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John Guilford's Hikes

Escalante River, Utah on 2002-05-27

Date: 2002-05-27

Location: Escalante River, Utah

People: (including myself): Joe Tarantino

Start:		4:30	0
Turn around:	5:55	~2
Out:		7:05	~4
As we only had a couple hours in the evening for a hike, we decided to hike upstream from Rt 12 along the Escalante River.  Within a few miles [ PIX5 ]there was supposed to be Escalante Natural Bridge and Natural Arch.  This looked promising, so we drove to the parking lot and prepared to hike.  Just off the parking lot is an ominous sign saying "Yup! You Gotta Get Wet" just before the first crossing of the Escalante River (which did have water running in it).  The sign wasn't immediately accurate as there were some logs and rocks across the creek and we were able to cross w/out wading and w/out difficulty. 

The trail then turned west on the south side of the river.  The river tends to meander while the trail is a bit straighter.  The canyon walls are closer near the trailhead, but then they widen out a bit.  As we proceeded through one of the first open areas, we passed a couple of backpackers coming the other way. 

We followed the trail for about a mile and half before the river started encroaching on the southern canyon wall.  We managed to squeak by on the first approach, but shortly thereafter it became clear that we would indeed have to cross the EscalanteJoe went first.  The water level was just about at his boot tops, but with judicious steps and some amusing looking leaping towards the end, he crossed while keeping his feet dry.  I wasn't so lucky.  About half way across I felt water running into one of my boots.  I then proceeded to try the maybe-if-I-run-fast-enough-the-water-won't-get-in-my-boots trick (which, by the way, doesn't work).  Oh well, at least my feet were only damp not flooded. 

We continued on along the north side of the creek for a ways.  After another meander the trail definitely crossed the creek again.  We thought about going cross country on the north side, but it seemed to make more sense (and it was easier going) to follow the trail.  We looked for good places nearby to cross w/out getting our feet wet, but to no avail.  I decided it was just easier to take my boots off and wade it than to mess around trying to cross with my boots on.  I took off my boots and Joe followed.  After a quick wade we continued on, barefoot for the time being.  The trail was sand so it wasn't too bad going barefoot.  After a couple minutes our feet dried enough that we could brush off the sand and put out boots back on. 

[ PIX1 ]We then came across Escalante Natural Bridge.  After some photos, we continued on.  A half mile further, the trail again crossed the river, but we continued for a ways on the south side, eventually reaching a place where we'd have to cross.  Again there was no good place to cross with boots on, so I just took off my boots and waded it.  But not Joe.  There was a large rock about 3' above the creek.  Joe figured that from that [ PIX2 ]rock, he could take a running jump and reach a sand bar mid-stream.  From there, it was shallow enough to wade in his boots to the opposite bank.  He tossed his pack across and gave me his camera (I wanted a photo of "the leap").  He then took the leap and it went fine.  On the north side we took some pictures of Natural Arch and then headed back. 

Since it was only a half mile till the next stream crossing, I opted not to bother putting back on my boots.  I just waded across and started down the trail (somewhat slower than if I had my boots on).  Joe waded to the sand bar and found a place he could jump across safely.  After the next [ PIX3 ]crossing (which both Joe and I waded barefoot), we went a ways until the [ PIX4 ]sand dried, and then we put our boots back on.  At the final stream crossing, we scoped out the river and found a place where it looked like we could cross on rocks safely.  This we did and continued back on the south side of the creek.  It was getting on towards sunset now, and the canyon walls that were still in the sun had a nice reddish tint to them. 

We made the final crossing on the rocks/logs and drove back to our campsite, a fine evening hike. 


[ PIX5 ] Sign at beginning of hike "Yup! You Gotta Get Wet". 

[ PIX1 ] Escalante Natural Bridge. 

[ PIX2 ] Natural Arch. 

[ PIX3 ] Joe crossing Escalante River sans boots. 

[ PIX4 ] Sunset light on canyon wall. 

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Last updated on: Mon Jun 8 16:50:16 PDT 2015