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Old 11-16-2016, 10:29 AM   #11
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Escalante Loop Trip - Calf Creek Falls

Escalante Loop Trip - Calf Creek Falls (Part Four)



If you don't know anything about me, the one thing you should know is that I love waterfalls. I'll hike far and wide to catch a glimpse, take a photo, and/or swim in them. Up next would be the infamous Calf Creek falls. It so happens there are two falls in this area, Upper Calf Creek Falls and Lower Calf Creek falls. The direction we were driving dictated that we would be visiting Lower Calf Creek falls first. There is a designated recreation area there managed by the BLM, complete with a campground, restrooms, and water. It is a great hike to take the family, and dogs, as the trail is well maintained. Grab the brochure at the trail head, and it will guide you through an interpretative hike highlighting the flora, and history of the area. Round trip, you will hike about five and a half miles, and on warmer days bring your swimsuit and towel, it will be worth the quick dip in the large pool at the bottom of the falls. In early spring, it wasn't warm enough to go swimming. I hiked in sandals, and waded in a bit to get the image below.

Lower Calf Creek Falls


The area, no doubt was frequented by native Fremont and Anasazi peoples. Ancient granaries and pictographs dating back about nine hundred years can be found close to the trail. The photo below was taken from across the creek depicting what is thought to be some ancient gods. Drawn on to the canyon walls the pictographs blend well with the stains from eons of rainfall creating a most colorful 'desert varnish.'




I'd like to imagine that the images depicted ancient aliens, complete with antennae and wild triangular space suits. Holding hands....


I thought it might be a good idea to get a campsite at the campground for the evening, but Kristi disagreed. She really likes boondocking, and I must say, I couldn't agree more. There is that feeling of peace and quiet that can only be experienced when camping in the wild.


We still had half a day left after lunch and we decided to try and find Upper Calf Creek Falls. We had the guide book and took off in search of ... As I seem to do many times on adventures, I drove right past the small parking lot, and had to flip a U to park there. A dusty lot and a register box are all the amenities here. The trail starts off down a steep slickrock trail marked sparsely by cairns. At times the trail was quite easy, other times we seemed to wander a bit. We finally made our way down to the canyon floor, which was obvious, then had to bushwack our way upstream until we came to the falls. It was much easier route finding on the way out for some reason.



Upper Calf Creek Falls


The falls was cool, lush and green. Not much in the way of beach, or hang out places. We shared the view with another couple for a few minutes, and made an image or two. The challenge was hiking back up the slickrock. Although the rubber soles of my shoes had exceptional traction, it was steep, and exposed. An hour of huffing and puffing, we were back at the parking lot. It was getting late in the day, and I was getting anxious to find a campsite. Happy hour was calling. The road was really interesting as we headed toward Hell's Backbone. On either side of the road there was a sheer drop-off, and we seemed to follow on top of a ridge for miles. We turned onto the Hell's Backbone road and a few miles later we found a really nice spot overlooking the valley below. With plenty of juniper for firewood, and a few adult beverages, we were content, and ready to settle in for the evening.


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Old 11-17-2016, 04:04 PM   #12
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Escalante Loop Trip- Burr Trail & Notom Road

Escalante Loop Trip - Burr Trail & Notom Road (Part five)

The next morning we headed toward Capitol Reef National Park, by way of the Burr Trail. This route was recommended by the ranger in Escalante for the scenic views. The trail was developed by John Burr in the 1880s to move cattle back and forth between winter and summer ranges. Currently the trail is a dirt road, beginning with a large sign warning travelers not to travel while wet or snowy as it can be nearly impassable. The road travels through rough terrain through the country around Waterpocket Fold, Burr Canyon and Muley Twist Canyon, with bonus views of the Henry Mountains. Numerous hikes and side trips exist on this interesting back road, and we chose to hike Upper Muley Twist Canyon. The road to the parking area is only about three miles long, but travels in a wash. High clearance four wheeled drive is recommended, or one can park at the bottom and hike through the wash. We passed backpackers who did just that, and a new Ford Explorer that had given up on the road and parked half way up in a safe spot. You can see in the photo below the van driving in the wash with Peek-a-boo arch towering overhead.



Peek-a-boo Arch in Upper Muley Twist Canyon

We arrived at the parking area with-out incident. We got out our topo map and found a route through the bottom of the canyon that promised a couple of arches. We packed a lunch and left the pets in the car, as it appeared that some canyoneering may be necessary to navigate some of the large pools and slot canyon. Temperatures this time of year were in the low 60s so we felt comfortable that they would be fine in the van with the shades closed, and windows open. The hike was pretty, but with very little shade, exposed. There were times we had to figure how to get around large pools of water, with out getting our shoes wet. We had our lunch at a spot across from Saddle Arch on some slickrock that had a good view of the arch. The trail continues up and along the rim, then circles around and back into the canyon to make a nice loop hike.



Saddle Arch


After returning to the van we grabbed the dogs and did a quick side hike to the Strike Valley rim for views of Waterpocket Fold, where you can see a great rift of a fault line. The view here is one of the most impressive of the views so far.


Waterpocket Fold

Hopping back in the van we continued down the Burr Trail to a most dramatic set of switchbacks which takes you right through the fold and onto Notom Road. Dusty and sandy the road travels through some beautiful country along the valley floor. There is a campground about half way down this road, with only a handful of sites. We opted to keep driving to find a boondocking site a short distance away. We'll call this site Notom arch. As per usual we were surrounded by cows and cow patties, but there were also great views of the Henry Mountians. I took advantage of the cool formations, and spent the evening making night images, light painting the formation and making startrail images. For more information on the making of the night image below see my photography blog post here: Notom Window



Notom Window
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Old 11-17-2016, 07:36 PM   #13
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Excellent TR.
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Old 11-18-2016, 12:00 AM   #14
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Great report, and fantastic photos! I'm surprised you don't have a photo of the Burr Trail dugway, though. Here's one from a trip a few years back. We didn't see nearly as much as you did, though.



Escalante is a favorite area of mine. I was there late this spring with the goal of riding my motorbike up to Bluebell Knolls, but there was still snow blocking the road at the higher elevation
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Old 11-18-2016, 02:20 PM   #15
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Great report, and fantastic photos! I'm surprised you don't have a photo of the Burr Trail dugway, though.
Thanks Steve. Yeah the dugway surprised me a little bit, and I guess I was more concerned with not crashing, than taking a pic... Thanks for filling in the blanks.

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Old 11-19-2016, 10:59 AM   #16
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Great trip report, thanks. I'll have to add this to my retirement travel list.........
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Old 11-21-2016, 08:13 PM   #17
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Great report and photos. Going to have to get there one day.

Was reading though your build thread and did not see what you covered your walls with. What did you put on the walls over the EZ cool?
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Old 11-22-2016, 05:05 PM   #18
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Great report and photos. Going to have to get there one day.

Was reading though your build thread and did not see what you covered your walls with. What did you put on the walls over the EZ cool?

Thanks Larry! It's buried in the thread entitled Interior Cabinets Part II. Basically I used spray adhesive to mount two layers of the EZ cool to the walls, then on the wall behind the kitchen, a layer of tan Marine Grade Vinyl from Jo-ann's fabrics, also adhered with spray adhesive. I used white Marine Grade Vinyl on the wall behind the closet. The spray adhesive in my opinion wasn't necessarily the best adhesive to apply. In high heat the adhesive came off in some areas. I had to go back and brush on contact cement, wait for it to flash, then stick it back on. If I were to do it again I'd probably brush on the contact cement for the whole project.

Now for the other walls, and the doors I ordered a bolt of Foam Backed Headliner Fabric in tan, and a bolt in brown. I used spray adhesive on the fabric just like the vinyl for the walls. I re-upholstered the door panels with the same fabric, and vinyl mix right over the old fabric. I also made some cool bungie cargo pockets for the doors. I suppose I forgot to update the build since then. I'll take more photos and update my Jupiter Build thread. I've done a whole lot more work since my last post....

Now back to the program....
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Old 11-22-2016, 05:08 PM   #19
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Escalante Loop Trip - Capitol Reef NP


Grand Gulch

By now we've gotten into a routine of waking, breakfast, then driving to our next hiking destination for a day hike in the morning, then lunch, then afternoon day hike, then driving to our evening boondocking campsite. This morning we left camp rather early, and chose a hike through Grand Gulch in Capitol Reef National Park.





Cassidy Arch


The hike proceeded through a box canyon and ended at Cassidy Arch hike in which we hiked up to the top of the arch spent some time walking across the bridge. Kristi thought it might be a good place to take some photos for her Pilates business website. So she made some poses, and I took photos. Turns out the formation was so large that in order to get the gist of the area you had to zoom out so far she was all but lost in the enormity of it all. It was still fun though. We hiked back along the canyon floor to the parking area, let the dogs out to splash in the small creek there, had lunch then proceeded to drive around towards the visitor's center. On the way we passed an old Mormon school house in Fruita.



Hickman Natural Bridge

After a quick look around there, we headed out again on a hike to Hickman Bridge. It was a nice easy hike with a Fremont Indian granary and ruins of a pit house. I'm sure we only scratched the surface of what Capitol Reef had to offer, but our time was running out, and we had only one night left before having to return home.
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Old 11-22-2016, 05:26 PM   #20
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Your posts are bringing back great memories. During my first visit to Capital Reef NP about 6 years ago was the first time I saw a 4x4 Sportsmobile, parked at the trailhead for the Capital Gorge trail when we went hiking there. That got me thinking... Two years later I ended up with a Sprinter-based van, rear-wheel drive only. This past spring I boondocked in Cathedral Valley (north-east part of Capital Reef NP) and rode my motorbike around the loop. Compared to satellite images, the scenery was much better from the ground and the road was a lot better than I expected too.
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