Date: May 31 - June 2, 2018
Distance: 40.5 miles
This last summer, our "big" hiking trip was a little unusual. Instead of climbing mountains or up over dessert land formations, we went down into a canyon and followed a small river to it's confluence with the Escalante River.
One extra tid-bit that made this trip a little extra unique from our normal; Brandon and I "decided" to sleep out in the elements. Alright, lets be honest, I forgot to pack the tent. 😳
Day 1 (pseudo)
Date: May 30, 2018
Distance: 4.2 miles
Departing time: 5:00 pm
Finishing time: 7:45 pm
Okay, so this wasn't technically day one of our Coyote Gultch adventure, BUT it was too good to leave out.
This was actually a day of travel for us. However, while Brandon and I did our research for the trip we came across this little slot canyon that looked too cool to pass up. It was just an hour from out destination for the night and right along the road we'd be driving down. So, we stopped for a little detour.
This was without a doubt the tightest slot canyon we've ever explored. In multiple places we had to take our backpacks off to squeeze through the small crack. It also included a little canyoneering which made for a super fun hike.
The real Day 1
Date: May 31, 2018
Distance: 13.2 miles
Departing time: 6:50 am
Finishing time: 6:00 pm
This was a long, hot day! We woke up from our first tentless night to a gorgeous sunrise and started the journey into the canyon. The first 3-4 miles of the canyon was still very wide, but as we hiked in the canyon walls quickly began rising around us. We decided to take a little off-shoot up a side canyon for lunch. This was obviously not a marked trail and the thick vegetation and constant stream navigation left us exhausted and with soaked shoes. We finally came to a beautiful spot that was a bit more open and sat amazed at the rock walls around us.
We then navigated back to the main trail. Again exhausted and hot, we hauled up in a shaded curve of the canyon and waited out the mid-day heat. After a nice long break, we headed on again. Curving through the canyon, we finally walked up to our destination at Jacob Hamblin Arch.
To our surprise this was a busier destination than we had expected. This location is actually accessible by a couple other trailheads with a much shorter hike in. This meant most other hikers had beat us in for the night and we wandered around looking for an open camping site. We didn't get to sleep right next to the arch like expected, but found a spot not much further down the canyon. As we set up camp and settled in for the night, we listened to all the other campers echoing through the canyon.
Date: June 1, 2018
Distance: 18.6 miles
Departing time: 6:30 am
Finishing time: 5:30 pm
This was the day we made it to the confluence! With the number of miles required to make it to the confluence and back, my brother and his girlfriend decided to stick around camp and do their own exploring of the canyon near our tent site. Because of this, we were able to leave all our extra gear that we would not need during the day. This also allowed us to take off extra early in the morning as we did not need to pack up camp like we usually do.
We all started out hiking and after a couple miles, Luke and Taylor found the perfect spot to stop and hang out as we continued. The majority of this day's hike included trekking through the river, so we all opted to hike in our Tevas. We wound through the canyon, coming across a waterfall, multiple arches, rocks we could barely climb over, and finally the confluence. The day was so hot, that we took about an hour hanging out at the confluence, dipping our legs in the water and walking up the Escalante river just to explore.
Rejuvenated, we headed back. The long miles in Teva's proved to be a poor decision as my feet were throbbing. The day's heat was strong, but we did come across a super small waterfall spraying water everywhere and we soaked ourselves to cool off. We finally made it back to camp and I collapsed onto my sleeping mat for the night.
Date: June 2, 2018
Distance: 8.7 miles
Departing time: 6:00 am
Finishing time: 10:20 am
Our final day was the trek out. We followed the same trail out of the canyon that we had come in on. This time we did not take a detour, and we flew out of the canyon ready for real food and a real bathroom. (Did I mention yet that we had to carry out ALL our waste. This meant carrying a PVC pipe that we loving called our poop tube. I think you get the picture.) We left so early in the morning that we made it back to the car by 10:30 just as the heat of the day was starting to become unbearable. Even though Ryan, Brandon and I were exhausted from day two's long hike to the confluence, Ryan and Brandon couldn't help themselves from racing the last quarter mile back to the car. What chumps. 😆