It’s been sooo long since the last trip, due to various reasons, one of which is my new job, that is my new day job. Once we were in the park, hiking and chasing the last rays of daylight, it felt so good. It felt like coming back to something familiar and peaceful.
Before going to Escalante NM, we revisited Canyonlands NP and Capitol Reef NP. We went back to Canyonlands NP because the last time we were there, we didn’t grab the park map, which is now a collection item we get from all the parks and, additionally, we didn’t remember too much of the park. Sunset was a nice time to be there. The colors were amazing and we squeezed in a very short hike to Mesa Arch.
We also went back to Capital Reef NP to visit the portion of the park that was closed last time due to rain. We didn’t miss much. We did a quick 2 mi hike to get a break from driving/sitting in the car, met a snake and continued on to Grand Staircase – Escalante NM.
Last time we were in Utah, we drove through Escalante and the park impressed me a lot. I wanted to go back and explore it. We arrived late in the afternoon, just a few hours before sunset and we managed to fit a quick 5 mi hike to Zebra Canyon Slot. The trail is not marked, but it starts at mile 8 on the Hall-in-the-Rock road. Unfortunately the canyon was filled with ice cold water and we couldn’t go too deep into it, but the hike itself was nice. The trail passes by some cool striped hills, hence the name Zebra.
Peek-a-Boo Canyon and Spooky Gulch hikes were the definite highlight of the trip. If you want to save a mile of hiking in the heat, get a 4WD and drive all the way to the second parking lot. The start of the hike is all downhill. Steep downhill. The entrance to Peek-a-Boo canyon is the first moment of truth. It’s like an obstacle course. Right of the bat, it starts with a climb of about 5m/16ft straight up.
That’s followed by two huge puddles of water, one of which is easy to jump, while the other requires one person to get wet. I bet if we were the only ones there it would’ve seemed impossible to pass and we would’ve given up. But when you see families carrying infants on their backs and dogs in their arms climbing up the steep wall without any problems, you gain courage all of a sudden.
Once the trail exits Peek-a-Boo canyon, the path takes you to the exit of Spooky Gulch. Some areas of this canyon are so narrow that you have go sideways and hope that nobody is coming your way from the opposite direction. The walls in this canyon are not as smooth as Peek-a-boo. I accidentally scratched myself while jumping down a steep drop.
This is definitely not for people with claustrophobia. It gets pretty cozy in there.
After coming out of Spooky Gulch, already pretty tired, there is the hike back up to the parking lot to look forward to. This is definitely a strenuous hike, but it’s so worth it!