It’s all about Mindset

Devils Garden outside Escalante.

Last year as we left Capitol Reef Park and headed down Hwy 12 for the first time ever we climbed through the forests and then descended into Boulder and the magic beyond. The road is narrow with few pull offs for an RV & toad so we kept going and I vowed to comeback. We did, deciding to camp on the BLM land just south of Escalante itself.

Prime spot on BLM land outside Escalante.
Another Stonehenge?
Looks like busts to me.
Ice cream cones.

Devil’s playground is 12 miles south on a dirt road and a mellow introduction to the area’s enclaves of the creators artistic work.

Next day we drove the iconic Hwy 12 byway up to the Escalante River and found the Lowe Calf Creek trailhead.

Hwy 12 – It doesn’t get any better.
Off for a stroll.

Parked the car, hung the geezer pass in the window and hit the trail. Cool air and wonderful scenery, I wallowed in it. Like getting out of the shower into clean crisp sheets and rolling back & forth to make sure they’re real. It’s our first hike of the trip and why not revel in it?

Start of the hike up Calf Creek.

It’s one of those hikes where they give you a little brochure with numbers on explaining observations along the way. Number 8 described three large figures painted on the smooth wall across the canyon. We both stood there staring but could not see them. As we were about to leave two hikers were returning and we asked them “Sure, they said, right over there”. It took some more arm gesturing before it clicked for me and thereafter that was all I could see.

Pictographs across the canyon. Had to digital zoom in to get them a bit more view-able.
First view of the falls.
Very pleasant to gaze upon.
Goodbye shot.
A bit of Fall for us Southern Californians.

Had to drive up the “Hogsback” section of the road just to get the feel of it again. Got warned of the grade on the way down but felt a whole lot freer driving it in the Subi rather than the RV towing the Subi.

Grand Staircase Escalante.
Just south of the river is Kiva Coffee house, stopped in for an afternoon snack and view.

Decided to explore further south along the Hole in the Rock road and persevered  through 24 miles of intermittent packed clay and terrible wash boarding to arrive at Dry Fork Trail head.

Followed the cairns down into the dry river bed.

The trail head is named for the main canyon running up & down. Off of it are two popular side slot canyons named “Peek-a-Boo” and “Spooky”. There were a fair number of people around and we decided to first explore up the narrowing Dry Fork.

Always good to check what’s above you.
Canyon narrows just before it rises sufficiently for one to exit it.
Top of this section of the canyon which was pretty standard, meaning most of the time you are walking on a smooth sand surface and its a good 6′ wide.
Dry clay footprint.
Turn around and retraced our footsteps.
Approaching the entrance back into the broad Dry Fork.
Large chock stone blocked our way at the other end of Dry Fork.

We  started back and looked for the entrance to Spooky. I remembered reading that it was narrow and you had to remove your daypack to get through but I did not pay much attention to that as we found the narrow wedge and waltzed in.

Lower entrance to Spooky.

Now things started to get weird as we were acting without thinking what we were doing. We met some folk coming out before it really narrowed, let them by, and squeezed on. Rose was in front and would occasionally ask, “Are you OK?” as I dragged behind wondering how do I take photo’s in such a confined space.

The ultimate slot canyon.
Yes, we went through there – sideways.

In one sense I just wanted to get to the end, yes I now remembered that it went through to somewhere. My claustrophobic senses were starting to kick in and if I stopped for too long and pondered my situation they might trigger and make things worse. We knew there were people up ahead as we kept hearing voices and finally we met up with them as they were negotiating a chock stone.

Luckily the camera was good at capturing the twisting narrowness.
Chock stone was good news because once past it the slot opened up, slightly.
The group we met up with.
Have to take a photo to remember what we came through.
Now to find our way back.

We leapfrogged the group and their parting words were; “Take the trail on the left, you can’t miss it”. After going in what I percieved to be the wrong direction I got antsy and had to stop and consult the GPS. Showed we would soon meet a trail going left and it would take us down a wash. The wash turned out to be a slot like canyon and I procrastinated going down it. Shortly two young folk from Atlanta, Georgia came along and asked if it was Peek-a-Boo? I thought so and deciding there was safety in numbers followed them down into it.

Atlanta girl heading into Peek-a-Boo.
Not so narrow and more colorful we enjoyed our little slot canyon.
Beautiful sculptures as we bounced along.
More Peek-a-Boo.
Kicker was at the end where one had to reverse climb down some smooth rock.
That’s looking up into the lower entrance where we exited.


At the end of it we had had a great time and if anyone follows in our footsteps remember; Go up Spooky and descend Peek-a-Boo!