LAKE POWELL

MY FAVORITE STOP ON OUR TRIP WAS UNDOUBTEDLY LAKE POWELL. I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS TRIP IN IT’S ENTIRETY, SO I NEVER FOCUSED TOO CLOSELY ON ONE DESTINATION. WE BALANCED OUR ADVENTURE WITH EQUAL PARTS CAMPING AND STAYING IN HOTELS. THIS WAY WE NEVER REALLY FELT TOO DIRTY OR TOO UNCOMFORTABLE FOR LONG. AFTER OUR STAY AT THE PIONEER LODGE IN ZION, DAVE LINED UP A NIGHT UNDER THE STARS AT LONE ROCK BEACH. 

WE ARRIVED AT LONE ROCK AT DUSK. THE COOL COLORS OF THE SUNSET KISSED THE GRAY ROCK THAT ENCOMPASSED THE AREA. WE STOPPED AT A GAS STATION JUST OUTSIDE THE RECREATION AREA AND PICKED UP FIREWOOD AND AN EXTRA BOTTLE OF WINE. YOU KNOW, THE ESSENTIALS. WE HEADED DOWN TOWARDS THE BEACH TO FIND A FEW OTHER CAMPERS SPREAD OUT AT THE WATERS EDGE. WE CHOSE A SPOT JUST IN FRONT OF LONE ROCK AND SET UP CAMP. WE COOKED UP A TASTY DINNER AND PARKED OURSELVES BY THE FIRE WHERE WE CONTINUED TO DISECT OUR TRIP. I OVERUSED THE EXPRESSION, “IS THIS REAL?” AND SIPPED ON WINE UNTIL THE BOTTLE WAS GONE.

WE RELUCTANTLY RETREATED TO OUR TENT, KNOWING THAT MORNING WOULD BE HERE BEFORE WE KNEW IT, AND THE NIGHT WE WERE SO ENJOYING WOULD COME TO AN END. I WAS EAGER TO TAKE SOME NIGHT SHOTS, SO ATTEMPT NUMBER ONE BEGAN AROUND 1 AM, WITH HARDLY ANY PARTS OF THE MILKY WAY VISIBLE TO THE HUMAN EYE OR LONG EXPOSURE. I SNAPPED A FEW LESS THAN PAR PHOTOS AND FINALLY WENT TO BED ACCEPTING THE IDEA THAT WHATEVER I GOT, I GOT. I CRAWLED OVER DAVE AND INTO MY SLEEPING BAG, FALLING ASLEEP ALMOST INSTANTLY. 

I WOKE UP IN A PANIC THINKING I MISSED THE SUNRISE, ONLY TO REALIZE IT WAS STILL DARK. I GRABBED MY GEAR AND SPRUNG TO THE BEACH. TO MY SURPRISE, THE MILKY-WAY STARED BACK AT ME. I SET UP MY TRIPOD IN RECORD TIME, NOTICING THE SMALLEST BIT OF PINK ON THE HORIZON. I TOOK AS MANY SHOTS AT 30 SECOND EXPOSURES BEFORE THE SUN TOOK OVER THE SKY. THOSE FEW SECONDS AFTER THE SHUTTER CLOSES REMAIN MY FAVORITE BECAUSE IT’S JUST ME AND THE DARKNESS, EXTREMELY HOPEFUL THAT WHEN LIGHT APPEARS AGAIN, MAGIC WILL REVEAL ITSELF ON SCREEN.

THE SUN CREPT UP OVER LONE ROCK AS I STOOD THERE CATCHING THE LAST FEW GLIMPSES OF THE MILKY WAY. IT WAS THE PRETTIEST BATTLE OF NIGHT AND DAY I’VE EVER WITNESSED. WE SAT TOGETHER IN THE DOOR OF THE TENT WATCHING THE DAY FALL UPON US. I DON'T THINK I'VE EVER FELT SO CONTENT OR SO WHOLESOME. THE MORE LIGHT SHED UPON THE LAKE, THE MORE I REALIZED WE'D WOKEN UP ON THE MOON.

EVERYTHING WAS SIMPLE AT LONE ROCK AND I COULDN'T HAVE ENJOYED IT MORE. WE HEARD A PACK OF COYOTES HOWL AND SAT QUIETLY TOGETHER STARING OUT AT THE CALM WATERS OF LAKE POWELL. WE DIDN'T LOOK AT OUR PHONES OR HAVE MUSIC PLAYING. WE JUST SAT AND ENJOYED THE BEAUTY IN FRONT OF US. WE DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE, BUT KNEW WE HAD TO IN ORDER TO REACH OUR NEXT DESTINATION ON TIME.

EVENTUALLY, WE (DAVE) RE-PACKED THE CAR AND I MADE A QUICK OATMEAL BREAKFAST OUT OF THE BACK OF OUR JEEP. WE FUELED UP, WAVED GOODBYE TO OUR BELOVED SPOT ON THE BEACH AND HEADED FOR THE GRAND CANYON.