The goal for our final day in Escalante country was to drive to the end of the road and see the historic Hole-in-the-Rock pass.
Above: morning time at Sooner Rocks camp.
A few miles south of Sooner Rocks, the road begins to peel away from the Fifty Mile Cliffs, and heads toward Lake Powell over some rough slickrock country.
Above: the final six miles of road get a little rough over all of the rock, although I've heard stories of sedans (rentals) getting out there with little trouble (Beege photo).
Above: the Dakota , even loaded down with gear and people, made short work of the few ledges encountered on the trail (Beege photo).
Above: Beege negotiates his Jeep through the rolling slickrock with Fifty-Mile Mountain in the distance (Matt photo).
The road ends at the top of the "Hole," and you're looking down 1000 feet to the waters of Lake Powell.
"It nearly scared me to death. The first wagon I saw go down, they put the brake on and rough locked the hind wheels and had a big rope fastened to the wagon and about ten men holding back on it and they went down like they would smash everything. I'll never forget that day. When we was walking down, Willie looked back and cried and asked me how we would get home." - one of the 1st immigrants to pass through the "Hole"
Above: about halfway down the boulder-choked passageway. The tiny blue dot in the center of the photo is Eros. It's not easy hiking down this thing -- I can't imagine trying to take a wagon down!
Above: one of the narrow ledges (white arrows) on the cliff face used by the pioneers. The ledge is just wide enough (maybe 2 feet wide) for one set of wagon wheels. The remainder of the road was built up by blasting holes and pounding in stakes that would be covered with rock and debris.
Below: the "built up" portion of the road has long since collapsed, but the narrow ledge and drill holes are still there.
The trail continues beneath the murky waters of Powell. As impressive as the "Hole" looks today, you're only seeing about the top 1/3 of the route.
Below: if you're going to make the hot, steep hike down to the Lake, you'll definitely want to cool off with a little cliff-jumping before the climb back out (Eros photo).
Above: Eros ascends a series of steps blasted and carved into solid rock by the pioneers of the San Juan Expedition.
Above and below: while myself and Eros climbed to the lake, Beege got these sweet photos from higher on the rim. Who's that weirdo balancing on the edge of that 1000-foot rim? Stupid.
One last stop before the long, dusty, bumpy ride back to Escalante. I had heard there was a cool old ranch house somewhere near Fifty-Mile Spring. We never did find the house, or the spring for that matter. Just a nifty rock box-canyon corral, a not-so-nifty trashy trailer, and a set of moki steps carved in the bluffs side that leads to who-knows-where.
Ain't nothing like being held up by a herd of cattle after 50 miles of dirt road. After feasting on gourmet burgers (well, at the time they sure tasted gourmet), we split ways with Beege and headed home. I'm already shortening the list of places to go for Spring Break 2011.
Death Valley is well known as having the lowest point in North America in Badwater Basin at nearly 300 feet below sea level. Much less we...
At 11,253 feet, Lone Peak isn't the highest summit in Utah's Wasatch Mountains (that'd be Mt. Nebo in the southern Wasatch ...
Running barefoot along the salt flats near Stansbury Island, Great Salt Lake. I had an excellent 20-mile run around and over the top of ...
The Trans-Zion is a 48-mile route across Zion National Park that wanders from the East Entrance to Lee Pass in the Kolob Canyons section o...
Here are some highlights from the rest of our trip with friends to Kauai. We fit a lot in in just a few days. Big thanks to Casey and Mil...
Here are a few photos from a little jaunt to seldom-visited Black Crook Peak near Vernon, Utah, back in June. At 9,274 feet, it's not ...