Southern Utah - June 2018 Camping Trip

In June 2018, with Buck Fitty towing our home away from home, we drove from the Phoenix area to Escalante, Utah for a week's long adventure in Grand Staircase Escalante NM, Kodachrome Basin SP, and Bryce Canyon NP. The following pages are our daily adventures around the area.

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Day 1 - 6/10 - Peek-a-boo Canyon - Take 2

26 miles down a dirt road in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument are a couple slot canyons to explore. We tried to explore them 4 years ago, but monsoon storms nearby prevented us. This year it was blue skies all around so the hike was on! Little did we know, the hike would turn into one of the toughest "hikes" we've ever completed because it requires more climbing, scaling, scrambling and contorting than hiking to get through, but man was it worth it. Without a doubt the most interesting and slot-like representation of a slot canyon we've visited. 

Night 1 - 6/10 - Devils Garden at Night

After the difficult but rewarding hike and another bUmPy, long drive back to the campsite, we showered, napped, ate dinner (pulled pork) and then headed back down the washboard road 13 miles to the spectacular display of geology known as Devils Garden. Sadly we were not the only people to be out there photographing, a photo tour was out there, so we had to work around their lights and locations. An amazing night in the an extraordinary place!

Day 2 - 6/11 - Kodachrome Basin State Park

Between Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Bryce Canyon National Park lies a small state park that packs a big punch, which is saying something with GSENM and BCNP so close.  According to the Internet, Kodachrome Basin State Park is the only known place on the planet to display a geology feature called sedimentary pipes or sand pipes. There are several theories on how the spires were formed but nothing definitive. What I do know is that this park is special, named for the Kodak film by a Nat Geo expedition in 1948, it lives up to the name with explosions of color all around.

Night 2 - 6/11 - County Line Utah

On the way back to camp from Kodachrome I spotted an abandoned home along the road that lined up with the rising  Milky Way. The house is just north of the Kane County line in southern UT and is a great subject for night photography! After heading back for another shower, nap, dinner (turkey taco burgers) routine we headed back out to photograph the rising Milky Way again.

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Day 3 - 6/12 - Escalante City Utah

I like to explore small towns. They never disappoint, each one has it's own quirky character. Escalante UT is no different. Today, we needed some downtime after 2 days hiking and then staying up till 2am, we're getting old, hahaha. We stayed close to camp and went into to town to check out the local charm.

Night 3 - 6/12 - Bryce Canyon at Night

After a relaxing day checking out town, we ate dinner early (chicken cashew grape salad) and headed out to Bryce to catch the Milky Way rising over the hoodoos, through where the deer and the antelope play. At the first overlook I had chosen we encountered something I had never seen before. And we caught some great Milky Way shots. Ran into a fellow photographer from NJ at the second overlook, did some light painting and then drove back to camp.

Day 4 - 6/13 - Jurassic Displays of Color

Today, after staying up way to late getting back from Bryce we decided to take it slow and head out to Grosvenor Arch in the afternoon. On our way down the dirt road to the arch, we saw some rain up ahead and to the north, because of our luck, we opted to not risk it and Buck Fitty getting stuck. If you know the kind of luck we have on road trips, you understand the caution. Anywho, opted to stop along the way home to capture the color displays of the Entrada formation deposited during the Jurassic period, mostly by sand seas across the Kane and Garfield County landscape. And a couple human structures. 

Evening 4 - 6/13 - Sunset over Wide Hollow Reservoir

After dinner back at camp, we noticed that it might be a good evening so we ran back out to the reservoir and hiked up the side to avoid state park fees and captured a pretty good sunset. Then it was back to camp and an early night so that we can get up and hike Bryce Canyon tomorrow!

Day 5 - 6/14 - Bryce Canyon Hike

Today we got up early and headed to Bryce Canyon to explore the hoodoos there. It is a truly impressive place, I don't think I need to describe it here!

Evening 5 - 6/14 - Escalante City... Again

After grabbing a shower and some food we headed back into town to follow up on a building I forgot to grab the post for and found a couple other brick homes with designations.

Day 6 - 6/15 - Lower Calf Creek Falls Hike

On our last day of vacation we ventured east to Calf Creek in GSENM to hike out to the falls. Waterfalls are not uncommon in the Southwest desert, but they are rare to find running, at least in my experience... I've seen a lot of dry falls since I moved here. This hike is labeled as easy but is really a moderate to strenuous depending on when you start the hike. They describe it at the trailhead as a sandbox in an oven!