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Category: Hiking

Canyons of the Escalante: Big Horn Canyon

Southern Utah Wanderings in a Sandstone Wilderness
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

After our long day hike on the Boulder Mail Trail on Tuesday, we decided to try to take things a little easier today. Kind of like a rest day. Of course, as we have found out over the years, Jared and I are not very good at taking rest days. We tell ourselves that we are only going to hike a couple of miles, but then we end up hiking over ten! We slept in a little later this morning and planned to head into Escalante for a hearty breakfast before our hike. Unfortunately, every place in town that serves breakfast was closed for some reason this morning and we ended up at Subway. Not really the hearty breakfast I had envisioned. Next we headed back to the Old Sheffield Road so we could hike a loop through Big Horn Canyon from the top. The funny thing is that when I was planning our hikes this week I thought that this canyon is where we would find the most solitude, but in reality we crossed paths with more people at the lower end of Big Horn Canyon than we would see on all our other hikes this week combined. I had no idea that this was such a popular place!

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The Boulder Mail Trail

Canyons of the Escalante | Southern Utah Wanderings in a Sandstone Wilderness
Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Old Boulder Mail Trail is a 15 mile trail that was originally established in 1902 as a mail route that linked the isolated towns of Escalante and Boulder Town and was traversed by pack mules twice-weekly to carry mail, medicine and occasional travelers. In 1911 a telephone line was strung between trees, rocks and poles along the route by the Forest Service to connect the ranger stations in both towns. The ranger in Boulder even let the townspeople tie in with their own lines. Some of the glass insulators can still be seen in the treetops along the trail today. The line was used until 1955 when a microwave system replaced it. When Utah Highway 12 was completed in 1940 the Boulder Mail Trail fell into disuse.

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The Upper Escalante River & Lower Death Hollow

Canyons of the Escalante | Southern Utah Wanderings in a Sandstone Wilderness
Sunday & Monday, September 29-30, 2019

After spending Saturday hiking through Phipps Wash and Deer Canyon, we were ready to begin our overnight backpacking trip through the Escalante River Gorge on Sunday morning. The previous night we had found a campsite on Big Spencer Flats and had done our best to prepare for the high winds and storms that were forecasted overnight. It did stay pretty windy out for much of the night and there was a little on and off rain, but not enough that anything was still wet in the morning. It was still pretty windy out when we got up shortly before sunrise, but there were plenty of nice clouds in the sky and the sunrise was looking good, so we grabbed our cameras and took a few photos around camp.

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Canyons of the Escalante: Phipps Wash & Deer Canyon

Southern Utah Wanderings in a Sandstone Wilderness
Friday & Saturday, September 27-28, 2019

Back in early October of 2010, Jared and I started our annual tradition of going on a week-long trip to different parts of the Colorado Plateau together. That first trip started out along the Hole-In-The-Rock Road in the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument, so we decided to return to where it all began this year and planned to spend an entire week hiking around the Canyons of the Escalante. I was really looking forward to our trip this year since it seems like I’ve been neglecting the Escalante area for a couple of years and I felt that I was overdue to return! This year we planned to hike a few of the more popular routes in the area that we have skipped over the years and I wanted to try to stay away from the Hole-In-The-Rock Road. We were also going to try to take advantage of having both our vehicles there by doing hikes that we could shuttle ourselves.

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Holy Cross Wilderness: Fancy Lake & Holy Cross City

Saturday & Sunday, September 21-22, 2019

Although I wanted to try to climb Mount of the Holy Cross (14,005) with Diane this summer, we just never found the time to squeeze it in. Still, I wanted to get in at least one short backpacking trip into the Holy Cross Wilderness this year since I really haven’t spent much time in the northern Sawatch Range before, so we decided to go on an easy overnighter to Fancy Lake this weekend. From Fancy Lake I would also be able to revisit the 1880’s ghost town of Holy Cross City which I first visited way back in 2005 by driving the rough 4×4 road in my Jeep. Now that it’s getting late in the season, this will probably be our last backpacking trip into the mountains for the year since it’s starting to cool down and it’s time to get back to exploring the Colorado Plateau!

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