The Fourth of July weekend was coming up and the family wanted to get out. We decided to go camping in the tent trailer at Calf Creek near Escalante Utah. Because this is a popular place (especially on weekends) we left Friday morning and was able to pull into a perfect camping spot by noon. Our spot was at the end of the campground, next to the stream. Wonderful!
My two daughters wanted to play in the stream and my wife wanted to relax with a book. I just wanted to hike.
I left the family at the campsite (Nancy had set herself up on a lawn chair at the edge of a large pool in the stream so she could watch our daughters swim and soak her feet in the water) and I headed up the canyon to Lower Calf Creek Falls, several miles away.
Along the way, I paused for pictures of a nice set of pictographs.
The falls were fantastic! Especially since no one else was there.
I did pass some hikers on the way back down the canyon but while at the falls, it was all mine!
The next morning, no one wanted to join me for my next hike so I headed off alone. I drove down Calf Creek, across the Escalante River and up the switchbacks to the top of the canyon. Here I parked and located a faint trail heading east towards Phipp Wash. After some searching, I was able to find a trail down into a side canyon for Phipps Wash which had a nice class ‘C’ natural bridge at the bottom of the drainage called Maverick Bridge.
I could have continued on to Phipps Arch but decided for another arch located on the other side of Escalante Utah. This required a little bit of driving back and forth up Alvey Wash before I was sure I had the right side canyon called Coal Bed Wash which then had a side canyon called Mitchell Canyon. This is where my hike began.
While hiking up Mitchell Canyon, I met a park ranger on horseback. He was as surprised to see me as I was to see him in this obscure part of the new Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument. His last name is Alvey so I figured he was a local resident. When I tell him I am heading for Horizon Arch, he also decides to try for it via another direction since he is on horseback.
I beat him there by at least a half-hour. He’s walking when I see him at Horizon Arch, having had to leave his horse down below. (I had the evil thought to leave him at the arch and then take his horse. hehe)
Horizon Arch was a nice sized class ‘C’ arch that looked larger in photographs that I had seen.
It was then back to the vehicle and back to the campsite for a relaxing evening around a campfire.
The next morning, we attended church in Escalante. That was interesting because they had English and Navajo hymn books. They sang at least one hymn in Navajo.
Sunday was also the Fourth of July but there were no fireworks where we were staying.
Early Monday morning, I was up before the family was even awake. I drove up the highway towards Boulder Utah and found parking overlooking the upper part of Calf Creek. I then hiked down the steep hillside so I could access Upper Calf Creek Falls. Not as high as Lower Calf Creek Falls and with much less water but still a fun hike and climb out again.
After breakfast back at the campsite, we all loaded up in the Explorer and heading back to Escalante Utah. We drove west through Escalante and then north up the North Creek Road until I was able to locate North Creek Arch on the east wall of the canyon. I left everyone in the vehicle long enough for me to get closer and cross the creek.
North Creek Arch turned out to be a large class ‘B’ arch. Nice!
We spent part of the day just exploring the area around Escalante.
There were some interesting pictographs and Indian handprints on the high cliffs near the Escalante River and Calf Creek intersection (northwest side) but I was the only one that could climb high enough to get a good view.
Then it was time to load up the tent trailer and head for home again.