Over Memorial Day we planned a trip to Escalante to hike some slot canyons with my dad and our friend Brent. We drove down Hole-In-The-Rock Road, which was 60 miles of pure washboard hell. We camped by Sooner rocks.
It wasn’t shady, but it met our needs just fine, and we weren’t crammed in with a bunch of other people.
Patrick and Brent enjoyed the view from on top of the rock next to camp with a few beers.
My dad went out searching for good photo sites and ended up slipping on a rock and catching himself with his hand in the middle of a cactus. Pat spent a good hour tweezing needles out of his hand, and we still couldn’t get them all.
The next morning we set out to do the hikes we came for: Peek-A-Boo Gulch, Spooky Gulch, and Brimstone Gulch; all slot canyons off of Dry Fork of Coyote Gulch. We hiked down the mountain into Dry Fork, and got ready to start the first canyon, Peek-A-Boo.
Both Peek-A-Boo and Spooky were amazing to hike through. The rock formations are incredible.
Spooky gets a bit tighter. I was touching front and back. Pat had to breath out completely so that he could fit through. We had to hold our backpacks the whole time.
After we finished those canyons, we set off towards Brimstone. We kept going and going… we never did find it exactly. The GPS said we were in the right area, but we kept getting further away from the trailhead, and our water supplies were dwindling so we headed back. We will have to try again another time.
We headed back to camp and rested for a little bit. Then we continued down the road to Hole-In-The-Rock. This is where some pioneers cut a road to get down to the bottom of the canyon. It is incredibly steep. I can’t even imagine trying to take wagons and livestock down – it was hard enough just walking.
It was all worth it when we finally got to the bottom though. We got a fantastic break swimming in Lake Powell and washing off some grime so we weren’t so smelly.
It looks so inviting from above!
I was really not looking forward to the climb back up the trail, but amazingly enough it was easier to climb than it had been to go down. A family from a boat had made the hike up to the top and we got them to take a photo (as we were all being blinded by the sun).
The entire desert was gorgeous while we were down there. It was springtime, and there were flowers everywhere you looked.
And we got a stunning sunset.
We all slept really well that night.
The next day we packed up camp so that we could move a little closer to home. We went back out Hole-In-The-Rock Road, stopping at Devil’s Garden on the way. It is filled with hoodoos similar to the Goblins, but huge! They were lots of fun to climb on.
I found this pretty little bird nest inside the rock.
We spent our last night at Calf Creek. There is a very popular hike up the canyon to a spectacular waterfall that leaves right out of the campground. Here is a view of the lush canyon from above – you can see this from the Hog’s Back section of road between Boulder and Escalante.
The road itself is pretty amazing. You are driving on a ridge with cliffs down to canyons on either side of you. Worth going to see even if you don’t want to hike in the area.
Anyway, we set off on our hike, which also went past evidence of past occupation. There were a couple of granaries like the one we saw in Capital Reef, plus these pictographs that were clear across the canyon. I think the figures would be quite a bit taller than a person, but it’s hard to tell from so far away.
We finally made it to the end of the trail and were rewarded with this beautiful view, plus the cool air blowing off the water.
The air was enough to cool off my dad and I, but the boys just had to jump in the water. It was awfully cold!
All in all it was a wonderful trip. I love the desert more every time we visit. Next time you all should come along!