"Best of all, the Escalante country belongs to us. It lies entirely in the public domain, and is therefore the property not of land and cattle companies, not of oil and mining corporations, not of Utah State Highway Department or any Utah Chamber of Commerce, but of all Americans. Its our country. Or should be. It’s supposed to be."
Edward Abbey 1971
The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is a high rugged and remote region. It was the last place in the continental United States to be mapped. The natural beauty of Coyote Gulch defies human perspective. Our group was blown away by the texture of this unspoiled landscape. We explored several superlative side canyons, slot like tributaries, and our eyes were feasted by the sights of several arches, a massive natural bridge, waterfalls and towering walls draped with variegated varnish. An emerald pool was extraordinary.
Southern Utah and Northern Arizona have the greatest canyon systems in the world and I have been fortunate to be able to explore so many of them, however….
Coyote Gulch is the cream of the crop and the canyon that all others in southern Utah are compared. This has been on my radar for many years and we were finally able to put together a trip with a couple of the old gang and a couple of other great guys and explorers.
This was beauty beyond comprehension….but……we had to work for it.
It was a 8 hour drive to the hamlet of Escalante where we spent the first night in a motel and had a fun evening at a local restaurant that served a nice variety of beers, strong beers!
The next morning we drove about 50 miles on primarily the Hole in the Rock back road to the Forty Mile Ridge trailhead and lowered our packs and squeezed down the Crack-in -the Wall.
We then had a brutal 600 yards of hiking in deep sand before getting to the Gulch. From here it was smooth walking and wading.
We camped under an overhang and happy hour started at 4. Dingo and Greg (Dingo’s brother in law) brought down hors d'oeuvres, margaritas, rum and other goodies…a backpacker’s dream!
The next day was absolutely fantastic!! There were cottonwood groves that provided shade and sustenance. There were traces of those that came long before us…people whose spirits pervade the landscape.
It started to rain in the afternoon but we found another overhang to keep dry, and at four we had another round of happy hour and boy were we very happy!!
The next morning we hiked a couple of miles and left Coyote Gulch at Hurricane Wash and climbed out. We then navigated our way a few miles cross country through the desert to our vehicle that Dingo had shuttled to the Jacob Hamlin Trailhead. The navigation was spot on and we came out exactly where Dingo had parked.
On the road out we stopped at Peek-A-Boo and Spooky slot canyons and then started the long drive home at 2 in the afternoon.
This was an excellent trip, well planned and executed by the trip leader Dingo Dawg. The camaraderie was off the charts.
Thank you guys for the time we shared….Jake da Snake, Peter da Wild Goose, Dingo da Dawg and Greg.