Ellen in her Element, Atop a Huge Rock
Canyons of Escalante RV Park
Though the wind picked up overnight, this morning dawned as a bright and near cloudless day. I can feel a light wind buffeting Li’l Beast. Low temperature overnight was a moderate 38 F. For weeks we’ve had freezing temperatures overnight. We set our heater to 55 at night. Our inside temp. dropped to a low of 51, though I never heard the hearer switch on. Escalante is expected to be sunny for the next week with daytime temperatures in the mid 50’s to 70. Bryce Canyon is higher and will be significantly colder overnight.
We plan a somewhat leisurely morning: cappuccino and a scone, a shower, some laundry, and a short out and back hike. A local tour company, High Adventure, provides a drop off and pickup service to trail heads for a fee. I’d rather not drive Li’l Beast over washboard dirt roads. Jeep rental at $295 for an 8 hours is too much. I’d like to hike Zebra and Tunnel slot canyons or Peekaboo and Spooky slot canyons, but at $42 and $72 per person Ellen is less inclined. She left a brochure open to some hikes on the table for me this morning. There’s no mention of these slot canyons. Harumph.
Showers and laundry took some time. Our clothes came out of the dryers damp to moist. Shirts and pants are hanging inside. It’s 1:30 and we’re just hanging out.
We’ve heard lots of squeaking as we drive along with our windows open. I think our sway bar bushings are worn. I’m looking into having them replaced in St. George or worst case San Diego or San Francisco.
Peekaboo & Spooky Slot Canyons
I called High Adventure Tours to learn more about their shuttle hikes. I had wanted to hike Zebra and Tunnel Slot Canyons. Ellen asked, “Do they have water in them?” “Yes, Zebra does”. We switched over to Peekaboo and Spooky Slot Canyons. The loop hike is rated intermediate to difficult. There’s a climb into Peekaboo and there’s a hidden hole in Spooky. At a 12 foot drop into the canyon, behind you there’s a hole and a 5 ft drop. We were told people miss the easy way down.
We actually drove to High Adventures to talk with Michaela in person. She went over a map in some detail so we’d be prepared. Tomorrow’s shuttle driver knows the route and will give us tips on trail intersections too. The “real” difficulty is the long uphill slog back up the canyon. There are no trail signs on the route though there are cairns. It’s not unusual for people to miss spooky or peekaboo entirely. While we spoke with Michaela a group returned. They had rented a jeep and driven to the trail head. They missed Peekaboo entirely, hiked spooky the wrong direction, and turned back at the 12 ft ledge.
This hike will be an adventure. Ellen has some misgivings, mainly about my shoulder’s rotator cuff and not being able to scramble up the peekaboo entrance or being unable to help her up. I think the hike will be fantastic.
Worried about water, we visited an Utah Canyon Outdoors, a local outfitter, and got a platypus water pack for Ellen. It’s a nifty water bag, day pack combo. I won’t have to carry all our water. We’ll also carry sports drinks to replenish electrolytes. With some trepidation, Ellen’s feeling better about the hike.
They will pick us up at our motor home and drive us the hour on dirt roads to the trail head.
Sign over Restroom, Escalante Outfitters
We had planned to eat at the Circle-D. The restaurant was empty as we walked up. That’s never a good sign. We skipped it and went back to Escalante Outfitters. I had an apple, toasted pecan, cranberry, arugula salad with poppy seed vinaigrette. It was huge. Ellen had a Homesteader’s Delight, Mixed greens, Bocconcini mozzarella, tomatoes, kalamata olives, fresh basil, tossed in balsamic vinaigrette & reduction. Their salads are huge and quite tasty. We arrived at just the wrong time. The restaurant was packed; we had a long wait to order and a longer wait for our salads. We walked back “home” in the dark.
At the office, we told Debbie about our planned hike tomorrow, “Would it be OK to leave our RV here until 1:30?” “Let me check” Site #12 had not been reserved. Since they have numerous open sites, Debbie put a “block” on our site meaning it couldn’t be reserved. With may thanks all around, we walked back “home”.
High Adventure Tours
Our driver will pick us up at 8:15 here at “home”. We’ll have to get up early to pack, eat, and go. Since we’ve never been through these canyons and don’t have a handle on difficulty aside from what we’ve been told, I will not bring DSLR cameras. We’ll bring iPhones with an AllTrails map, and a small point and shoot. We’ll bring some munchies and lots of water. The first part of the hike is a steep drop into a low valley. I may leave some of our water at the bottom.
As for wildlife, I’ve read that it’s not uncommon to see tarantulas, lizards, and an occasional small rattlesnake. If tomorrow is anything like today, it will be glorious. Temps hit 87 F with a low of 38.