Chasing Cousin Coyote through its gulch

our trip down to the Escalante canyon systems to explore its best (arguably) crown jewel- Coyote Gulch-in spring 2010. This would be my third visit to this part of the Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument.

we left Salt Lake at 4pm and drove for six hours until we arrived in middle of nowhere Utah. It was dark by the time we pulled onto the rough, sphincter-rattling Hole-in-the-Rock Road, which we drove for awhile before demand for sleep forced us to pull over and make camp for the night. Which we did in the warm night air, with crickets chirping us to sleep.

our camp somewhere along the Hole-in-the-Wall road

our camp somewhere along the Hole-in-the-Wall road

prickly pear cactus in bloom in the desert

prickly pear cactus in bloom in the desert

The following day- Sunday- we were up and back on the road by 8am. Two hours later we were at the 40 Mile Plateau Well trailhead, hiking across the soft sand and slickrock benches, headed to the great gash in the solid slickrock sea ahead of us. That gash was Coyote Gulch. After an hour of swift hiking under an ever-warming sky, we dropped down into the shiny green oasis of Coyote Gulch, with its life-giving perennial stream of fresh spring water flowing slowly through the large slot canyon, providing life to many bright green trees and plant life. Our drop down point was at the base of Lobo Arch, which served as one of the best campsites that I’ve ever used. And it was going to serve as our campsite on this trip. We found an amazing site underneath a tall oak tree next to the arch.

Kelli at the trailhead, ready to chase Coyotes...

Kelli at the trailhead, ready to chase Coyotes…

another cactus flowering...

another cactus flowering…

Kelli, with the great maw of Coyote Gulch beyond

Kelli, with the great maw of Coyote Gulch beyond

seeing a coyote and going in to chase it

seeing a coyote and going in to chase it

Lobo Arch- Coyote Gulch

Lobo Arch- Coyote Gulch

Coyote Gulch

Coyote Gulch

view from an alcove

view from an alcove

Coyote Gulch- an oasis in the desert

Coyote Gulch- an oasis in the desert

scenes from Coyote Gulch

scenes from Coyote Gulch

Lobo Arch

Lobo Arch

view of the oasis, from Lobo Arch

view of the oasis, from Lobo Arch

view to camp, from Lobo Arch

view to camp, from Lobo Arch

once we had camp established, we began our five mile hike down the canyon towards its confluence with the Escalante River. The day was extremely hot, with the great yellow orb of the sun hanging in a blue sky, radiating 100 degree heat. But hiking in the stream, although the water itself was warm, felt refreshing and we made our way down, enjoying its delights. We sat under flowing waterfalls, passed under Coyote Natural Bridge, hiked up to some Anasazi Indian rock art, caught lizards and did a lot of hiking, until we came to the larger Escalante River. We were in the wilderness deep now, far from any road and/or human habitation. We were less than five miles from the shoreline of Lake Powell that the Escalante drained into. We went up river for a few minutes until we saw the spectacular Stevens Arch hanging high up on a sandstone wall. We then went swimming and hung out in the cooler waters of the river, refreshing ourselves from the hot afternoon. We then had a long hike back to camp, and it was a haul to get back there. We stopped off and refilled our water bottles under a cold spring flowing out of the rock, and it felt mighty refreshing! We got back to our camp about an hour before it got dark, after hiking 12 miles for the day. I stayed up after the light finally left the sky, listening to the crickets chirp and frogs ribbet, waiting for fireflies to come out (I remember watching them zip by in fluorescent flashes 13 years ago), but they never did this time. After swooping bats were getting too close for comfort, I retired to the tent for the night.

happy to be in Coyote Gulch, with Lobo Arch behind

happy to be in Coyote Gulch, with Lobo Arch behind

reflection in Coyote Gulch

reflection in Coyote Gulch

lizard ear ring

lizard ear ring

hangin' in a waterfall, part 1-Coyote Gulch

hangin’ in a waterfall, part 1- Coyote Gulch

under a very large, overhanging boulder in Coyote Gulch

under a very large, overhanging boulder in Coyote Gulch

Coyote Natural Bridge

Coyote Natural Bridge

under the Bridge...

under the Bridge…

out on a limb...

out on a limb…

vibrant color in Coyote Gulch

vibrant color in Coyote Gulch

Anasazi Indian art panel in Coyote Gulch

Anasazi Indian art panel in Coyote Gulch

paintbrush

paintbrush

under the waterfall, part 2- Coyote Gulch

under the waterfall, part 2- Coyote Gulch

me in the Escalante River, with Davis Arch in distance

me in the Escalante River, with Davis Arch in distance

floating down the Escalante

floating down the Escalante

hiking back to camp

hiking back to camp

We were up before the sun, breaking camp and hiking up and out of the canyon before the wilting heat of the day drained us of our remaining strength. It took us a few hours to get back to the car, and when we got there we were tired yet satisfied. We had seen and partaken of a beautiful place, and our lives were much better because of it. We then had an uneventful yet highly scenic drive back home. Another adventure to the canyon country completed. It always has been and continues to be one of my favorite places in the world. Yow!

the desert blooms

the desert blooms

Hole-in-the Rock Road runs strait and narrow through the Escalante wilderness

Hole-in-the Rock Road runs strait and narrow through the Escalante wilderness

leaving this magical place

leaving this magical place

old log schoolhouse (with bell tower), built in the 1800's. Torrey, Utah

old log schoolhouse (with bell tower), built in the 1800’s. Torrey, Utah

old pioneer homestead- Torrey, Utah

old pioneer homestead- Torrey, Utah

Pioneer homestead- Torrey, Utah

Pioneer homestead- Torrey, Utah

old, broken, timeless- in the canyon country- Utah

old, broken, timeless- in the canyon country- Utah

where in the world Escalante-Grand Staircase is

where in the world Escalante-Grand Staircase is

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