A year ago you might remember my post about a trip that I made to Paranuweap Canyon. Well, I made a similar trip again this year, but this time to Coyote Gulch. We also added one more person to our group.
On May 15th, I headed down to the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument with the same friend as last year. Since we left as soon as I finished work, and because of a brief detour to Fish Lake on the trip down, we arrived after night fall, and slept out under the stars about 3 miles west of the Jacob Hamblin Arch Entrance. the best part of the trip down was the chance to find a few quick and easy geocaches. Sure it extended the trip, but for me it was well worth it. My friend seemed to agree.
After breakfast the next morning we headed east to the entrance. This was perhaps the worst part of the trip. It involved a 25 foot downward climb into the mouth of the canyon. The drop was very steep, and there was time where I almost fell, but I managed to keep my balance and the descent was successful.
When we arrived at the base we felt like we had landed in the Garden of Eden. It was still very early and the air was very crisp and fresh. With the cool air and beautiful lighting no picture can capture what we experienced.
After a short drip upstream to check out the awe inspiring Jacob Hamblin Arch, we headed down stream to Coyote Natural bridge. While We enjoyed a couple of nice stops on the way, including some great formation in the water, to a “hanging rock formation. But Coyote Natural Bridge was the best stop along the way.
After Coyote Natural Bridge, only two of us were able to continue on because of family obligations by the other half of the party. So, we continued on to see some petroglyphs and then a small waterfall, and Cliff Arch. While at Cliff Arch I had the distinct pleasure of watching a hawk circle above me and look for pray. I hope he wasn’t mistaking me for pray.
After a brief rest, we returned back to the entrance. While there were other options for entering and exiting the canyon, we decided that the Jacob Hamblin entrance would be the best. But before we ascended to our camp, we first went back to the see the other side of Jacob Hamblin arch, it is was well worth it. You can see the arch in it’s magnitude. It just seems to strech on forever.
After our ascent, and seeing that we had a few minutes to spend, we went to find the geocache located at Dance Hall Rock, and to enjoy a little bit of history. Interesting to know that even in trying times the early pioneers of Utah found time to dance and entertain themselves in this hot arid desert.
After finding the cache we drove to the trail head the lead to Peek-a-boo canyon and Spooky canyon. These were two great canyons, but both for different reasons. We camped at the trail head over night, and we thought for sure that the wind was going to blow us down to the base, but sleeping in the bed of the truck kept us safe.
Peek-a-boo was a more technical climb. We didn’t need any ropes, but it did involve some climbing, and supporting of each other to get through some parts of the climb. It was also fun to see the small arches that dotted the slot canyon.
After completing Peek-a-boo, which we measured as being as narrow as 9.5 inches at one point, we hiked over the the beginning of Spooky. This was awe inspiring because you got to see the wash that lead into Spooky. It was very wide, and a ton of water must have flowed through here at one point.
After a few minutes in Spooky, I soon learned why it had earn the name. If you have the slightest case of claustrophobia, then I would suggest that you not try this canyon. If I had been a lone, I think that I would have just freaked out, and turned around when we were only a few hundred feet from the end.
After finishing Spooky, and taking a short break, my friend talked me into hiking up Dry Fork Gulch with him. While the hike up the fork wasn’t anything too fantastic, the route that we took back to camp was great. The worst part of the trip was this is where I dropped my GPS and the screen smacked against a rock and cracked. It was rendered useless.
We decided after the hike up the gulch that we would take the “high road” back to camp. So we followed unmarked paths back. It was neat because we got to see some great rock formations and some beautifully blooming cactii.
At this point I was ready to go home. But my friend was determined to do one more slot canyon. He had had his heart set on hiking Zebra Canyon for several years, and he didn’t want to miss this oppertunity. So after helping a stranded truck fix their car and get headed back out of the canyon, we stopped a the trail head to Zebra Canyon.
The trip in was long, hot, and boring. The most intresting thing we saw was a slight coloration of the rocks that made it look a litte (okay very little) like Jesus Christ. It must have been the hot sun getting to me, I know.
Eventually, we made it to the mouth of Zebra and it was very nice. As you might well imagine, it is named Zebra Canyon, because it is striped in white and orange. There were a couple of technical (just a hand up) point, and it ended in a couple of keeper pots.
The trip back to the car seemed shorter than the trip to the canyon, and the ride home was nice. I wasn’t as exhausted as last years trip, and I really enjoyed this camp out. I hope you enjoyed the ride along with me.
Just as a note, you might notice that many of these pictures were used in the title splash of this site. I hope to take a some time to use other pictures I have taked these past couple of years, especially those from my Paranuweap trip.