Red Rock Rendezvous - Lake Powell 2009

By Kellan Hatch - Salt Lake City, Utah - USA

Every year around the end of September or beginning of October, depending on the phase of the moon, we join a gang of fellow boating misfits on the shores of spectacular Lake Powell on the Utah/Arizona border for the annual Lake Powell Messabout. Those who can wrangle enough time away from work and commitments set sail at the end of the messabout for a week or so of cruising, an event known as the Kokopelli Cruise. They are commonly known as the Kokonauts. This year the messabout was held for the first time near the Hite ramp, at the far north on the lake, rather than the usual spot at Stanton Creek on Bullfrog Basin. We weren't able to join the cruise, but we did enjoy a pleasant Friday to Sunday stay at the messabout.

Friends came from all corners of Utah as well as Arizona, California, Texas (including our dear friends Chuck and Sandra Leinweber of Duckworks, along with their son Joe) and even Australia, with boat designer Michael Storer including us in his US tour. Chris Ostlind and his wife Lorrie attended the messabout this year. My regret was that we didn't have a few hours of fresh breeze so they could join me for a sail.

The Hatches in the XCR and friend Michael with his Adventure Island spent Saturday on a day cruise to the canyons to the south of Hite. We started and ended with light breezes, but spent most of the day motoring on glass-smooth water.

Chuck Lienweber performs last minute repairs to a Toto in preparation for the Kokopelli Cruise.
Michael Storer stows his gear with the brutal finesse of a seasoned cruiser.
Martin Adams (left) preps his RebelCat with a hand from Randy Swedlund.

We set sail around 10am with just enough breeze to get our hopes up but we were motoring within an hour. The scenery was magnificent and we were pretty much alone, apart from the occasional motorboat whizzing by in search of bass fishing spots. We started the day with everyone in the cockpit, but the boys soon became bored and ventured out onto the akas and amas.


Michael pedals past soaring sandstone cliffs


Evan and Elliot alternatively sat, dangled and lay on the outriggers. Lily brought up the topic of trampolines and we started brainstorming possible solutions.


This little cove turned out to be an ideal spot...
... for skipping stones...
... swimming ...
... and lunch.

Eventually we reached a small bay where the lake splits into four channels: the main channel heading south, Farley and White Canyons to the west and Trachyte Canyon to the east. Trachyte seemed like the most interesting and most likely to be navigated in time to get us back before dark.

Michael enjoys a well-earned tow into Trachyte Canyon.


On the way out of Trachyte Canyon (I just looked up Trachyte. I was imagining some kind of fossilized Cambrian monstrosity but t's actually a volcanic rock composed primarily of feldspar), we found another idyllic spot for some shore leave.

On the trip back to Hite we moved close to the western cliff to take advantage of the late-day shade. In places, the massive wall seemed to be composed of the cyclopian stone blocks and pillars of some unremembered ancient civilization. My imagination took me back the the Sinbad movies that were my childhood mainstay. The hair on my neck stood up as I imagined the grimacing face of Harryhausen's Cyclops suddenly appearing over the cliff rim. If such a thing could really be found, this would be the place.

We finished packing up Sunday just as the last of the Kokonauts were launching. The Gales were barely able to get their boat in the water between engine stalls and backfires. One last view as we drove out showed Martin's catamaran catching the beginnings of the afternoon breeze. Little would anyone have guessed that 36 hours from now the cruisers would be battling hurricane winds and dust storms.

Martin sails off in the calm before the storm.


To comment on Duckworks articles, please visit our forum