Guest’s Log, Voyage of the Wildwind II on the velvet waters of Lake Powell, Utah, August 15th to 22nd, 2004. Surviving crew include houseboat owner David Herberg, with guests Craig and Betty, Rich and Kathy, John and Margi, Randy and Roma.

By Rich Pasco

Lake Powell, Utah, is a paradise virtually undiscovered by naturists. It offers thousands of miles of coastline, spectacularly beautiful scenery, a warm summer climate, and exciting hiking trails. It's so vast that most of it can be enjoyed nude without offending anyone.

On Sunday, August 15, 2004, nine people boarded the houseboat Wildwind II at Bullfrog Bay, Utah, for a week of clothing-optional cruising on Lake Powell. Some of us (like me) remained nude for the entire week, except for a few trips into marinas and heavily touristed areas. A few others, not nudists at all, remained clothed the entire week. And a few dressed and undressed apparently at whim.

Lake Powell is actually a few hundred miles of the Colorado River and its tributaries backed up behind the Glen Canyon Dam. The dam itself is in Arizona, but most of Lake Powell is in Utah.

Bullfrog Bay is one of the few places where Lake Powell is accessible by road. The few businesses and services there cater to vacationers and boaters. Its only permanent residents are the workers at these businesses.

The Wildwind II [04081509.jpg] has 20 shared owners, each of whom has use of the boat for two one-week slots, one in high season and one in low season. One owner is Bay Area Naturist David Herberg, who invites new and old friends to join in his summer week, via his personal web site.

As editor of the Bay Area Naturists' newsletter The Frisky Banner, I have helped him advertise his trips by publishing an advance write up each year. This year, my friend Kathy and I decided to go along.

The first challenge I found was getting there from my home in San Jose. It's nearly a thousand miles by the shortest highway. It's 300 miles from Salt Lake City, so we flew there and rented a car and drove. One can also fly directly to Bullfrog by light plane, but there is only one scheduled flight per day from Salt Lake City, it costs way more than renting a car, and luggage is limited to 25 lbs/person. Even for nudists, that's pitifully little when you're preparing to play for a week.

We drove to Bullfrog on Saturday and stayed Saturday night at the Defiance House Lodge [04081505.jpg], the only hotel in Bullfrog. When Lake Powell is full, the lake is just below the lodge's deck, but due to low water level (130 feet below full, and dropping daily) the lake was a distant view. [04081501.jpg, 04081503.jpg, 04081504.jpg].

On Sunday morning, we loaded the houseboat [04081509.jpg] and took off. In tow, we had three other boats: David's speedboat, and John's Sea Doo personal watercraft and Sea Cycle pedal-powered catamaran.

David had warned us to expect things to go wrong, but we didn't expect problems so quickly. The speedboat wouldn't start (due to a dead battery, it turned out) and John's Sea Doo quickly inhaled a slack tow line and wrapped it around its impeller. Later, in the cove where we spent the first night, John turned the Sea Doo upside down in the water to remove the line, but got so much water inside that it flooded the engine and nearly sank. Later, John lost the spark plug he had removed to drain the water, and had to make a special trip back to the marina to buy a replacement. Luckily by this time, David had the speedboat working [04081538.jpg].

Despite the famous Mormon presence in Salt Lake City, Lake Powell is populated mostly by fun-loving vacationers from around the USA. Because of the lake's size, you don't have to come closer than a few hundred yards to anyone except at the marinas. Almost everyone there is on vacation and dedicated to having fun, not to worrying about what others are wearing. We would always exchange a cheerful wave with passing boats, and nobody seemed to have the least issue with the nudity on our boat. We were surprised, though, not to encounter any other naturists in our week afloat.

Lake Powell is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Because there is no federal law against nudity, nudity is permissible as it is at other NRAs, such as California's Golden Gate NRA (home of Baker Beach in San Francisco) and New Jersey's Gateway NRA (home of Gunnison Beach at Sandy Hook). We made a stop at Rainbow Bridge National Monument, which is under a different Federal administration.

Rainbow Bridge is a very famous tourist spot. For all practical matters it is only accessible by boat. When Lake Powell is full, one can boat close to the arch, but with the lake so low it was an easy, worthwhile half-hour's walk. We chose to be clothed in case we encountered other tourists, but in an uncrowded moment we managed to snap a nude photo. [04081821.jpg] When we returned to the boat, the lake had dropped some more and park workers were busily relocating the floating dock to deeper waters. [04081842.jpg]

Our most interesting side trips were into the many the less spectacular, very narrow side canyons. For some such trips, the Sea Cycle proved to be the vehicle of choice. [04081861.jpg] On more distant side trips, the speedboat was preferred. [04081917.jpg and 04081918.jpg] although vigilance was important to not scrape the narrow canyon walls [04081957.jpg]. Some canyons were so narrow that the only way to explore them was to swim. [04081961.jpg]

The Wildwind II proved a comfortable home afloat for the nine of us. Its water slide was a fun diversion. [04081616 through 04081622]

Weather throughout our trip was pleasant. Daytime highs were in the mid 90's with very low humidity. Brief afternoon showers most days brought cooling relief, and the nights were pleasant after the evening winds died down. Many people chose to sleep "under the stars" on the top deck, others stayed inside, except the last night saw everyone on top.

Sunday when we returned to Bullfrog Bay it was hard to say goodbye to the Wildwind II and our friends, and to return to a busy urban life of traffic jams and clothing.

All images and content copyright ©2004 Rich Pasco.  All rights reserved.

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