Trip Report: Escalante Backpack

Escalante Backpack
By Russell Patterson
HIKE 10/10/2014 MOD-

Escalante Backpack Oct.10-13
Participants: Russell Patterson, Dan & Leslie Cortsen, Greg Clark
We left Fri. afternoon and saw great displays of autumn leave as we drove across the Boulder Mountains and we also saw awesome views of the red rock canyon areas below us. After passing though the town of Boulder we drove along the top of a ridge. On both sides of the road there were cliffs that dropped hundreds of feet to the canyons below.
On Sat., we drove down the Hole in the Rock Road to Willow Gulch and left a vehicle. Then we drove to Forty Mile Canyon and started hiking down the gulch. At first it wasn't very scenic. We had to go out of our way to get past a drop off, but Russell's son said we should have been able to climb down on the left side of the drop off. We eventually came to a water fall and below the falls the canyon was beautiful. The canyon walls were hundreds of feet high. Sometime the walls were overhung and the were large alcoves and there were ferns and moss growing on the seeps on the canyon walls. There were long stretches where we were wading in waste deep water. Greg found a place that we could get to that was above the water and level enough to set up tents so we camped. The next day, when we came to the junction of Forty Mile Canyon and Willow Gulch we dropped our packs and day hiked further down the canyon. Lake Powell once reached this area but the lake has silted in. The silt made this part of the canyon was less scenic then the part above the junction. There were places where your feet would sink into the mud and the suction made it hard to pull them out.
On Sunday, we hiked up Willow Gulch and encountered a long pool of water that was even deeper then what we waded through the previous day. After hiking 2 miles up Willow Gulch, we came to Broken Bow Arch which is quite impressive. We continued our hike, got back to our vehicle, drove to our other vehicle and drove to a place to camp.
On Monday, we hiked up Peek A Boo, a slot canyon with places you climb up. At the upper end of Peek A Boo, we crossed over into another drainage and came down Spooky. Spooky is slot canyon that is so narrow that it is dark in places. The drop offs in this canyons were fun to climb down. These canyons are popular and so we saw other people doing them. We dove through a part of Bryce Canyon coming home.

Note: Photos of this hike have already been submitted by by Dan Cortsen