Howells Outdoors

Adventure is my middle name...actually it's Keith.
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
444
One of the great parts of going to school at SUU is being involved with so many outdoor opportunities. I got to help co-instruct the Intro to Backpacking course this semester. The culminating trip for half the students --Leave No Trace was very much a part of the course -- was a trip from Hurricane Wash through Coyote Gulch and out Crack in the Wall.



I've never spent much time along the Hole-in-the-Rock Rd and that has always been a bother to me. So in a nutshell, I LOVED THIS TRIP!!!

The course focused mostly on LNT principles of backpacking, emphasizing plan and prepare, and a few simple things to help people get a good feel for. We wanted people to understand the joys of backcountry camping, but to keep it low impact.

We left SUU at 6 am on Friday to drive to the trailhead. I was tired! It only takes 2 1/2 hours to reach Escalante from Cedar.

As we were entering Escalante the guy in the passenger seat and I noticed a large furry creature on the side of road, we thought it might be a large dog. As we got closer it was freakin' bear cub.

That's all that happened with the bear; we saw it.

Hole-in-the-Rock Rd. was all fixed from the monsoon rains that tore it apart, but the damage was obvious.

We ran a shuttle with the extra car to Forty Mile Ridge to make the hike. And once we got back we started the hike.

Now to the good stuff!

We encountered a group of 4 who were doing our same trip, but in reverse; and also a family of 3 who, I think, were just heading to Jacob Hamblin Arch then back the next day. So, that was nice.

As we descended further into the Wash it was fun to see the sandstone cliffs get higher, and higher, and higher. The domes and dunes out here are spectacular. Growing up around Zion NP I was only use to those towering mesas, these are other worldly.

We only went 5 miles the first day and camped in a nice alcove about 1/4 mile from the confluence of Hurricane and Coyote. There was an archeo-site up on the top of the ridge, but we decided to not take the group of noobs up a sandstone slab to a fragile archeo-site.

The instructor is very much LNT oriented, so we fun lessons on cat-holes and the impact of human waste. We talked about self-sumping your dinner to avoid spreading your food for all the little rodents to come dig up. It was great to watch new backpackers drink down a nice, warm glass of mexican rice juice!

I played my hand that night at some star-trails and tried to shoot the Milky Way.





We continued on the next day down to Jacob Hamblin Arch. SOOOO COOOOOOOOL! We get there and the instructed starts off by telling us, 'A common misconception about this arch is that it formed naturally. It was actually a project by the Bureau of Reclamation to try and straighten out the course of the rivers in the area to gain access to the water easier."

I called BS, but he said it with such poise I almost believed him. He said of course it wasn't true.

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We saw plenty of people here, several, who I wish would take a course like this one, with no plan or idea of what they were getting into.

I loved getting into the thick of the canyon at this point: the deep carved river, the giant alcoves, and the amazing plant life. The cottonwoods had a hint of yellow in the leaves; next week should be full fall colors.

Coyote Bridge was AWESOME! All around, the whole trip was awesome!

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We camped the 2nd night just down, about 1/2 mile, of Coyote Bridge.

The next day we hiked down to the Crack in the Wall exit. We decided to drop our bags and hike down to the Escalante and up to Stevens Arch. When I rounded the corner to see that arch for the first time, I was in shock. That is a massive hole in the wall!

WE stayed there awhile and headed back.

Then came the slog up the sand hill, the climb over the sandstone flake, crossing the petrified dunes and then the last jaunt up the other sand hill. I didn't mind the slog. Take it slow and it works out just fine.

At the crack we handed packs up to each other and along the crack. Not sure if it is common practice to use a rope to lower or lift packs, but if it is hopefully you know how to not leave rope grooves. The whole section of wall right there has just been cut up, needlessly.

Loved Coyote Gulch.

I'll be back there again!

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Howells Outdoors

Adventure is my middle name...actually it's Keith.
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
444
Some more photos from my phone.

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nonameiwant

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Jan 25, 2012
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Love it! Looking forward to my first visit in a couple of weeks.
 

Nick

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Very nice! Glad to hear they are emphasizing leave no trace so much in this course. More times than not it's school and scout groups that are the worst offenders. Way cool.
 

Howells Outdoors

Adventure is my middle name...actually it's Keith.
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
444
Yeah, and it is annoying that organizations do the damage. I know that the instructors and professors of the Outdoor Rec. program here aim to drive that home to people. I have to become a LNT trainer before I can graduate.
 

Dan_85

Member
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Jul 25, 2013
Messages
226
Great report and cool photos! Very jealous - I should have been doing this in Mid-September but monsoon put paid to that :(
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
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Mar 31, 2013
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I've got my first Coyote Gulch trip planned in April. I've read that there are several ways into the gulch that differ in difficulty. What were your in/out points? Would you recommend doing it one direction over another? Is there enough to see & do for 2 nights/3 days? Thanks!
 

Howells Outdoors

Adventure is my middle name...actually it's Keith.
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
444
I've got my first Coyote Gulch trip planned in April. I've read that there are several ways into the gulch that differ in difficulty. What were your in/out points? Would you recommend doing it one direction over another? Is there enough to see & do for 2 nights/3 days? Thanks!
We went in at Hurricane Wash and came out at Crack in the Wall. I loved it. I've heard there were other ways in and out but I don't know them well enough to give advice.
Our trip was was a 2 night/3 day adventure which aided what we were accomplishing; a leisurely backpacking trip full of teaching moments for new backpackers.
That's what I can offer in advice.
 

Nick

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Joined
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I've got my first Coyote Gulch trip planned in April. I've read that there are several ways into the gulch that differ in difficulty. What were your in/out points? Would you recommend doing it one direction over another? Is there enough to see & do for 2 nights/3 days? Thanks!


There are some great threads in the trip planning section on the various routes. I'd recommend starting there and bumping one of those up for discussion. My quick opinion, 3 days 2 nights is just fine and more time is good too. There is a plenty to see and do.

A Coyote Gulch BCP Trail Guide will be up this winter as well..
 

WasatchWill

Ready For More
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I went in and out at crack in the wall when I went because it looked more adventurous. We went up and camped near Hamblin arch then stayed a second night about halfway back to the trailhead.

On our way down, we threw our packs down on some rope over the ledge above the crack, after reading about that tip elsewhere. Bad idea, or my technique just sucked because our packs got beat up pretty good tumbling over the edge. Coming back up, we resorted to unpacking our packs and moving our gear through piece by piece. Didn't take much more time than dragging them up the cliff with rope and the packs were spared additional damage.

If I were to make the trip again, I'd probably enter at Hurricane wash (less driving distance too). I'd then set up a base camp somewhere near Jacob Hamblin Arch, and if all the good sites there were taken, just continue up a bit further until finding a suitable spot. I'd then spend the next day going down stream to the Escalante confluence, up to crack in the wall for the incredible view up there, then back down exploring side canyons as time permitted, particularly the one that is supposed to have a "hidden pool" and a couple ruins and petroglyphs. I'd then return to camp for a second night before heading out. If I had more nights to spend, I'd consider using that extra time to check out other parts of the area, such as Willow Gulch, Neon Canyon, Harris Wash, etc, or just pick a favorite spot in Coyote to return to and relax there for the day.

I've read of other ways in, but Hurricane and Crack are certainly the most popular with official trailheads at each.

Sent from my HTCONE using Tapatalk
 

pixie1339

Desperately Seeking Sandstone
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
1,692
I went in and out at crack in the wall when I went because it looked more adventurous. We went up and camped near Hamblin arch then stayed a second night about halfway back to the trailhead.

On our way down, we threw our packs down on some rope over the ledge above the crack, after reading about that tip elsewhere. Bad idea, or my technique just sucked because our packs got beat up pretty good tumbling over the edge. Coming back up, we resorted to unpacking our packs and moving our gear through piece by piece. Didn't take much more time than dragging them up the cliff with rope and the packs were spared additional damage.

If I were to make the trip again, I'd probably enter at Hurricane wash (less driving distance too). I'd then set up a base camp somewhere near Jacob Hamblin Arch, and if all the good sites there were taken, just continue up a bit further until finding a suitable spot. I'd then spend the next day going down stream to the Escalante confluence, up to crack in the wall for the incredible view up there, then back down exploring side canyons as time permitted, particularly the one that is supposed to have a "hidden pool" and a couple ruins and petroglyphs. I'd then return to camp for a second night before heading out. If I had more nights to spend, I'd consider using that extra time to check out other parts of the area, such as Willow Gulch, Neon Canyon, Harris Wash, etc, or just pick a favorite spot in Coyote to return to and relax there for the day.

I've read of other ways in, but Hurricane and Crack are certainly the most popular with official trailheads at each.

Sent from my HTCONE using Tapatalk


When Yvonne and I went we went in and out from the Crack, too. My pack got pretty damaged from lowering it over the Crack. I was pretty bummed because that was only my third trip with that pack, and it went from looking brand new to looking like it was a couple years old over the course of one trip, so apparently our technique sucked, too.
 

Yvonne

I lava it!!!
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
3,680
I guess it depends how heavy the pack is. I used a lightweight Osprey pack and didn't have any holes or wear marks on that pack resulting from lowering it down, so maybe weight plays a role in how much damage you will get to your pack.
My pack wasn't extremely heavy and it was definitely easier to lower down.
Anyway, descending down the Crack is absolutely awesome, especially with the really great views toward Steven's Canyon and Stevens Arch, but as mentioned in another post I would not hike out again this way.
 

Nick

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I think it also depends on whether you're lowering from the first spot or the second spot. The second (lower) spot is easier and should incur less damage to your pack, but most people lower/pull at the first (upper) spot because they see a bunch of rope grooves and assume it is the place. There is a little narrow spot between the two but I imagine 99% of backpacks would fit through it just fine.
 

Howells Outdoors

Adventure is my middle name...actually it's Keith.
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
444
We just handed packs up. It's easy, no damage to packs. Plus we didn't add to the rope grooves.
 

pixie1339

Desperately Seeking Sandstone
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
1,692
I think it also depends on whether you're lowering from the first spot or the second spot. The second (lower) spot is easier and should incur less damage to your pack, but most people lower/pull at the first (upper) spot because they see a bunch of rope grooves and assume it is the place. There is a little narrow spot between the two but I imagine 99% of backpacks would fit through it just fine.

Good to know. I'm fairly certain we lowered from the first spot.
 
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