[< Previous Page]
[page 1] [page 2] [page 3] [page 4] [page 5] [page 6] [page 7] [page 8] [page 9] [page 10] [page 11] [page 12] [page 13] [page 14] [page 15] [page 16]
[Next Page >]
The area around Broken Bow arch is fairly open and wide, but as soon after we proceed downcanyon from the arch, things narrow up a lot. The canyon walls soar overhead, now many hundreds of feet high and often sheer and clean, and streaked with desert varnish. Down at the creekbed, the rock of the canyon is often U-shaped, forming a canyon bottom that is rounded. That has created situations where there is rounded slickrock bordering the now-more-substantial flow of water, and rather than risk slipping sideways by trying to friction above the flow, we decide (except for Pu) to switch into water shoes and just wade down the creek. Also of note was the silty/muddiness of the creek's water. It had a kind of triple-milk in coffee sort of color and texture, and it also meant we couldn't see the lay of the bed underneath the water. Feeling around with one's poles was helpful to avoid unexpected trips and stumbles.
courtesy JInnes
Crayfish in Willow Gulch
Glowing Walls
Bouldery streambed
Easy wading, no more than ankle or shin dip, continues for the next half hour or so. That makes it very easy for us to enjoy the majesty of Willow Gulch, which is now big and huge. Groundwater is now seeping into the gulch from the lower walls, creating extensive stretches of hanging gardens.
Bouldery streambed
Hanging Gardens
Water shoe cleanout
A tall corner
Amazing Curves
Admiring the scenery
We start to encounter some minor dropoffs and deeper pools. Because the water is so opaque, we can't really see how deep these pools are, and Gino offers his body-as-dipstick skills to determine the depths. Turns out that nothing is more than about waist deep, and we elect not to get out our neoprene or our dry bags, both of which we have brought along in case they are needed. We do ferry the packs across the deepest of the pools (which again, were no more than waist deep).
courtesy JInnes
courtesy JInnes
Trying to circumvent
Gino shows the way
Gino shows the way
courtesy JInnes
courtesy JInnes
The Relaxed Connell
The Relaxed Chen
Rounded section
Pack Ferrying
Pack Ferrying
Below the deeper pools was a section of watery slot - a slot that you can't see (because of twists and turns) to the end. A bit of scouting verified that we could make it through without encountering anything too deep.

Beyond the watery slot, the canyon widened out a bit and the creek became ankle-deep again. In a few minutes we arrived at the end of Willow Gulch - the point at which it empties into 40-mile Gulch. The silty flow from Willow Gulch contrasted strongly with the completely clear flow coming down 40-mile Gulch. I was happy to see the clear flow in 40-mile Gulch, because I wasn't looking forward to having to filter super-silty water like that of Willow Gulch.
Milky Narrows
Nearing Confluence
Final Curve
Arriving at Confluence
Waters of the two Gulches
The confluence of Willow and 40-mile also marked the "low" point of our loop. From here we turned left, starting *up* 40-mile Gulch and in effect, beginning the return leg of our loop. It was getting fairly late in the afternoon now, though, so thoughts turned to finding camp.
Former Arch?
40-mile's creek
Grand Curves
My general experience has been that the large canyons of the lower Escalante region offer a variety of decent camp locations, either on slickrock benches or in deep overhanging alcoves. That didn't seem to be the case here. Although there were plenty of large alcoves, none of them offered benches or flat spots (that were accessible - we could see possible locations high up that would have required some tricky climbing). We did find one marginal spot on a prow of land on the inside of a big bend, but we only selected it after going even farther upcanyon and not finding anything suitable. Since it was getting late and we had determined the marginal site would accommodate all of us (remember, we were a fairly big group - seven people), we returned back to it.
courtesy BConnell
courtesy BConnell
A roofed corner
Hard against the wall
Brushy at times
There wasn't enough flat ground in the best spot (which was located at the top of the prow), so half of us camped up at that level, and the other half down at a grassy bench partway back down to the level of the creek. Not the spacious and convenient group location we were hoping for, but really, not so bad. We were in an amazingly beautiful, remote, quiet desert canyon, and we had it all to ourselves, and the weather was now calm and reasonably warm, so... mostly things were good.
courtesy BConnell
Makeshift Campsite
Makeshift Campsite
40-mile Gulch campsite
courtesy JInnes
Dinner, 40-mile Gulch
Light-painting
[< Previous Page]
[page 1] [page 2] [page 3] [page 4] [page 5] [page 6] [page 7] [page 8] [page 9] [page 10] [page 11] [page 12] [page 13] [page 14] [page 15] [page 16]
[Next Page >]
Send feedback or leave comments (note: comments in message board below are separate from those in above message board)
(There are no messages in the homemade custom message board)
Web Page & Design Copyright 2001-2021 by Andrew Lavigne. (Privacy Policy)