Last weekend we took a trip down to Escalante with the climbing club. The goal was Egypt 2 and 3, but the journey there is half the adventure. We took the back roads down through Torrey to Boulder to Escalante since in the van, you can't go 80 on the freeway, so you might as well take the scenic route and enjoy the ride. The road from Torrey to Boulder takes you from the red rock at the entrance to Capitol Reef up boulder mountain through aspen and pine forests with meadows to break things up and give you an amazing view of the ridges and buttes of the Utah desert. They also make for a popular hang out for deer, so there can't be too much daydreaming about the beauty of the trip. Matt got some great shots while I was driving of the Aspens and scenery in the setting sun.
From Boulder, the road gets even crazier. It winds through the slick rock putting you up on a very narrow as in there is no shoulder, no guard rail, no nothing on between you on the road and the valleys and canyons below. Since it was dark by the time we got there, I chose to creep along in the middle of the road to put a little more distance between the van and the void.
Once you've survived the driving excitement and 16 miles of the most washboarded road you can imagine, the canyons have built themselves up to be pretty spectacular. Matt decided not to do the canyon trip since his knee has still been bothering him since our Nebo trip. It's much better, but didn't think it was worth the risk of re-injuring it.
|the rappel into Egypt|
We had a group of about 20 people going down the canyon. We started at the top of Egypt 2 which starts with a 250 foot rappel off of the back of Doug's Toyota. In spite of all of the jokes of hope the parking brake is on, it was a very secure set up. After the rappel, Egypt 2 was a fun canyon with a few water holes, short but a little bit tricky down climbs, lots of mud (which does not help your sticky rubber shoes stick very well), and lots of moqui balls which are those little round knobs in the sandstone which look really cool but start to be really painful while you're scraping your way along the sides of a narrow canyon.
|Stemming in Egypt 2|
We hiked out of Egypt 2 and back down into Egypt 3. Egypt 3 was amazing!! This canyon had it all. It had amazing scoops and turns in the rock, and at it's narrowest point is only about 10 inches wide! At 10 inches wide, you take off your pack, walk side ways and can not turn your head. It's pretty dark at this point and the sky is just a little slit way up above. Fortunately you could still get through the canyon if you are wider than 10 inches, you just had to stem your way up higher where it got a bit wider. There was also one more water hole -- even though I'd already gotten wet in the earlier pot holes, everyone was bridging themselves over this one which means your feet on one side, your hands on the other and you are the bridge. People before me were making this look pretty easy, but they were also all taller than me. I was pretty sure I was going to be taking a nice belly flop into the water, but had to give it a try and luckily made it! We were also going up this canyon rather than down. To get out of it there were a number of short pour overs that we had to climb up. These were tricky since sandstone that has had water running over it is very smooth, but with help in a couple spots from a hand above or a little assist from below, everyone made it through no problem.
We got back to camp after a long day with a great treat of fresh baked bread by Matt from the sun oven and finished the day off sitting around the campfire with friends.