Lake Powell is one of the most popular lakes in the country for houseboat rentals. Although many outdoor enthusiasts know that the lake was named after John Wesley Powell, most don’t know very much about this patriot who was fascinated by exploring.
Powell was born in 1834 and was the son of a traveling preacher. He was passionate about natural sciences and geological expeditions. In his 20s, he ambitiously traveled across Wisconsin on foot and rowed nearly all of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.
However, Powell’s love for his country trumped his passion for the great outdoors. At the age of 27, he enlisted in the Army to fight in the Civil War as a Union soldier. He quickly rose from private to sergeant major and then to second lieutenant. During his service, he tragically lost the majority of his right arm at the Battle of Shiloh. He valiantly returned to combat after recovering from his injury.
After leaving the Army, Powell had a brief stint as a geology professor. But in 1867, the call to explore the wild beckoned him and he began leading expeditions in the American West. Two years later, Powell crossed the majority of the Green and Colorado Rivers in an expedition that is now famously known as the Powell Geographic Expedition of 1869.
The Powell Geographic Expedition was the first time explorers successfully completed passage of the entire Grand Canyon. Ten brave men began the journey, but only six were able to complete it. Four of the men abandoned the mission because of its difficulty.
At the beginning of the trek, one of the four boats being used was destroyed by rapids, these dangerous waters later named Disaster Falls. Thankfully, everyone survived the incident but many supplies were lost. Despite the setback, they remained committed to the expedition. As they journeyed, the group mapped the rivers and named significant landmarks that are still used today. In fact, it was Powell who chose the name Glen Canyon for the area.
Thanks to Powell’s curiosity and his perseverance, we now can enjoy the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Once the Glen Canyon Dam was completed, it was only fitting that it should be named after him.
Come see the natural beauty that captivated John Wesley Powell with a houseboat rental from Forever Houseboats. We are already booking dates into 2017, but there's still plenty of time to reserve a houseboat on Lake Powell for this year. Contact us today to make your reservation.