Escalante National Monument. This was a really cool hike. The first couple of miles of the hike
started in open desert, and we had to take it really slow in the heat. We didn't hit the trail until
about 11 am (thanks to yet ANOTHER flat tire on a dirt road 30 miles from the closest paved
road), and the 80 degree day was awfully hot in the open desert. When we got into the canyon
we took a break in the shade of a cliff, and then continued on to Coyote Gulch. The best
campsite we found was where we rested about 2 miles in just past a short slot section, so we
backtracked and camped there for the night. I wanted to camp there because it was next to
some nice slickrock, and there was a bright moon, and I wanted to enjoy it from the slickrock.
We climbed up around dusk, watch the sun set and the moon rise...it was really nice. Then
Tracy panicked when she had to climb down the steep slickrock in the dark, but she survived.
There were some nice canyon sections, lots of water, some really pretty desert flowers, and it
wasn't too crowded. This was our first desert backpacking trip since we got to Utah, and we
really enjoyed it. It was already pretty hot, though, and we were rationing water toward the end
of the hike. I think late April is probably the latest you can comfortably backpack in the open
desert. But we may check it out more in the winter...even though it gets really cold in the
winter. I love slickrock, and I enjoyed finding all the different desert flowers.