Escalante – Presidents’ Weekend

Over Presidents’ Weekend this year, Reeve and I took a kind of last minute trip to Escalante.  Neither of us had really been there, but we’d heard great things about it.  We knew it wasn’t their main tourist season and some things might be closed, but we didn’t quite expect what we found.  We stayed in an old little motel.  When we first got to Escalante, the guy at the gas station said we probably wouldn’t be able to really see anything this time of year – great start to the trip haha.  He said we probably couldn’t get very far down Hole in the Rock Road (a dirt road that takes you to most attractions) without a good 4WD car this time of year because the mud (we were in our VW Passat…not exactly 4WD).  We tried our luck though, and it was actually in a lot better condition than I think the gas station attendant thought.

We saw some pretty views, got blocked by cows for about 10 minutes, and really made our car look adventurous haha.

After we got back and got settled, we figured we’d get something to eat…they weren’t kidding when they said this isn’t their peak season. There ended up only being ONE place open to eat at after 6, and it was ridiculous! It was the motel’s diner – you know, we’re thinking a little small town cafe, those kinds of prices, etc. Nope! They were only open that night for a special Valentine’s Dinner thing, and each plate was over $20! We paid $50 for dry, burnt ribs and a decent prime rib.  It was an experience to say the least..

The next day was Sunday (Valentine’s Day) and we went to church, then went for a scenic drive.  It really is a beautiful area!

Oh! And we planned on picking up some food for Sunday after dinner, but because the town was pretty much shut down, we ended up resorting to the gas station.  We had microwave easy mac and hot pockets for our Valentine’s Day meals – romantic! Haha.

On Monday, we were planning on hiking Peekaboo and Spooky slot canyons, but weren’t actually sure we’d be able to make it that far down the road.  We got to the turnoff and there were some other people parked at the end.  They said “it’s just a mile walk to the trailhead and the road is really muddy, so you’ll probably just want to park and walk”. We thought that sounded fine, until it was like 2 miles to the trailhead ha! And then, because there was still snow on the ground, the trail wasn’t super marked.  We followed some rock cairns, which we soon realized clearly were not the real path.  We ended up basically climbing straight down a mountain to get down to the canyons.

We started with Peekaboo, and the two are supposed to be about a 3.5 mile loop.  This canyon was super cool! I’ve never been in one quite like it:

You start out by climbing up about 10 feet, then there’s tons of ducking under and climbing over cool stuff like this ^^

Our next struggle was getting from Peekaboo to Spooky.  We had printed off directions and everything, but this is a much less known national park with no marked trails and stuff.  Our directions literally said “follow rock cairns until you get to a big Joshua tree, and turn right”…there were so many Joshua trees out there! We wandered for so long and went so many wrong directions and did so much backtracking.  We were about to give up and just go back, when we FINALLY found the entrance to Spooky.

By this point, I was pretty annoyed at Reeve and the situation, and we were both not in great moods, but luckily the cool factor of the canyon made up for all that went wrong.  This canyon wasn’t so much climbing in and out of things. It just gets super narrow! There were times we were squeezing through and you’d be touching the wall on both sides, and you’d already taken your backpack off – I don’t know how some people get through it!

Overall, it was a super fun trip.  A lot of things didn’t go our way (when we finished the 3.5 mile loop and got back to our car, we had walked 9 miles according to the tracker on Reeve’s phone). Honestly I don’t know how we got so lost and had so much trouble with it all.  What was the worst was that every time we got lost, we had been following rock cairns (you know, the stacks of rocks), which are supposed to mark the trail!  We would get so excited to see one, thinking we were going the right way, only to end up in the middle of nowhere.  I guess we had somehow overlooked the ones at the trailhead and between canyons that led to the main trail.

I think the whole thing taught me some patience, and I definitely was relying on prayer a ton as I felt like we were so lost!  On our drive home, I’m glad we chose to laugh about how ridiculous everything had turned out instead of complain more (don’t get me wrong, we did our fair share of complaining also).  But in the end, it happened, so we might as well make the most and laugh about it.

Here’s a link to a little video of our adventure: Escalante (music: Walking Stick by The Painted Pianos)



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