5/30/16: Houseboating on Lake Powell

So our first family vacation of the year was one I’ve been anticipating for many months, as I’ve not been able to get out and do any astrophotography for quite awhile. Although the 3/4 moon wasn’t rising until after midnight, unfortunately the Milky Way also wasn’t rising until about 10PM, giving me a limited (and late) window for shooting. The weather certainly cooperated for our 5 days on the lake, and the 75′ houseboat we rented from Bullfrog Marina was amazing.


Houseboating under the stars on Lake Powell

Few places in the U.S. offer such a plethora of accessible (relatively I guess, assuming you have a boat) dark sky locations. The region around Bullfrog Marina (south of Hanksville, UT) is sparsely populated with very few towns to light up the sky. Hiking around the barren landscape in the middle of the night is a unique experience, on one hand completely safe from bears, mountain lions and such, while on the other hand you wouldn’t want to tumble yourself down a cliff as you’d likely never be found.

Milky Way over Lake Powell

Our Milky Way Galaxy arches over the desert southwest, near Lake Powell, Utah.

While out shooting Sunday night, I experienced a silence so deafening that it was hard to imagine. Whether we realize it or not, there is almost always sound around us, whether we are in a structure or in the outdoors. In the case of Lake Powell: wind, water lapping the shores, fish jumping, various boat sounds, a bat or moth flying by, a small piece of gravel rolling down the slickrock (from where I do not know). For about five minutes the wind quit completely, and shortly thereafter the lake became absolutely still and quiet. My surroundings were completely and utterly silent, in a way I’ve not experienced in my 5+ decades on this earth.

Anyway, enjoy. I did.