Sunday, November 24, 2013

Fall Break - Slot Canyons in Escalante - Part 1

We were home from Europe for 3 days before we packed up the van, hitched up the pop-up trailer and headed to Southern Utah. Our destination: Escalante, Hole-in-the-Rock road.

We crossed over Boulder mountain and marveled at the view of the autumn colors.

Let the adventure begin!!!

Wes planned to put up camp near Death Hollow.  What he did not plan for was how washed out the road was and how our mini-van with a pop-up trailer hitched to the back was not fit for the rough terrain.  We got ourselves into a bit of a pickle at one point trying to drive off-road around this major dip in the road.  Luckily Wes was able to use his awesome driving skills to maneuver the van and trailer out of what was close to being a jack knifed situation.  However he and the kids were not deterred!  They decided that they were going to fill in the dip with flat stones so that we could pass over it with our van and trailer.  I placed a few rocks but mostly just shook my head and took pictures.

Yep - they were determined!

As the afternoon wore on and it was clear that their bridge building efforts were going to take more time than we anticipated - I convinced them to give up on the idea, take advantage of what daylight was left and find a real campsite.  So the bridge was abandoned and we were on our way.
We ended up finding a campsite just off the side of Hole-in-the-Rock road.  It was close to dark by the time we settled in the for the night.  It was also windy and very cold.  I was so grateful for the heater in the pop-up!
This was our view in the morning - the clouds spilling over the distant sandstone cliffs.

We had breakfast, packed our lunches and prepared for a day on the trail.
As we descended into the canyon, the landscape gradually changed from a sandy trail through the sage brush to cool sandstone formations.

Always on the lookout for lizards!

Running on sandstone - one of Weston's favorite activities.  If only he had on shorts and Chacos - then he would be in heaven.

Cool rocks!
To our disappointment Zebra canyon was full of water so we continued on to Tunnel canyon.  But on the way we found a sandy river bed with moqui marbles and other cool rocks.  We decided to take a snack break and let the kids play.

As anxious as we were to get to Tunnel canyon - the kids really could have spent all day playing in the sand and looking for cool rocks and treasures.

It had recently rained and the wet sand had formed a sort of clay.  Some chunks were dry enough to pick up - others were malleable enough to be shaped into objects.
The girls made these bowls which actually dried quite nicely so they could bring them home!  We left them drying the sun while we continued on our way to the slot canyon.

Tunnel canyon was also full of water but this time - it did not deter Wes.
The light at the end of the tunnel.
He convinced Isaac to join him in the chimneying.  They maneuvered the whole length of the canyon this way.
The girls and I stayed back and admired the lichen.
And made designs in the sand with the cool rocks.
Their return.

After our hike, we drove to Escalante, got an ice cream cone (even though it was freezing!) and visited the Escalante/Hole-in-the-Rock Heritage center.  We watched a video and learned more about this incredible feat of these pioneers.  We had an ancestor on this expedition so it was something my mom had researched and talked about often.
Then it was back to the campsite for dinner.  We built a campfire and had edamame and roasted hotdogs.


Kip said...

Your family is great at overcoming obstacles. I'm impressed.

Julie said...

I am amazed at the awesome adventures of the Spencer family!! Go Team!!! Trooping from one end of the planet to the other. Seriously, you should take a year off and travel around the globe! And I will read about it on this blog and cheer!!