I ventured off the grid for a few days to go hiking & camping in Lake Powell, on the border of the Utah & Arizona border.
The drive in was stunning. We passed through the humidity and bright lights of Las Vegas quickly, leaving us with nothing but the stunning introduction to eons of geologic activity: shifting continents, global rising and falling sea levels, the creation of highlands now worn and redeposited.
We arrived at our primitive campsite approaching nightfall, leaving little time to appreciate the overarching canyons and Lone Rock jutting out of the shores waters of Lake Powell 100 feet from camp. We staked our tent into the ground, set up our tarp for much needed shade for the next day, cooked dinner over open fire for the night. Nothing like a tranquil night’s relaxation (relatively bug free) under the twinkling night’s stars’ landscapes.
I was skeptical of the Antelope Canyon tour we were signed up for, but as the canyons lie on ancient Navajo land, exploring by guided tour is the only option. Although packed with tourists, the incredible canyon created over thousands of years – water and wind slowly carving and sculpting the sandstone -did not fail to impress. A must-do activity when in the area.
The next day was an exploration and relaxation day on the lake’s banks. After finishing our late morning dip, we maneuvered the landscapes’ mammoth and disorienting features back towards camp. The race against the oncoming storm clouds, rapidly overtaking the surrounding cliff faces, was on!
We made it back to camp just in time to seek shelter from the pelting sand churned up in 30 MPH winds, and the oncoming rain. Within minutes, lightning was striking piercingly close, our shelter was struggling to maintain its grip on the loose soil, and our protection from the elements was jeopardized. As the conditions worsened rapidly, the executive decision was made to enter ’emergency mode’: disregard all physical possessions, seek the safest & nearest shelter.
I will never forget the moment – sitting in our parked car, hoping to avoid a direct lightning strike, watching the storm through the panoramic windshield. Our 8-person tent, securely staked into the ground, ripped into the wind’s power like a rag doll circulated above head, eventually coming to a crash landing hundreds of feet down beach. There were concerns over lost cell phones, clothing, other valuables; but now was no time to fret over worldly possessions. We helplessly watched as our underwear, shoes, food, and everything else was strewn in every which direction.
Twenty minutes later, the micro weather system passed as quickly as it arrived. As we de-escalated the emergency protocol and surveyed the damage, the tent was beyond repair – broken poles and snapped-in-half straps lied in a heap of water & sand. As quickly as we entered emergency protocol, we jointly decided not to let the physical destruction hinder the beauty and enjoyment. We hiked up the nearest cliff face and took in the view from atop, watching the humans hurry in every direction to collect their possessions. I couldn’t help but compare the organized chaos to an ant colony hard at work.
As the afternoon settled, we retrieved our sleeping bags and put them out in the sun to dry out. Nature allowed us to spend our final night on site truly appreciating the night’s stars and all the great outdoors has to offer.