US = United States of America From Here to WOW - Part 2 - Page 2 - ClubTread Community

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post #11 of (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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Episode 5: Canyons of the Escalante

Coyote Gulch

More than 5 years of planning (and drooling over Internet photos) -- finally got to see famous Coyote Gulch. Words fail me -- this place is INCREDIBLE. Last time I felt this kind of wonder was when I walked into Everest basecamp, or maybe when I first saw Canadian Rockies 25 years ago. Backpack and overnight under Jacob Hamblin arch, then dayhike to Escalante River. Looking at Stevens arch from buttress above the confluence felt bigger high than I had after scrambling most of Rockies/Coast peaks.

Photography skill takes whole new meaning in Coyote due to stark difference how parts of the frame are exposed. For photographer it would be worth hauling gear and spending a week here. My photos suck as I was not prepared for this kind of challenge and did not have time to set up properly. Vern -- if you read this, go to Coyote. I can only imagine what would someone with your skill be able to come up with.

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[Grotto near Jacob Hamblin Arch. This is where I had my tent]

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[Coyote Natural Bridge; about 2 miles down the Gulch from Jacob Hamblin]

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[Waterfall near Cliff Arch; several tents here, what a place to spend the night too!]

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[Looking at Stevens Arch above confluence of Coyote and Escalante River. About 14 miles from Hole in the Rock]


Will file full report on this one. It is worth
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
Episode 2: Capitol Reef

1) Chimney Rock
loop hike about 5 miles return that totally blew me away. Can not recommend enough. Try to be here late afternoon; setting sun will put these rocks on fire
This was one of my favorite hikes in Capitol Reef. Early mornings are nice too.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 12:51 PM
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"My photos suck as I was not prepared for this kind of challenge".... Your photos are just fine in my view. Really enjoy these pics and TR. Also really liking the blue skies , which are in such short supply here.

________________________________
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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Episode 6: Zion National Park

Angels Landing

My 2nd time on this classic hike; first time ~10 years ago. How things have changed! Zion is now at least twice as busy than I remember. Shuttles operate the valley but are jam packed & soon there will be traffic jam from shuttles only! Campgrounds are full to the brim -- for the season. Quite a wait at park gate too. Impossible to find parking space -- had to drive outside to Springdale, then take 2 shuttles: First Springdale - Zion, then second main park shuttle in the canyon (both free). Wait at Visitor Centre for the shuttle -- almost like boarding in the airport. Once in the park, stopped at Zion lodge & inquired about the prices: 270 USD for the night & it remains like that for the season, but then drops to "only" 170 USD for the winter.

Angels hike is super busy; it can be compared to hiking Stawamus Chief on the Coast, or Lake Agnes/Big Beehive above Lake Louise in the Rockies. It is still a classic hike in my opinion. Parks sign warn that 6 people have died here since 2004 -- it could be actually dangerous if snowy or icy. When dry it is just class 2 scramble, where chains are not necessary but are helpful to identify the easiest line. Had summit briefly to myself, but then hordes with hip-hop music arrived & forced me to find solitude by dropping a bit lower where cairn building contest was evident.

On descent back to valley floor went to "end of line" to Temple of Sriniwava and walked paved path (~1 mile) to Zion Narrows. Narrows are closed due to (very) high water due to snowmelt. This is one of my long term projects; chatted a bit with Park Ranger about it who confirmed best time in September/October.

Zion is fantastic, but crowds offered taste what Banff at home will look like this summer. Cudos to US Parks though as they are handling all of this very efficiently and with a smile; very impressed.

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Angels Landing from platform above Walters Wiggles; looks way more difficult than it really is
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Episode 7: Escalante Staircase

Wire Pass - Buckskin Gulch

Buckskin Gulch is the longest slot canyon in the world. Over the years I've seen many Internet reports (check out this one for instance). To traverse entire canyon means backpack in one long day with camp at Paria; I opted for shorter option and got into Buckskin via Wire Pass, then hiked downstream for couple of hours. I had good conditions, and this is not always the case; I've seen photos of people wading up to their waist in mud pools. IN addition there are some tricky spots; famous chokestone (class 3/4) on Wire Pass approach (I bypassed on the side) and more serious one further down in Buckskin (which I didn't see).

Slot is magnificent. You walk with your jaw dropped; Canyon widens, then narrows revealing immense wonders of nature in every step. I can not describe it; you have to see for yourself. Couple of pics:

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Narrow portion with amazing colors about 2 miles downstream from Wire Pass

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Cathedral like widening about 3 miles down from Wire Pass


Finally word about the "Wave". I played lottery for 3 mornings in BLM office in Kanab, and didn't succeed. Odds are hugely against; 10 permits are issued every day, and there are 150-200 people. I admit I was tempted to just go -- Buckskin and Wave share same trailhead -- but they fine you 1000 USD if they catch you. This will require some more thinking.
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post #16 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 01:50 AM Thread Starter
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Interlude: Utah to Arizona

Drive I always do whenever in the area: 89a from Fredonia over to Jacob Lake (North Rim closed till mid-May), then down to Vermillion Cliffs, Navajo Bridge and -- first time over to historic Lee's ferry; this is great facility now, and launching pad for all the rafting trips down Colorado River. Finally off to Page for supplies and overnight at campground at beautiful Lake Powell. I just love it here; there is little drive past the campground, and as the sun sets it lights up the cliffs across the marina. I always feel there is some magic in this place and would love to spend one winter 3-4 months, as there is so much to explore in terms of outdoors
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post #17 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 10:46 AM
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Ok. I audibly said 'Wow' upon opening this post. That looks amazing! Seems I have another destination added to the list

And I can't even tell you know much your photos DO NOT suck!! I hope you do get around to posting full TR's of these. I'd love to see more!
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post #18 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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Episode 8: Return to Grand Canyon

I have a soft spot for Grand Canyon; ever since I saw it first some 15 years ago from tourist Matier overlook something changed for me and I fell in love with it forever. To me it is true wonder of nature, and despite tourist hordes that plague developed south rim I always feel same awe whenever I come. Over the years I've explored the area to some extent -- trips included Rim to Rim (N-S) overnight crossing, Bright Angel - South Kaibab day trip and several hikes on undeveloped North Rim. This year the goal was to explore in more detail east side of South Rim around very photogenic Desert View.

I planned to camp at first come - first served campground at Desert View, but it was already full when I pulled in around noon. The campground host gave me a tip and I spend next several days camping for free near the rim with tons of space and freedom. I won't post details publicly online, but anyone interested - contact me privately.

Couple of pics:

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Mandatory photo stop at Horseshoe Bend near Page on drive-in; It is badly tourist overrun, but if you hike a bit left or right, you can have solitude and enjoy this fantastic vista. It is not easy to photograph; mornings are best as far as light goes, but there is still large difference how upper and lower parts of frame are exposed; Grad Neutral Density filter would work well here

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Desert View Tower; Photogenic almost any time of the day. During the day tower is open and there are 4 levels inside with native paintings -- I recommend visiting, despite tourist crowds

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Colorado River from top of Desert View tower

Hike details coming up in the next post
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post #19 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 01:03 AM
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This whole post has become a fantastic treat. What a fantastic series of beautiful places you have visited. Thanks for sharing this holiday with us.
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post #20 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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This whole post has become a fantastic treat. What a fantastic series of beautiful places you have visited. Thanks for sharing this holiday with us.
Thanks big Phil; I'll talk to you live when I'm back. But stay tuned, this is only halfway through and best still might be ahead Memory sticks getting kinda full though
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