Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Coyote Gulch

Road trip!! 

Boulder, CO to Escalante, UT (approximately) to backpack Coyote Gulch
Roundtrip car mileage: >1,100 miles
Roundtrip foot mileage: 10 miles 
Nights in the canyon: 2

Hitchhikers picked up - 1 
Hubcaps lost - 1
# of times pulled over - 1
# of times asked if we had pot in the car whilst pulled over - 7
Lbs of salami consumed - many

On the road in CO

Glenwood Canyon and the raging Colorado River

Fearless parking lot bunny

Utah scenery

View from the pass on UT-12 through Capitol Reef Nat'l Park (elev. 9,600 ft)

Wanted by the law in Boulder, Ut.

Aaaand, we're there! Almost...

We arrived at Hole-in-the-Rock Road a little after 9 pm, but with 35+ miles left to travel down the washboard dirt road. We got to the Fortymile Ridge trailhead well past dark, jostled, and one hubcap short. There was a group of campers scattered throughout the parking lot, already asleep, so we made quick work of setting up a bed in the back of the Subie. 

The next morning we ventured out.

Sand-burrowing beetle/grasshopper.

Grassy field tucked into the rocky landscape

Almost to the canyon

SummitPost suggests that you come here and "plunge yourself into the heart of geologic time as you contemplate the eons that have preceded your insignificant life span." So. we. did. 

"Crack in the Wall" entry point near the confluence of Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River

 Too-big backpacks cirsumvrenting the too-skinny crack

View of the confluence and sandy slope where we entered the canyon.

Stevens Arch in the background

Made it to the canyon floor. So very glad to have my boots off and my feet in the water

Mmmm spring water

The glorious waterfall sit.

This is where we bedded down the first night (the tent is visible on the sand in the bottom left of the pic)

Carl scrambled up the hill above the site to check out these pictographs on the canyon wall.

Glad to be done for the day.

The next day we slept in and took our time enjoying breakfast and coffee (via my new french press! thanks C!) and breaking up camp before heading out. It was a cool morning and stepping back into the water was an invigorating start to the day.

Before long we reached Coyote Natural Bridge

Then this fun little waterway

Eventually we reached Jacob Hamblin Arch, on the other side of which we claimed a campsite and ditched our packs so we could explore further up the canyon with a lighter load.

There were lizards aplenty in this canyon, but they were very elusive (I only caught one). The frogs, on the other hand were very accommodating of my need to commune with them...and this brought me endless joy.

Bow chicka wow wow. Nature.


Cloud of tadpoles

Big'un captured by Carl, at which point he stated, "I caught a tadpole. You can quote me on that."

Overcoming my exhaustion with some flexing and growling.

Scouting our route out of the canyon the night before. A group of day hikers had a 150-ft climbing rope at their disposal here  - something we wouldn't have the next day. The climb seemed a little hairy, even without our loaded packs, but it was preferable to trudging all the way out of the canyon.  

Goofin' back at the campsite.

This was a long night, as there were all manner of species engaging in obstreperous mating rituals until well after dark. Nature.

The next morning we made an effort to get up early, but still ended up sharing the escape route with a group of college students in a backpacking class. We all clambered up the first portion of the rock face together, but Carl navigated a route that took us away from the tangle of people. Here he is, almost to the top, with our starting point visible below.

Out of the canyon and marching back to the car.

We made it back to the trailhead by about 9am and hit the road for the long drive home. Our eyes were peeled for our rogue hubcap and we stopped at 2 or 3 decoy hubcaps before...low and behold....!

We saw this cursed creature of evil at a local gas station on our way out of town. Its wings were about 4 inches long, making it freakishly larger than the house moths we get during the summer (which put me in a tizzy fit when I hear them fluttering against the window when I'm trying to fall asleep at night. ugh.)

The end! Great trip. We recommend it highly.