That Infamous Crack


Life really is better Here
Apr 20, 2013
I always appreciate any trip reports, so I try to contribute.
I will be frank here. This report is purposefully languid and laid back. Because, really, that is what this trip was. Two friends taking their time and just lazily enjoying the time in a winding canyon with a gurgling creek.
I am also on my way out the door, so no time to edit. Hope you like it!

Because of a late conference call, a very long time friend and I found ourselves pulling into a trailhead parking lot a little after midnight. On our drive, I had avoided a few deer and a dozen bunnies before claiming one victim that ran back in and under my tire even after I slowed down -I swear. (My kids have rodents as pets, so I have gone soft and actually try to avoid most rodents these days).

It was a moonless night. Besides some winged insect landing on my cheek, some occasional bats, and some bird calling in the night the only sound was my buddy snoring. The night was perfectly still. I lay back and saw a quasar, several dozen meteors, milky way and Jupiter, Mars and Saturn. OF course the pic from the iphone is not able to capture all that... but of note is what I did not see as I slept fitfully and woke again at 4am to watch the stars... No Abomination of Elon Musk. Probably I just missed them when my eyes were closed.

Sunrise came.

We were off quickly to the trailhead, and were soon on the trail. It was not too packed. I had heard of hoards of people... but then again it was Friday morning, not Saturday or Sunday.
The last of the crickets were making their walk of shame home after their long night. Some of them so tired they barely moved. Hard life partying all night like that.

We left the cairned route on purpose. I like a little rim walking and the spring air was not hot yet, even though there were almost no clouds in the sky.
We hit the rim, took in some views and kept walking.
I hit one edge looking down into a little bit of a bowl, and directly below me I saw a few dark shapes scurry down into a den that was straight down from me. The snarls and yaps made me take a step back with a start.
A parent coyote, quite red in color had its teeth bared and was snarling at me about twenty feet down from the rim. Snarling, yapping, laying prone and scurrying a few feet away, always turning back at me. Trying to lead me away from the den.
I watched it go as it went farther and farther, nearing a place where it could have gained the rim. No pics, because I was totally engrossed. My friend had been a little behind me, so he only heard the snarls and the tail of the coyote as it went around the corner.
We went towards where the coyote had gone, walking the rim, but could not see back toward the den, or see the coyote again.
The rim was nice though and flowers were out.
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We ran into a powerhouse of a hiker. She had done the upper half the day before, and now was dropping in the bottom, going up and out today. The only one more impressive that we saw during the trip was a dad who dropped in at the crack with his family, got them going on up the canyon, then ran back up to the car, moved it to the tank trailhead, then proceeded back down the sneak route and met back up with his family from the other way to hike them out.

Anyhow, the drop in was starting to get hot.
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We cooled off in the creek a little and took a break before continuing on. We were on a lazy pace.
With all the time we spent at the south end, one of my favorite views was this tower. You may see it a lot.
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Lunch was at one of the springs, just before a waterfall. Where we cooled off and then scrambled on.
At one point something was falling from the cliff.
I turned and looked at a small black bird- not a raven, but one of those dunce of a black bird that seem their brains were fried by the sun. Well this blackbird was falling from the cliff, fluttering and in a death dance with a dark ribbon of a snake. I am not sure who had who, but as they hit the golden grass and tumbled down their dance abruptly ended. The black bird shook its head a little and eventually took off. The snake disappeared.
Pretty cool.
On we went, back into more familiar territory. A lot of canyon scenes and a gentle breeze.
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I have two favorite colors... spring in the desert only highlights those colors even more.
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Late afternoon shadows.
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Almost all normal spots had a tent. The crowd tales were true.
We found a nice sandy spot by a wall and setup the inner net and took a quick nap before going into the busier couple of miles to see the sights and get water at the spring.
It was like a National Park, and everyone we talked to was from Provo, UT. The bends before and after the arch had kids and people and tents everywhere.
There was also a couple who were climbing up the spine of the arch. I thought for fun, but when we came back they were being helped back out, as they had thought it was the sneak route out.
We spent some time and people watched, but then retreated back to camp where there was almost no traffic, and made some dinner.
Some spicy Thai ramen with ham, carrots, and some strawberry kiwi water to wash it all down.
Once darkness fell the dry leaves around camp became alive. At first I was thinking, ah great. Rodents. Then I went out of the screen for a few minutes and almost kicked a toad. Nope, just like the crickets it was just the toads going out to party for the night. Some lovely tunes followed for the next hour or so.

In a canyon, there are less reasons to get up early. So even though my mind was awake again at 4am. I just put on the headphones for just over an hour until the birds started.
For a good long time, until the canyon was glowing with sunlight on the green leaves, I lay there listening and sometimes mimicking and calling back at the birds.

We took our time. There was nothing pressing.
A whipsnake or maybe it is a racer... but I am going with whipsnake, visited us for breakfast.

Then we went off to try and climb up to the granary and walk up canyon for a little bit.
The views climbing up were pretty nice.
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Eventually we packed up camp and headed back downstream. There were some groups out and it was busier than the day before, but in some cases, people watching is fun.
Things like guys with real expensive gear that was brand new and unsanded, trying to pump water from one of the water falls, when a perfectly good spring was ten feet above them... to posers in bikinis and new chacos... to a few true dirtbaggers who were finishing up longer treks either up or down canyon.
We did not expect solitude, nor regret not having solitude. We were able to laugh and joke and my friend is social by nature.

Seems there are more artifacts up in the alcove. A little surprising, not perhaps that people are digging for stuff, but that more stuff has not disappeared. It is for many of the visitors one of the few times they will ever really be in In Situ history.


Black Lagoon from above.

We stuck to the river instead of cutting the bend and ran into this good mama. She had three fawns of the year. I would expect she had a new fawn or two hidden somewhere in the shade. I believe Muleys have fawns every year. Three though all one year old seems a good accomplishment. She barely raised her head as we neared her, so I started talking to her and she actually took a few steps forward. The six of us had a moment, staring into those big doe eyes...:whistle::lol:
Then someone up canyon on the trail started coming down and she felt the squeeze, and took off across the river with all three right behind.

Here she was before we were interrupted. number three is a little hidden. As we got closer, I had my phone down. My real camera was on my neck, but I never even thought to use it.
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Eventually, after scaring off a sunning toad and our three millionth lizard, we hit a little shade and the trail to the remaining backcountry privvy.
Remarkably clean.

After lunch we took a short siesta, joking about college and filling in a few more blanks from the past couple decades.
Back down canyon, we ran into some more interesting people. We wandered a bit, sat in the shade in the water. Wandered more and took it easy.

We finally decided on a spot easy to depart from the next morning to beat the heat. Then it was time for dinner and a visit with our nearest neighbor who had been down river for several days.

More gathering evening light.
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As we were talking in the twilight, waiting to turn in...
There they were, the Abomination in a long line, right over our heads.

We turned in, talking music and listening to some as a while as we battled the crickets and toads.

We were not up as early as we had decided... but were still up and moving pretty quick in the morning.
Once more... Just love this thing.

The jokes about the crickets turned as dirty as our sandy feet as we trudged up behind a group of packrafters finishing off their 70 mile trek.
We climbed the crack and were back on the rim.

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We wandered south a little bit, but the day was heating up fast. So it was not long before we were back at the truck.
We doused ourselves with ice water at the now overfull parking lot and cleaned up a little bit for the long drive home, while a hiking group in tutus departed for the rim.
The long drive was broken up by a stop at the Escalante Highway 12 trailhead, a trip up to the Hundred Hands petroglyphs. We also saw a pretty famous insta person putting in for a trek down the river.
This was the only pic I took there that I liked. Wildflowers.
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Then it was the long drive home. We talked about stopping and getting food, but never did. We just got some gas and kept driving.
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Because I am able.
Dec 31, 2017
Thanks for sharing!
I have never seen a cricket like that and I probably would have preferred going my whole life without knowing of its existence haha It looks like a cockroach and a cricket had a baby...Not cool. LOL


The mountains are calling and I must go
Mar 31, 2013
Great photos! Loved the B&Ws.
I agree, whip snake.

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