Leaving Escalante was kind of sad as we really enjoyed our two weeks there. There isn’t much to do except hike in Escalante but the variety and number of hikes is greater than any other place we have been to in our travels. Slot canyons - there are many - Zebra, Spooky, Peekaboo, and as many others remote canyons if you might wish to try some difficult hikes. Walks along rivers - many along the Escalante, Calf Creek, and many side canyons of the Escalante with pictographs, huge alcoves, waterfalls and walls of rock 600 to 800 ft high. Or if overnight backbacing is what you want then there 50 miles of gravel road lead to 8 or 9 easy overnight hikes or 20+ challenging ones. There are arches and natural bridges and again huge walls in canyons filled with lovely trees. Red huge walls and green trees - that’s what Escalante is to me. And it it gets too hot one can always head up Hell’s Backbone Road to hike in the “mountains” of the Aquarius Plateau.
I might add that the week long art festival in September broadens the appeal of Escalante as there are so many other activities.
But onward to Grand Canyon North. It was cool when when left Escalante. But warmed up once we got past Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon. Into the valley. But to get to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon you begin to climb after Kanab. Jacob’s Lake, a small gas station and restaurant is sometimes a welcome stop outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon North Rim. But you still must climb higher to get into the park.
The drizzle turned to snow and the snow began to pike up on the road. Visibility was getting worse. The road was a little slippery - nothing worse than a snow day in Edmonton. But that threw off some inexperienced drivers. A purple sedan was turned turtle on the side of a road with a young woman wringing her hands outside the car. There was 4 or 5 vehicles stopped on the road so we didn’t stay to add to the congestion.
The snow stopped once we got over the high point on the road and into the National Park. No electricity or water hook up in the campground. But they have nice showers (for 6 quarters). And a decent Laundry and there was a place to dump and fill your water tank.
Lovely hike from the campground to the Lodge along Transept Canyon to the Lodge. The Lodge has a coffee shop where you can pick up a latte (if the electricity or generator is working) Only one rustic lodge in the Grand Canyon North Rim with many rustic cabins. No Motel 6 or any other chains. No flashing bright signs. Everything is made of wood and stone. There is a rustic grocery store which stocks some pretty fine wine.
We headed out to do some hikes to the rim which were very fine and one afternoon we headed the headed down Kaibab Trail - the trail which goes down to the bottom of the Canyon. We didn’t go far - just to a rocky viewpoint where many hikers stop for a rest.
A group of 6 or 8 hikers joined us. “Where you from in Canada?”, I asked. “Just outside Toronto”, he responded. I understood. They were from Mississauga, but didn’t want to admit it. Larry figured they must be Canadian because they were such a cultural mix of friends. I figured they were because I saw the Air Canada tag on the guys backpack.
Grand Canyon got colder and wet so we decided to split and head to our favorite campground in USA - at Lee’s Ferry (near Marble Canyon). We got one of the best sites overlooking the Colorado River where we could watch the rafts (in the distance) being loaded for the Grand Canyon river trip and watch the fishermen fly fishing in the river. It was lovely and warm in the daytime but cool at night.
We remembered that just one year ago Larry and I were down at the raft loading zone getting into a raft for our 16 day trip through the Grand Canyon. It was a once in a life time experience - meaning that I would only do it once at my age.
We are now back in CRESTONE and have been hiking most days. Yesterday we went on an epic hike up Copper Creek, then bushwhacked to come down Willow Creek. Brodie was so tired from the hike that he just fell on the floor and didn’t even eat his dinner until 9 this morning. We had leftovers and hit the sac. No one is interested in walking today.
I will add mre photos later.