Escalante Area - Memorial Day weekend

Nanda

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Joined
Jun 30, 2013
Messages
282
Having never been to GSENM area before and only driven through byway 12 once few weeks ago, made some concrete plans to explore the area this past weekend. Initially I had planned to sneak out of work early on friday but had to ditch it and saturday morning leave it was. That also meant I could take a longer route and explore intermediate attractions along the way.

Left SLC around 10AM and didn't stop much until reaching Hanksville. Scooter is a great outdoors dog and does great in car rides, but Hope just hyperventilates the whole way and I have to stop from time to time to get her hydrated and calmed down. Anyways, from Hanksville I just decided to take a route to Burr trail
through Capitol Reef, as i had never explored that part of the park.

Took one of dirt roads that led to park boundary and beyond and even found a decent campsite, but it was far too early in day to call it quits.

Dirt road leading to park boundary.



Blooming cactus.

We did a short hike and then back on the Notom Bullfrog road, which soon turned to a dirt road. hardly saw much traffic there and few stopped cars on the side.



Waterpocket fold.


Pleasant trail to drive on.

Next up was junction for Burr trail and going up the switchbacks. It was an easy enough ascend, taking in the views. I even saw a Lexus LS out there, descending down the trail.



Switchbacks from the top.

It was getting late in the day and I knew I wouldn't make it for hike to Little death hollow as planned, but I still had to find the road for a campsite. I have been using Backcountry Navigator app on my phone with pre-loaded maps and it was great here again with route finding. About a mile in or so on wolverine road and found a decent spot for campsite.



Dogs were happy to be out of car and rest in trailer.

Saw few cars go up and down the road, presumably to the trailhead. Pretty uneventful, relaxing night taking some night photos that didn't turn out great.


Pork tacos for dinner.

Sunday

I had pretty clear agenda for the day, drive down south to Hole in the rock road and hike Willow gulch(guide here..). While driving towards Boulder, came across a nice gulch area to hike and have morning coffee.


Nice shaded area with small stream flowing through, I missed sign for the trail so not sure what trail it was.



Dogs enjoying the hike.

Next stop was Hole in the rock road. I knew it was all dirt road but didn't expect it to be so rutted in most places. Driving that road was probably the worst part of the trip(after the traffic on I-15), I just hated it. Saw a variety of cars, including Priuses and what not on it. Would be a slow going all the way 50 miles in for sure.


Stopped at Devil's garden for lunch.



Hope was getting too excited to chase lizards and whatever moved on the trail.

Moving on, I didn't stop anywhere else but keeping an eye out on potential campsites/side roads. Finding trailhead was pretty easy, again thanks to @Nick trail guide.
Saw few cars parked there and we set it off in mid-day sun, not a great idea.

Dogs(scooter particularly) suffered terribly in that first descent into the canyon. I briefly thought about aborting and going back to trailhead as Scooter couldn't walk in that hot sand.


Resting in first shaded area we could find.

Another hiker coming back told me I was pretty close to water and trees. Decided to carry scooter and just make a run for it and 10 minutes later we were in paradise.



I dunked Scooter in a small pool so he would cool down a bit and Hope was just loving all that water.



Nice little trail.


Followed the trail of water all the way to Broken Bow arch.


Probably should've gone further but I didn't want to push Scooter too much and decided to turn back after a while.

Now I had to find a campsite and dogs were panting pretty bad from the heat back at trailhead. Took a side road few miles on the way back and decided to call it a day there. Not the greatest campsite, lot of cattle dung around and what not. Later in the day/night saw few more cars come and leave, so campsites were definitely at a premium. Another uneventful night punctuated by some Coyote/fox? howls.

Slept well into Monday morning, all tired from previous day's hikes. I had plan to explore some lake in Boulder mountain and brought along my fly gear. Took a turn off for Oak Creek reservoir and quickly ran into trouble in trail. Rear wheels started spinning and wouldn't pull the trailer up the hill. Locking the differential got me out of it and luckily there was enough space to turn around. Boulder mountains would've to wait for some other time.


Doesn't look too ominous in this picture, but it was steep uphill and didn't want to risk it.

Since I was going to Fremont anyways, maybe I planned to check out fremont river or other streams in the area. Upper Fremont looked pretty unfishable, so moved on to UM creek(another area I've always wondered about).
It's a beautiful little stream with deep undercuts, but unfortunately was flowing too high. Tried fishing for a while but no bites or signs of fish. Decided to just give up on fishing and drive back to SLC. Traffic was a nightmare in I-15, but that was expected on Monday afternoon of memorial day weekend.

Overall I was pretty happy with the trip and dogs were thrilled as well. Didn't get to Little Death hollow canyon, maybe some other time, but Willow Gulch was well worth the effort.
 
Last edited:

Mike K

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Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
844
Looks like a fun outing exploring new areas for you. And I like your setup (vehicle and trailer). Good trip report, thanks.
 

slc_dan

Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
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Jun 7, 2012
Messages
1,686
Good intro to the area. I've definitely stayed on that same spot on the Wolverine road. Headed that way on Sunday :dance:.

I'm not sure if it was word play or not, so excuse me, but it's Waterpocket Fold, not Waterfold pocket :scatman:.
 

Nanda

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2013
Messages
282
Good intro to the area. I've definitely stayed on that same spot on the Wolverine road. Headed that way on Sunday :dance:.

I'm not sure if it was word play or not, so excuse me, but it's Waterpocket Fold, not Waterfold pocket :scatman:.
Oops. thanks for the correction.
 

Mike Jones

Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2013
Messages
147
So I totally think I recognize your vehicle and trailer. I think I may of saw you at some point on Hole In the Rock Road this weekend. Your trip looks awesome, and makes me want to explore more of the area. This weekend was my first time out there!
 

Nanda

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2013
Messages
282
So I totally think I recognize your vehicle and trailer. I think I may of saw you at some point on Hole In the Rock Road this weekend. Your trip looks awesome, and makes me want to explore more of the area. This weekend was my first time out there!
Yep, its definitely possible. I was out there first time as well.
 
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