shared so much insight about the water, the rocks, geology and canyons.
More than what we learned, we connected to the energy and awe in the magnificence of where we were. Joe couldn’t hide his enthusiasm if he wanted to.
We arrived as the solitary adventurers at the mouth of Labyrinth Canyon and secured the boat on the sand.
Yippee! It was paddle time. We got on our Riviera Voyager 12’6″ boards (awesome tracking and glide) and began the paddle into the canyon that became more narrow, incredible and “full of wonder” as we went. Maybe 2 miles into the canyon and it narrowed. The water ended at a small beach with a path that wound into the canyon ahead.
We left the boards and donned water shoes for what would be the most unexpected, amazing experience – again – instilling us with a child-like sense of “WOW!” that increased with every step.
The photos barely do justice to the texture, colors, ever-changing light and shadow. The vibration of the ages seemed to radiate from the twisting and turning serpentine hallways of ancient stone.
At one point the air filled with a low thumping sound. We looked up and saw a Great Horned Owl swoop up then land on the canyon wall just overhead. As curious about us as we were about him, we enjoyed several minutes of shared stares. What a bonus.
Back to the water we began our paddle out of the more narrow canyon slots to the wider areas where the wind had picked up a bit. With maybe 500 images captured by our cameras we were still remarking at every turn – “amazing!!!
As we began our journey back to the dock enjoying lunch and “talk story” time we fully expected Joe to be more than ready to close down this final guided trip of the season. Not so. He had a few other spots to share. We came around one rock outcropping to see a section of sky and clouds that dazzled.
Joe had seen the shot and let us snap more photos. At another area the water was more shades of absolutely clear blues and greens than you could imagine. Yes, it was October, but the day was warm, sunny and we had to leap in.
As we docked the boat at the end of the trip we knew this was not just a bucket list experience. We had a different spirit of wonder, a deeper respect for the area. Suddenly we wished for more time. You can schedule a multi-day guided experience for you and your friends and family. Don’t miss out.
You may be able to take a guided standup paddle trip in many different beautiful places. But if you are ever in the vicinity of Lake Powell don’t miss the chance to gain that kid-like grin, the custom experience and the customer service expertise that comes with a special discovery – Lake Powell Paddleboards.