Whelp, after months of planning and preparation, it’s hard to believe that the big day has finally arrived! We depart for Utah today, and will begin our ~150-mile paddle on Tuesday morning!
As we head out, thought I’d share answers to some of the most frequently asked questions I have received about this trip from others. If you have a question about our trip that I’ve not answered below, please leave me a comment, and I’ll be sure to address it upon our return in a future blog.
Why, exactly, are you doing this?
I have many reasons, including but not limited to:
- As George Mallory once suggested about why one would climb Mount Everest, we are paddling the length of Lake Powell, “Because it is there.”
- Because we can (meaning my Mom and I are physically and mentally capable of taking on such a challenge. And let’s face it, we aren’t getting younger so we might as well do it now…)
- Because I want to. It is really as simple as that. (And it’s funny how our society doesn’t seem to accept that as a good enough answer…I digress…)
- Not many have attempted to do it (I know a handful of men have accomplished the same feat on stand-up paddleboards, but I have yet to find any women who have).
- This is my big chance to be as adventurous as Pippi Longstocking, my childhood hero!
- I would like to share in an unforgettable adventure with my Mom and show her what true freedom and bliss feels like.
- I wish to disconnect from the world long to refresh and rejuvenate my mind and spirit for all the exciting opportunities ahead.
- Because I wanted a physical and mental challenge.
- Because there is a little voice inside my head that still isn’t sure I can…but I’m going to do it anyway!
- Because you guessed it, you can sleep when you’re dead!
You mean, you are not doing it to make a political statement? (Note: this question is typically followed by an in-depth dissertation about how the Glen Canyon Dam drowned the Colorado River OR how we have no water in the desert.)
While I do have fairly strong opinions about the Glen Canyon Dam and our water shortage here in western United States, the magnificent sandstone walls, the undulating waters, and singing canyon wrens do not hold any political positions; I see no reason why – while I am among their beauty and in their home – I should possess one either.
If I’m to make any important statement as a result of going on this journey it would be to remind everyone tuning in that, wait for…you can sleep when you’re dead! I do not mean literally (as in we should run around doing things 24 hours a day). I mean that when faced with an opportunity to do something or not do something, especially your dreams – no matter how big or small – I hope you feel inspired and courageous enough to just GO FOR IT!
You only get one life, and it goes in a blink of an eye, so why not fill the time you have with much joy, meaning, curiosity, wonder, and gratitude? I cannot come up with a good reason not to, but if you do, please, by all means, leave me it in a comment below.
How far are you going?
We are starting at the North Wash/Dirty Devil take out, which is just north of Hite, and finishing at Wahweap Marina. If we followed the milepost/buoys exactly, we are looking at about 141 miles. However, that does not account for the many side trips and meanderings we will likely do…in the end, I would guess we will likely finish around 150 miles.
How long will that take?
Incorporating time for paddling, rest days, wanderings, weather conditions, etc., we are hoping to complete the trip in about 14 days. We are in no rush and will not take unnecessary risks when faced with unfavorable weather (especially high winds).
BUT fellow photographers (and patient partners and spouses) know how fast “I’ll just be 10 minutes” can turn into an entire afternoon when you’re enthralled a magical place…considering this (and possible weather delays), we’ve packed food for 20 days.
Why are you going in November?
After I decided to pursue this idea, I checked my calendar and found the only time I could commit to a chunk of time within the next 12 months fell in this November and December. I did not want to wait – now sounded like as good of a time as ever.
Although many have and will disagree with me, I feel it offers an absolutely ideal time to complete our adventure. It offers the prospects of the cooler temperatures (compared to scorching summer weather), a reduced chance of brutal winds (as seen in the spring), and fewer boats on the lake than most other months (so we would have the lake to ourselves).
Won’t it be cold then?
Perhaps. Don’t care.
Weather forecasts suggest temperatures ranging from low 20’s to mid-60’s.
My Mom and I completed our recent trial run at Lake Powell in 65-degree temperatures during the day. We were so warm from expending energy and the sun, we actually wished it was about 10-20 degrees cooler. At night, we were on the warm side of cozy during nighttime temperatures around 40-45 degrees.
We have packed winter gear, just in case, and our sleeping bags are rated to 0-degrees (mine) and -30-degrees (my Mom’s). I’ve bet my Dad that we will feel warm most of the time…and I only bet on things I know I will win!
Are you insane? (or alternatively, “Are you crazy?”)
Not clinically, no. However, I did just buy a selfie-stick (for use with my new fancy GoPro) so that may affect my status.
Will you be blogging or posting your process on Facebook?
In our fast-paced society where multi-tasking is not just the norm, but also expected, I wish to jump into this experience with open hearts and minds to soak every bit of the experience in without distractions. So, no, I will intentionally not be blogging during our trip.
That said, beginning on Tuesday morning when we start our journey, you can follow our tracks recorded by my Delorme InReach tracking device by visiting https://share.delorme.com/ColleenMiniukSperry and use the password dreambig (one word) to login. If I have my technology properly figured out, I might post a couple of messages via my Delorme to my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/CMSPhoto (CMS Photography) and https://www.facebook.com/ColleenMiniukSperry (my personal profile).
How can we learn more about your trip once you get back?
I’ll likely write a blog upon my return, but I plan to write my first adventure travel book from this journey. So stay tuned!
Words cannot express how grateful I am to everyone who provided a song recommendation for our Lake Powell Paddle Playlist. What an incredible mix of music from an incredible group of people!
In addition, I’m so thankful to those who have sent notes of encouragement and wishes for a safe, happy trip. Your kind and uplifting words mean a great deal to me, and you can be sure we will carry every single one of your sentiments with us as we paddle along.
Wish us good luck…and good weather!