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I authored this piece on Lake Powell. pessimism, optimism and the age of climate change for The Land Desk.
I had expectations. That’s always my problem. Expectations.
Two weeks ago, I woke at dawn on a mirror-still morning at Lake Powell. To the northeast, a rim of dank smoke lined a sky lit orange by the slanted rays of the sun colliding with flakes of our northwestern forests. Somewhere, a fish splashed. Two ducks sliced a crisp V across the surface of the lake, making for their nest along the breakwater at Bullfrog.
Rasa Lila, my wife, slipped onto the dock for a run into the desert while I tip-toed across my brother’s houseboat, Pirate’s Paradise. I lifted a cup of steaming coffee from his hands, took a map of the lake from the wall and sat, grateful for a day without wifi, news of COVID, the never-ending Republican clown show and the existential threat of climate change.
We were eight – most of our family, but not quite all. Our plan was to motor up lake to the Escalante arm, make camp and spend several days exploring the canyons. These are the former tributaries of the now-drowned portion of the Escalante River: Indian Creek, Davis Creek, Willow, FiftyMile and in particular, Clear Creek.