Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
I had to cross Lake Powell to continue my hike into Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. This stretch included my toughest resupply, but fortunately, Josh Summers helped me out by hand delivering my package to me.
To get to Grand Staircase Escalante, I had to cross Capitol Reef National Park. Muley Twist Canyon instantly became a highlight for me and as I passed by a large puddle, I remember thinking about how great a water source that puddle was. Later on in the year, I had a stretch where refused to drink anything where I couldn't see the source of the water.
Capitol Reef National Park.
After crossing Capitol Reef, I continued on to the Escalante River, the place I looked forward to the most when planning this hike. Unfortunately, the brush was too thick to hike along the river all the way to town, so I audibled and instead hiked out along Harris Wash before catching a ride into town from a couple guys about to start hiking the Hayduke Trail. Still, seeing the Escalante River for the first time caused a great deal of excitement.
The town of Escalante proved exceedingly hiker friendly. The shoes I had used for 200 miles caused me a lot of foot problems. Escalante Outfitters helped me replace them with shoes that didn't tear up my feet.
These approach shoes killed my feet.
These shoes were much more comfortable.
The next week, I hiked along the Escalante River, through several side canyons, to Lower Calf Creek Falls, and enjoyed myself so much I had a hard time leaving. The best part occurred when my friend Shaun came to hike with me in Coyote Gulch and a loop that included the Golden Cathedral. The loop also included a bushwhack that I never want to repeat.
An arch in Coyote Gulch.
Finally, I left Escalante and hiked to Big Water to see some toadstools. Unfortunately, Big Water was not hiker friendly and the toadstools I found to not be worth the effort I made to get there. To top it off, a major storm hit while I was in the area so I spent the night in a public bathroom.
On my way to better places, I saw a couple bike-packers and one of them I recognized as the owner of Dave's Bike Shop in Idaho Falls. That's where I go to get my bike tuned up.
Dave and his friend.
Better places included Hackberry Canyon, Willis Creek, and Bull Valley Gorge. Also, I found a trail angel who allowed me to camp on his property.
Side canyon near Bull Valley Gorge.
I finished hiking through Grand Staircase Escalante early, so I took some time to hike through Bryce Canyon National Park.
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