USA Day 13 – Salt Lake City to Lake Powell

Well … this is the section where I leave Oregon and go to Utah to paddle a canoe on Lake Powell .. a dammed in section of the Colorado River.

This is the travelling bit … where I meet new friends and old internet friends. Thanks particularly from the people in Salt Lake City, particularly DeWitt and Kellen Hatch who took particular care of me.

Full set is here …
USA Day 13 – Salt Lake City to Lake Powell – a set on Flickr

After my planes got mixed up and I had to reroute the flights (and lost an afternoon of internet time) I landed about 5 hours behind schedule to be picked up at the airport by Kellen Hatch. I had to recognise his car but luckily he had a plastic viking helmet available. Finally landed in Salt Lake City.

He took me into the centre of the city past the LDS (Mormon) temple which was lit and busy. All the main roads radiate from the temple.

Then to dinner with the Wooden Boat Messabout Crowd in a vego restaurant. I then stayed at Kellen’s home. He has a couple of really cool mini trimarans designed by Chris Ostlind who I met at dinner. A really nice bunch of people.

The next Morning Kellen drove me over to meet Dewitt at his workshop. Dewitt runs an redesign and rebuild service for homes and businesses but his passion is boats.

Kellen and DeWitt

So .. lets look at his workshop …

Walking into the compound I saw something that looked very much like an OZ skiff. A few years ago DeWitt picked up a second hand Olympic 470 rig. He wedded it to a self designed wooden hull to race in open regattas. It has a slight vee, is quite light and has a slight vee and a narrow entry. It had cleaned up a few trad boat regattas.

Its name is FrankNstein.

I think he said it was built partially of ply/foam sandwich.

A truly exciting find was that DeWitt was restoring an early series Snipe class dinghy. Once hugely popular as a training ground for high level sailboat racers. This one was so early it had a dagger centreboard rather than the later swinging one. In this pic DeWitt had set up a tensioned wire as the class rule datum and jacked the boat so it matched the required spring (or rocker). As the various bits are repaired it will start to match that and fit in the class. It is a solid planked boat. No ply here.

Also they were restoring a powerboat owned by Robert Redford. I can’t remember the manufacturer now (mind like a sieve). I knew I should have been taking notes, but was worried that would ruin the lovely conversation.

This is a seriously nice restoration. Boat is to be returned in original varnished configuration. A nice little job indeed.

DeWitt and I then headed off to do a little shopping (I had no food for my days on the Lake – and was amazed and grateful to find that the local group had it all planned and had provided me with a budget. Heartfelt thankyou!!!).

We also dropped into “Pat’s Bar B Que” which is an amazing business that has grown from a hole in the wall type cafe to a business that employees about a hundred people. A real success story. All the employees were happy and motivated and Pat was going to take some rare days off and go and see Van Morrison perform a few hours down the road. Pat was nothing like my stereotype of the manager of that type of business (vegetarian bias on my part?). Cool and urbane and very smart.

Anyway … back to the point … travelling to the lake. Some scenes stick out.

Salt Lake City and many of the cities of the USA get water because of the snow and ice melt on their large mountain ranges. In some ways the landscape is not dissimilar from OZ, but is punctuated by one large mountain range after another. Something Australia does not have. Salt Lake City itself is at an elevation of 4600 ft (er 1400m) s6 the mountains around it collect snow. Without this feature much of the USA would be high desert country. It is the melting snow that changes things. You can go skiing in winter.

There was a gap in the mountains that this clutch of wind generators is positioned adjacent to. I think they are immensly beautiful. This was really just on the outskirts of the city basin. DeWitt and I were talking boats all the way.

This is a forest of Aspens. They reproduce by budding from each others root systems to form one giant organism that may cover several acres or miles. The giveaway is that if they share roots they change colour at the same time. You can see how big some of the groups are here.

Some have escaped from behind the fence. Making a break for it.

Things were getting wild, but suddenly in a canyon … industry. We had seen no houses and just hills for some time. The scale of the USA is always a surprise. Almost every business seems four or six time bigger than expected.

And then we were in the desert itself

I didn’t see the face here until I edited the pic.

It looks like it could have been carved.

and it was not that unusual in this bizarre landscape

About 2/3 of the way we stopped for a bite and a drink …. and kept driving

This is the drop down to Lake Powell itself. Another imaginary landscape.

Twists and turns and weathered rock and rubble. Dry Dry Dry. It is the snow that makes it work. All these roads get closed over winter.

First glimpse of water

At the lookout

We could see a bridge to cross to Hite, the Lake camp ground in the next pic. It looked about a five minute drive away. We drove 5 minutes, then another, then another until we had been driving for about 20 minutes total. This is the thing about this landscape that fooled me again and again over the next few days .. driving or paddling or walking. Things look close … but the landscape is so huge that perspective (or an Australian’s perspective) is fooled all the time as our land is so flat.

Here is Hite below.

Finally at Hite and finally to catch up with the main supporters of my shoestring tour … Chuck and Sandra of Duckworks who along with the PDRacer group, builders of my boats and the Messabout organisations have made all of this possible.

Tomorrow … walking and slot canyons … then the boats start collecting!

MIK __________________
Storer Wooden Boat Plans subforum on UBeaut Woodwork Forums
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3 thoughts on “USA Day 13 – Salt Lake City to Lake Powell

  1. Thanks for the comment and adding a link.


  2. What a riot! I became just talking about the same thing with my mom a few days ago. Getting excited about hearing what we think of this post. Appreciate your sharing your experience!

  3. Slideshow of boats from the Lake Macquarie Classic Boatfest | | says:

    […] USA Day 13 – Salt Lake City to Lake Powell Well … this is the section where I leave Oregon and go to Utah to paddle a canoe on Lake… […]

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