Our final morning of our trip was a cold one, but we thawed with coffee and layers and hit the trail about 9am. We had both over-packed warm clothing in anticipation of cold nights. However, while nights did cool, it stayed warm long enough in the evening and then warmed up quickly in the morning – and we could have gotten away with fewer layers.
The terrain changed as we turned right to follow the Escalante River upstream, which would take us back to the car over 6 or 7 miles (I think our mileage is a bit screwy. I have read that the entire 3-day hike is about 22 miles, but I’m not entirely sure how this is broken up and our map’s scale didn’t make it easy to calculate with all the turns on each leg).
While still a canyon with high cliffs on either side, the Escalante River canyon was more open – wider between the walls. It was incredibly lovely, but very different than Death Hollow canyon. It felt dryer in terms of the plant-life, maybe more desolate. There was far less water in the river itself, and most of the time I found it far easier to walk in the water than to follow the trail in deep sand and sharp branches hitting my legs. Walking in the water was incredibly firm ground, which allowed for quick miles the first time our entire trip!
We stopped to see the petroglyphs, and stopped for pictures, but otherwise powered through to nearly the end. We stopped for a final lunch on our trip, and then hiked the last section to our car.
Because it was still early afternoon, we decided to drive a different route back to Colorado, taking us near Bryce Canyon National Park, where we decided to spend the night camping. This gave us a few hours in the park to see the sites. There is a road through the park with lots of pull outs, which made for the perfect afternoon. We did short walks, never sitting for too long, but also not hiking for any long distance.
We made good time driving back to Colorado the next day, but that drive through Utah was amazing! I had been in the area before, but not for a long time, and I didn’t realize how much country has amazing features!! Yes there are the parks, but the unique beauty stretches far beyond the protected areas!
It was a lovely adventure! While it felt a bit naughty to vacation during the Coronavirus pandemic, it was also a relatively safe and great get-away, and something we would have been less likely to do if we could have traveled internationally!