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Leaving, reluctantly, Grand Staircase-Escalante

14 Apr

The night was cold but the morning looked from inside the warm hotel room, glorious; blue skies with no trace of clouds. I left the Rim Rock Inn in Torrey that is waking every morning with the red cliffs of the canyon on top of its windows and started to drive down to Boulder, UT. The temperature that was already in the high 20s started to drop till around 22F freezing the water that was coming out of lawn sprinklers and creating ice structure from the trees and bushes surrounding them confusing the sheep that were grazing nearby.

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The summit of Mount Boulder, 9600 ft

The summit of Mount Boulder at 9600 ft was covered in snow from the previous night storm and the cold made me think twice about what to do. In the end I decided to do at least one hike today and not ruin my day just with a long drive to Vegas.

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The pools of the Upper Calf Creek Falls

So I stopped at the unmarked place from where the Upper Calf Creeks Falls trail starts and I descended into the canyon on slickrock covered by lava boulders.
Everything here is clear and beautiful that makes you think twice about leaving this place. The hike was an enchantment guessing a descent on rock and navigating further an approximate trail marked occasionally by spotty cairns. After about 45 minutes of continuing descent I reached the upper part of the falls. The water drop created a number of pools that look great for a dip but in a warmer day.

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Desert in bloom

The yellow slickrock is home for all sort of desert plants that bloom in spring making the desert a palette of color.

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Upper Calf Creek Falls

From the top of the waterfall I descended on another hidden path marked latter on the road by cairns to the base of the waterfall that was flowing under a hanging rock in a spectacular fashion, even more dramatic that the Lower Falls. It was so beautiful that I did not want to leave this place and the entire Escalante but…

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On top of Escalante River trailhead

One of the plans for the day was to drive over the Hell Backbone into Escalante town. Nobody knew the condition of the dirt road after the storm and being advised by two rangers not to try without a 4X4 I changed the plan for a short hike at the Escalante River Trail.

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Red Rock Canyon

After another stop at the magnificent panorama over Grand Staircase-Escalante and at the Kiva Coffeehouse I was finally able to partake myself from this imaginative world of slick stones and wizardly formations and drove through Escalante town and further to Red Rock Canyon from where, after a short hike, a last breath of South West, went directly to Las Vegas airport to drop the car and board my red eye to JFK.

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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Blog, USA

 

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