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Day 8

Escalante Canyon 1999

Exploring Little Death Hollow

We slept in this morning till 7:45. It was nice not to have to move camp. Today, I wanted to take Susie up to see Little Death Hollow (LDH). In my opinion, LDH is the second best narrows I have been in, right behind Buckskin Gulch. From camp, it looked like about 2 miles, but Terrain Navigator shows it to be about 2.8 miles to the mouth of LDH. Most of the crew headed up that direction, of course all at different times. A&S politely slowed down so we could keep up with them. Once you get to the old cabin at the mouth of LDH, (at which we arrived a few minutes before 11 am) it is maybe a quarter mile until you get to the good stuff. The stone into which the narrows are cut is not high. Most of the time, the walls are only 20 - 50 feet above you. There is a shelf, and then the main canyon goes up further. And the narrows go on a long way. There are several choke stones to negotiate. I don't remember the first one from the '86 trip. I had a helluva time getting up it, and if Sue had not pulled me, I think I would have had to build a step with some rocks. I would say for the distance in which we traveled in the narrows (Its about 2 miles total from the mouth of LDH to where we turned around), the walls are mostly 8- 10 feet apart. Sometimes they get much more narrow. At one point, it gets so narrow that you can put your boot on the canyon floor, and your boot will not actually touch the floor: the side walls stop it. The choke stones further up canyon are interesting. Clearly there has been erosion occurring in the last 13 years. When I was here in '86, all required climbing over (although on this day, I got much further than I did in '86). Now, you can squeeze under or on the side of most. We hiked up canyon for more than an hour, and then stopped for lunch. It had gotten cloudier, so it was a bit cool in the shade. After lunch, A&S shot out ahead. We got to a series of choke stones which were tougher to get around. We caught up with A&S, who reported such, so Susie and I decided to turn around. A&S said they would explore some more.

As we headed down canyon, the wind started to pick up. I took a GPS reading at a crack that spanned the canyon, just to see how far we had gotten. In a while, I hopped out of the canyon floor on the left side, thinking I might be able to bypass the difficult choke stone which was the first one we had encountered on the way up. Susie thought that the slickrock was a bit too steep for her tastes, so she elected to stay low. Well, it was a nice walk above the trough, but it did not get me around the last choke stone. I had to do a little jump to get down to the floor. As it turns out, getting down from the tough choke stone was easy. Getting up is the hard part. As we got to the mouth of LDH, it seemed to be blowing up a storm, with lots of grit in the air. (I was hoping that we had covered up our tent door well enough, but this new Clip 3 has mesh all the way around to help with ventilation. This also allows dust in on windy days.) We really hauled ass down the canyon back to camp. It was all I could do to keep up with Susie. We made it back to camp in something less than an hour. George (who had rested in camp all day) and Dolph (who had walked up the canyon with us and up into LDH about a half mile or so) were resting and chatting, so Susie and I headed down to the river for a quick bath. We noted that the river was running more swiftly, slightly colder, and had more suspended sediment in it. I was glad that I had gotten a full water bag out of nice, clear Horse Creek and stored it in my sleeping bag to keep it cool.

By the time we got back to camp, other members were starting to drift in. A&S and Will and Mark reported that there is now a big road down Horse Canyon past the mouth of Wolverine Canyon, which is good enough to get a semi down. They reported a huge horse trailer there, and lots of cars. It sounds likeHorse Canyon is becoming the preferred quick route into Escalante. It certainly is easier than coming overthe canyon lip at Fence canyon, but I don't think it is as scenic. Penne pasta, prosciuto, and peas with Alfredo sauce was dinner tonight. One of my favorites, but it is pot intensive.

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Roger A. Jenkins, 1999