Death Hollow Prep
Monday, September 30
Now finished with our Willow Gulch loop, we had a lot to do if we were going to start down Death Hollow on October 1st - the very next morning. First, we had to complete the long drive alllllllll the way back north to the town of Escalante. Then we needed to make a quick top-up stop at the town's grocery store. Then a quick lunch (at the Nemo's burger joint). Then we needed to tank up on water in town, since our evening's campsite/campground, and nearly all of the first day of hiking in Death Hollow, were likely completely dry. And then we made our way north, up, up, up... climbing up the Hells Backbone road to a point high on the slopes of Boulder Mountain, to a forest service campground (called the Blue Spruce Campground) located just a few miles away from Death Hollow's upper drop-in point. All of that took us about 4 hours, from 2pm to 6pm.
Our rushed day was not yet over. Overall, we needed to reorganize and get our packs loaded up for a 4-day-ish outing, which itself takes some care and time. Then Brian and I needed to ferry one of the jeeps down to the end point of the backpack (remember, our descent of Death Hollow was a one-way outing). Plus we took the long way around on the Hells Backbone road so that I can scout out the Death Hollow drop-in point. The planned endpoint of our backpack, a spot called Big Flat, is way back down near the town of Escalante, and a ways down a rather gnarly 4x4 road at that. And then we had to drive all the way back up the Hells Backbone road to the Blue Spruce campground. That ferry task alone took us nearly two hours.
We arrive back at the Blue Spruce campground at a quarter before 10pm. Everybody else would have frozen (the nighttime temperature up here at 9,000 feet had plummeted to near the freezing point) but for the nice hot fire that was going.