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Day 3
May 18 - 25-mile Wash to Escalante River

We decided to sleep in a little on this, the third day of our backpack. After having decided to abandon our original itinerary, there was little need to get started early. And we needed a little break after the arduous end to the previous day.

It was nice to just lay in our tent, fly off (Chris and I had been deciding to sleep with the tent fly off these last two nights), and just look out at the desert. The room-temperature air was still. Plenty of birdsong from the streamside forest below us echoed off the canyon walls. Otherwise, all was silent. We had not seen anyone else since soon after leaving the trailhead, two days before.
courtesy JInnes
Tent View
Sleepy Mr. Waddington
Breakfast at 25
By 9:30 a.m. we were packed and ready to head off (plenty late by our standards). Originally we were going to undertake a somewhat sketchy descent from our ledge to the canyon floor, but some handy advance scouting by Brian revealed that if we just continued down-canyon on our ledge, it eventually ramped downwards and merged with the floor of 25 mile wash. And thankfully - so thankfully - there was no beaver dam activity at the point where we finally did a splash-down into 25-mile Wash's creek. We switched to water shoes and hoped for a nice, relaxing, trouble-free walk from here on down.
Staying High
Skirting 25-mile Wash
Trench down into wash
So, a little bit about our new itinerary: instead of heading down 25-mile Wash and then scrambling out to the south, in the direction of Scorpion Gulch, we now were going to walk all the way down 25-mile Wash to its confluence with the Escalante River. Then, we'd turn up-canyon, wading against the current, put perhaps a further kilometre or two under our belts, and find a nice place to camp. Nothing too challenging, and very little in the way of uncertainty. Although, I suppose, maybe we'd run into the work of another beaver family. Perish that thought.
courtesy BConnell
Normal Creek
Normal Creek Walking
Making Progress Now
Watery Highway
Campsite Checking
Another decent potential campsite
The wade downcanyon proceeded pleasantly and uneventfully. 25-mile Wash is very similar in many ways to Harris Wash, in terms of morphology, gradient, and amount of water. That is to say, they are both fantastic Escalante Canyons. I'd say 25-mile Wash is a touch more remote and wild, owing to the slightly longer approaches to get to it. Certainly we weren't seeing anyone around today!
courtesy BConnell
Good for chatting
Tumble-Jam
Beautiful Curves
The lower part of 25-mile wash had a lot of huge and beautiful alcoves and some stellar campsites. Near these campsites was the scramble exit south I had identified for our original day-3 itinerary. I think on another trip I'd like to do a modified version of the original plan that would follow that same exit.
courtesy BConnell
Fantastic Alcove
Connellhouette
That mischevious Waddigrin
Handling the weeds
Grand ol' Cottonwood
Land of Kayenta
Way back in 2007 I had done a short little bit of lower 25-mile Wash with good friends Sophie and Luke, and during that short visit, we had encountered a picture-perfect Anasazi ruin high up on an alcoved ledge. I was looking forward to showing this fantastic historical remnant today, but somehow my mind was wandering elsewhere at the right time, and we sailed right by it without anyone lifting their eyes high enough to see it!
courtesy BConnell
Marching Downstream
Big Block
Nearing the Escalante
Seven hours of relaxed creek hiking brought us to the mouth of 25-mile Wash. The modest waters of the 25-mile Wash creek emptied into a much larger flow coming in from the left. It was perhaps 25 feet wide and instead of being a few inches deep, the water was one or two feet deep. And flowing faster, too. We had arrived at the Escalante River.
courtesy BConnell
The end of 25-mile Wash
Exiting 25-mile Wash
Heading up-Escalante
There wasn't an immediately obvious campsite here at the confluence, and in any case we thought it might be good to make a bit of headway up the Escalante, in order to reduce the distance we had to cover on day 4.

We waded up the Escalante River. Mostly it was shin to knee-deep, but occasionally the river's flow had carved out an area that was substantially deeper, more than thigh-deep, and we had to chart a course to avoid that sort of thing. Wading upstream in deeper water was actually a little tiring (but a good workout). No campsites yet, but Gino, up at the head of the group, had his camp-radar set to 10.
Shade and Light
Lush River Plants
We let out a little collective cheer as Gino locates a halfway decent shoreline campsite. It's really not that much elevated from the water level, though, and rather stoney, so overall it's ok but not fantastic. As we mull it over, Jenn emerges from the trees on the other side of the river and says she's found a higher, drier site. We follow her, and yes, following a little path, we soon emerge into a sandy clearing, hard-up against the canyon wall. There's space here for all of our tents, and as a bonus, there are cracks and nooks and ledges in the canyon wall that will function well as a place to place our gear, and maybe even set up a clothesline. Perhaps the only downside is the presence of a few large cow-patties, but a little bit of careful manipulation with the hiking poles and that is taken care of.
Sandy Campsite
Sandy Campsite, side-on
Handy drying line
Evening at camp was a much more relaxed affair than the previous evening: we had arrived early, we had had a straightforward and easy river-walk to get here, and there was little of the uncertainty that had filled our minds on the previous day. We used the many nooks and crannies of the cliff wall next to our tents as a kind of table, allowing us to reorganize our gear. In the warm and still evening, several of us went off to the nearby Escalante River to find a deep spot to take a short, refreshing swim.
courtesy JInnes
Reviewing our Progress
Crew at 3rd Camp
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