Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Escalante - June 2019

In June we popped down to Escalante for a weekend. Anthony hadn't started his new job and I have a pretty flexible schedule, so we left Friday morning to explore a new-to-me place.

We drove down through Torrey and stopped for some views.

Getting into the Grand Staircase....which, by the way, isn't an actual one thing to see, it's a series of cliffs and canyons over many, many miles.

This was sort of a last minute trip, and I didn't really do much research on what to do/where to stay, which kind of makes me nervous. This area is pretty wild and without a lot of infrastructure, and pretty much no cell service either. I also would have felt better in a 4WD vehicle, which is recommended in some places, but I didn't really know that until I got there.

We did stop by the visitors center for some information, but a few of the trails I did happen to look up before didn't show up on the maps they gave us, and some of the trails they did recommend didn't show up in my research. So yeah, seems like going with someone who knows the place or exploring a few times might be needed to really know your way around here. Since it's not a full national park, but rather managed by BLM, it was kind of hard to find the exact maps and info that I was looking for online.

Most actual campsites were full, so we just wild camped, which is fine and plentiful. My first time going without a toilet for multiple days, but hey, we had these bag things. And yes, this is required if you're doing dispersed camping, and rangers can stop you to check for this. Good for two uses!

We decided to head towards the famous slot canyons, with a stop at Devil's Garden. It's a small area that you can hang out in for 30 minutes or so.

Check those layers.

We kept driving down the road to Peek-a-Boo and Spooky - both popular slot canyons.

We started with Peek-a-Boo. It has about a 12-foot wall you need to scale to get up into the canyon. By some miracle, I was able to do it.

Looking down from that first wall.

Here's the full view of that starting wall. There are some grooved steps into that first hollow on the left. Then it's a big step up, wedge your bum, and push yourself into the top.

I did a walk back to the bottom area while Anthony followed some boy scouts into Spooky, which is more narrow. One was enough for me.

Here's our campsite for the night. Just off the side of Hole-in-the-Rock road somewhere. Nice and quiet. People did herd some cattle through there in the morning.

The next morning we took Cedar Wash road back up into town, but we stopped at this little canyon spot for awhile.

Anthony climbed all the way down into the bed while I hung out up top. So many flies.

We stopped in town for gas and a snack, then decided to try out the river area.

This was much prettier to me than the more barren landscapes we'd been in.

Anthony convinced me to cross a river that came up to almost waist level. I've eschewed Tevas and Chacos, but I really wished for some here. Crossing a couple times got us to some peaceful areas like this.

After the river cooling, we popped back into the car towards Boulder and Burr Trail road.

This is the Lower Gulch hike, I think? We were kind of just winging it.

We were the only people in here.

It rained. We got under a rock overhang for awhile.

We kept driving down Burr Trail and camped somewhere off the road.

Scenes from our campsite. Once again, so many flies and gnats.

Our campsite is someone in this photo.

Sunday morning we explored a little more around our area.

All dirt roads.

A few tire tracks, but no other people around.

Storm was coming. We'd driven over a few washes on the way out and didn't want to get stuck when the rain started, so we got outta here before that could happen. But next time I'm down there, this area is where I would start to explore.

We were maybe going to hike the very popular Calf Creek Falls before heading home, but I think we were just ready to head out after this. Next time.

On the drive home I realized we were at Pando just as we came upon it. A very quick veer off the freeway so we could see it. All these aspen trees are connected as one large, living being.

See ya next time, Escalante.

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