Planning to do Death Hollow for the 2.5 time....

John Kerby

Feb 18, 2013
Planning my 3rd trip, but it will be my 2nd trip all the way from the boulder airstrip to the highway 12 trailhead. Taking my best friend of 18 years, and his two brothers. Pumped....Really love this place. Have a 'new' bag, a Marine Corp ILBE that I got off of ebay really cheap, and think it will be an awesome bag for the money. Going to post a few pics of last summers trip. I left wichita ks July 9th at 11pm, arrived in escalante about 4pm, started the hike about 5 pm, camped on a plateu above sand creek the first night, then did one night in the canyon at an AWESOME campsite along the river. However, I didn't swim the river at all....Hoping that memorial weekend won't be too early this summer to take a dip.....

Sorry, the following pics are a bit scatttered....Thats me at the Boulder Airstrip trailhead in pic 1. The pic of the gear in the 2nd pic is mine. I used a surplus german 65L rucksack, and a german 25 L pack to hang off my chest. HUGE mistake. The 65l put all the weight on my shoulders, and the chest bag only made it worse. But I love this place so much, I didn't mind. Plus, its good to know where your limits are, as I packed all of that in and out for the full hike. I will point out I am an insulin dependent diabetic, have been 23 years, and am a bit paranoid about running out of food. Had a lot of water and snack food in the chest bag.....This summer I am going to seriously replan my food. I've done it, so now I know what to expect.

Have to say that the two U.S. poncho liners worked GREAT as a sleeping system. No weight at all, kept me warm too. Plan on doing that again.

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Oh, the last pic has a small story. I was so exhausted, so tired by the end of the 2 full day that the FIRST sighting of my white F150 caused me so much joy I stopped and took a picture to remember the moment by. LOVED THE HIKE, but also loved subway and a shower at the end of it. You guys know what I am talking about. Also loved the several large glasses of icewater I downed too immediatly afterward....
Pic 35 is the best place I have ever camped yet. Our tent was to the left of the tree, on the other side of the rock. The sand was like talcum powder on your feet. I walked barefoot all over it while we were there....With the river right next to us, the canyons above.....just an awesome place. I packed in 4 tiki torches (not the sticks, just the lantern parts) and we lit all 4 every night for about 45 minutes before bed. Was a makeshift 'fire' if you will.....Really made this place beautiful after dark.

Don't want to anger anyone with the tiki thing....I know campfires aren't allowed, but I thought the tikis were a tradeoff....A lot more safe, same effect after dark.
Man, that pack combo hurts my shoulders just looking at it! Sounds like a good trip though. Have you tried any of the other canyons in the area? I love Death Hollow, but there are lots of goodies to be had.
My brother is a diabetic and an avid outdoorsman. If you have any questions about how he handles everything, I'd be happy to put you on touch with him.
Man, that pack combo hurts my shoulders just looking at it! Sounds like a good trip though. Have you tried any of the other canyons in the area? I love Death Hollow, but there are lots of goodies to be had.

Nick, what other canyons do you like in the area? I know that's a broad question but what's your favorite?
Nick, what other canyons do you like in the area? I know that's a broad question but what's your favorite?

A broad question and a broad answer. :) I honestly haven't met an Escalante canyon that I didn't like. Here's a list of the major canyons I've hike in the area but in no particular order (other than the groups they are in):

Death Hollow
Little Death Hollow
Fortymile Gulch
Willow Gulch
Fiftymile Gulch
Llewellyn Gulch

Really good:
Coyote Gulch
Boulder Creek
Cottonwood Gulch
Sand Creek (I've only done part of it)
Escalante River (town to bridge)
Willis Creek
Cottonwood Narrows

Pretty good:
The Gulch
Harris Wash
Twenty Five Mile Wash
Escalante River (various stretches below the bridge)

Hope I didn't forget any...

That last group were done in conditions that probably made them not the best. They could easily be upgraded in the right conditions.
I would downgrade Harris Wash.

I think that's why I haven't done much in Escalante: I did Harris Wash early on and did not enjoy it at all.
I do plan to fix that this year, guys have convinced me to spend more time in Escalante!
Yeah, I packed too much.....I am learning though. Just bought a marine corp surplus ILBE, and plan to use it this summer when we go back. It puts most the weight on your hips, and has HEAVY padding on the straps and waist belt.

I overpacked....To be honest, its kind of an extra challenge to me. NOT doing the chest pouch anymore though. All on the back. And bringing a mummy bag thats lightweight. The poncho liners worked...Just think the bag might be more comfortable.

Really pumped. I am just not familiar enough with other hikes to want to try any yet. I know Death Hollow, know what to expect, and how much time it takes. If I do not have a kid by next summer, I might go alone to Utah and explore a few other places. As a teacher who has the summer off, its less a problem for me.....
Wow, that two-packs configuration looks miserable! And mil-surplus; all that canvas and cordura and big beefy zippers sounds more like a work-weekend than a recreation-weekend! (Oh, but I might be biased 'cause I'm still in the military.)

I remember carrying my dad's vietnam-era alice pack into the Uintas, Wasatch, and Zion when I was a boy scout, but I also carried canned chilli to cook in the campfire, and a hatchet, and a blanket instead of a sleeping pad under my sleeping bag.
Seems like you could lighten up by dropping the mil-surplus. I've been reading about gear lately (just bought a new pad). And came across this Big-3 blog post.

The “Big 3″ Backpacking Gear Items
These three things are commonly reffered to as “The Big 3″ because they are the biggest, heaviest and most expensive pieces of backpacking gear you will buy.

Sample “Big 3″ Backpacking Gear Lists
#1 – “Lightweight” Big 3 (8 pounds, 5 ounces)
#2 – “Ultralight” Big 3 (5 pounds)*
* This is my “big three” from my Colorado Trail thru-hike this summer.

#3 – “Hyperlight” Big 3 (2 lbs, 4.5 ounces)
I did a quick Google search and found references to the ILBE being able to carry 120 lbs, or whatever cubic whatever, but couldn't find a weight for the pack itself. Have you weighed it?
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