Escalante Area Wandering: Red Breaks

piper01

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Oct 27, 2013
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179
Day 2
Red Breaks was not one of the hikes I had originally planned on doing. From reading other trip reports, I knew it was a hike I would love, but that it was out of my league as a solo hiker. Fortuitously, a group I met returning from Zebra ended up camping nearby. We got to talking and I learned that they were hiking Red Breaks the next day. The were kind enough to invite me to join them, and I jumped at the opportunity!

We got a late start, between letting an additional couple who had arrived in the wee hours of the morning sleep in and waiting to see if the morning clouds would clear, which they did. The hike up the canyon was uneventful, with a smattering of tamarisks turning yellow and orange. We reached the first dryfall, then backtracked to find the cairns we had missed marking the bypass route.
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Continuing upcanyon, I found this cool erosional surface filled in with clay between two sandstones.
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After more hiking up the wide wash, the canyon walls finally began to narrow and the obstacles started appearing. The first were just small rocks that we could easily scramble over.
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(Please excuse the clumsy editing- I don't want to post strangers' faces without their awareness/permission).

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Then we hit a major obstacle: the boulder pile that you must go through rather than over. It was disconcerting wiggling through, hoping the boulders wouldn't choose that moment to dislodge and crush me. I definitely understood why you need at least 1 partner for this hike. Somebody had to pass the packs up, and it was nice to have a hand to grab at the top.
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Many of the obstacles we could just stem or bridge over.
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Any some of the canyon was (relatively) easy walking.
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Then we hit more obstacles.
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The canyon had some beautiful curves.
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The slots of the main canyon ended and the walls opened up again. We took a break to have a snack and enjoy the view, then climbed out the left wall to bypass the dryfall we knew was coming up at the entrance to the West Fork.
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Bypassing the dryfall.
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Descending back into the West Fork.
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The canyon walls had some intriguing features. I was mesmerized by how the white mineralization followed some of the foresets up then cut over to another one.
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And these features were just crazy!
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We clambered over two more major chokestones.
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We needed a rope for the next obstacle we hit (I forgot to take a picture of it), and we were just about to hit our designated time to turn around for the return hike, so we called it a day and started the hike back. The sun was getting low in the sky and I caught a momentary glow on the canyon walls as we retraced our steps through the main branch.

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This was an amazingly fun hike. Many thanks to the kind people who allowed me to experience it with them!
 
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