IntroductionThis is a brief trip report album to describe our trip on May 28-31 2010 to the Escalante River Region in Southeast Utah. The region is by far and away one of the most beautiful regions on earth. The idea is to let the photos tell the story.
May 28-29: Fortymile and Willow CreeksThe original idea was to do a loop featuring Scorpion Gulch in the Escalante region, but we found that the road there was rougher than it used to be. Since we didn’t expect the road to be rough, we brought our low-clearance vehicle.
As a backup plan we (Kessler, Shaylee, Kimberly, my dad and me) did the Fortymile Gulch and Willow Creek Loop, which is no bad thing. The Fortymile Gulch/Willow Creek is one of the best and most scenic routes in the world. Some sources bill this as a difficult route, but our two kids had a blast on it.
After a late start (due to trying to drive the Early Weed Bench Road), we started down Fortymile Creek. The canyon starts out as an uninteresting wash, but after not too long it drops into a slot canyon. We bypassed the slot on the left and came down another side slot (rated by some sources as class 4) before dropping into the canyon and eating lunch.
After lunch it was down canyon. The best part of the canyon started at a waterfall. After avoiding poison ivy very carefully we bypassed the waterfall and continued down canyon. The canyon slots up and is filled with clear running water and became extremely beautiful. There were several sections to wade or swim through and this was the kid’s favorite part. It was a hot day and the water temperature was refreshing, plus the kids really liked all the fish and crayfish swimming in the water.
After continuing through the wading and swimming sections, we eventually found ourselves at the Willow Creek. Kimberly and the kids waited at the junction while my dad and I explored down canyon. We explored down canyon for an hour or so, but it was getting late so we returned back up to the junction.
We all swam and waded up lower Willow Creek to where we found a small but adequate sandy bench to sleep on for the night. It was a nice place, but it was noisy with all the croaking frogs whose noise was echoed off the canyon walls.
After waking up, we had a leisurely breakfast before hiking up Willow Creek. It was a great canyon in the lower end until we got to the huge Broken Bow Arch. We went and hiked up and around the arch before eating lunch at the pools and waterslides near the base of the arch.
After a good soak, we headed up canyon. Since we didn’t have a car shuttle, we decided to finish the canyon directly up to the road rather than exiting the standard route. Rumor was that there are some nice slot canyons up there. We negotiated the first slot without packs and Kessler thought that it was so much fun that he wanted to do it again (which we did). After retrieving the packs and heading up canyon we got to some more nice slots. We also found out that the slot canyon was blocked by a rattlesnake. We had to chimney up and over the snake, but it was exiting to say the least.
After exiting the slot we headed across the desert to the Hole in the Rock Road. We bumbled a bit since we didn’t have a good topo map of the route (because we were planning on doing different canyons rather than this one), but we made our way through the heat and reached the road not far (one mile or so) from where our car was parked. We got a ride for the last short distance. It was an awesome trip and one of the kid’s all-time favorites.
May 30: Peek-a-boo and Spooky CanyonsMy dad had to get to Green River in the afternoon in order to catch the Greyhound Bus, so we had to do a relatively short hike today. We chose Peekaboo and Spooky Canyons, two interesting canyons in the Escalante region.
We left very early in the morning and headed for Peekaboo Canyon. Kessler and Shaylee loved the climb into the canyon and had a blast exploring it and climbing over the obstacles. When the slot widened to a wash, we hiked across the desert to the head of Spooky Canyon.
The kids really liked climbing through the canyon and due to the narrowness of the passage beat the adults through. Because we were trying to keep up with the children, I didn't get any photos of Spooky Canyon! After Spooky Canyon we headed to the slot in Upper Dry Fork. Kessler, my dad and I explored Dry Fork while Shaylee and Kim played in the sand in the shade. After exploring Dry Fork we headed back to the trailhead and drove to Green River where we did some church activities.
May 31: Mill CreekIt was a hot day, so we drove from Green River to Moab in order to hike Mill Creek. Mill Creek is a good one in hot weather since there are many swimming holes along the route.
We hiked up canyon and into the North Fork, visiting many petroglyphs panels along the way. It was a challenge to avoid the poison ivy, but we did so carefully. After reaching the biggest pool and waterfall, we ate lunch and hung around. The kids like to swim in the pool above the big one and Kim and I slid down the falls and into the pool.
After getting completely soaked, we headed back to the trailhead in hot weather. We were glad that we were wet.