Tuesday, October 6, 2009 | Starting Odometer: 144260
It was a great start to a day. The wind had finally died down overnight and I woke up to a great sunrise over Lake Powell from Alstrom Point. Since it was my mom’s birthday and I had full signal up there, I gave her a call to wish her a happy birthday. I took some photos before packing up the Jeep and heading back to Big Water from some more gas.
Instead of taking the route I came by, I decided to check out the Tibbet Canyon and Nipple Creek trails which formed a loop off off the Smoky Mountain Road not too far from Alstrom Point.
Mushroom Shaped Rock along Nipple Creek
After completing the loop, I headed up the long and dusty Smoky Mountain Road over the desolate Kaiparowits Plateau to Escalante. While the scenery along this road was nice….the highlight of the road was the climb up Kelly Grade.
Along the Smoky Mountain Road in the Glen Canyon NRA
Back into the GSENM
Headed towards the Kelly Grade
Climbing the Kelly Grade
Surrounded by great colors!
Overlook at the top of the Kelly Grade
Further along the Smoky Mountain Road after some high speed driving across the top 😉
I made it to Escalante for a late lunch at the Golden Loop Cafe to decide where I would head that evening. I ended up deciding to take the Hole in the Rock Road east of town until it got dark and that’s where I would setup camp. Along the way I stopped at the Devil’s Garden to explore and took a bunch of photos. It reminded me of a smaller Goblin Valley with bigger and more spread out goblins.
Further along I reached Dance Hall Rock as the sun was getting low in the sky. Made for some good photos.
Dance Hall Rock
In the end, I actually ended up reaching the Hole in the Rock just after sunset while there was still a little light left. Looks like I would be camping at the end of the trail near Lake Powell again.
Hole in the Rock, just after sunset
My campsite for the night
Ending Odometer: 144445 | Total Miles: 185