There is one drop that is a bit harder than the rest, and requires a bit more scrambling skill. One is presented with a U-shaped drop into which the creek flows in a nice little waterfall. However, it isn't really possible or convenient to navigate the drop at that point. Instead, we had to hike along a ledge above the dropoff to a point a hundred yards or so further downcanyon, and then downclimb a steep and rather smooth slab of bedrock, followed by a four foot high drop. It doesn't sound like much when you write about it, and in reality it isn't that bad, but being at the top of a steep and sand-sprinkled slab of bedrock can be a bit unnerving. There are a few shallow footholds, but the majority of people seem to like to buttslide this part. Alana downclimbed a small tree that had grown up adjacent to the slab. Anyhow, with the first person down spotting those that followed, it all went fairly smoothly.
We had been keeping an eye out for potentially good campsites for the last 30 minutes or so, and had seen one or two, but had succumbed to the "oh there might be something better around the corner" syndrome and had kept on going. Now, though, it was after 4pm, and we were feeling more definitively that we should find a nice place to stop for the night. We were actually making good progress towards the mouth of Coyote Gulch, and were pretty well positioned to make our 3rd day - the "climb out" day - a reasonable and modest length.
So we resolved to stop soon - and sure enough, about two hundred yards around the corner from the slabby downclimb, we came to a low but very wide and very deep alcove. It had a nearly perfectly flat sandy floor and could probably have accommodated twenty tents. Fortunately for us, there was only one group with a couple of tents at the far downstream end of the alcove - the rest of it was completely empty. Score!
Shady Sheltered Camping Alcove
A small aside - one having to do with matters of personal hygiene. With the gradual increase in the number of annual visitors, the national park service has initiated a pack-in/pack-out poop policy in all of Coyote Gulch. I understand this, but of course it's always a little funky to have to carry your business with you on a backpack. I recall from my last backpack in 2011 that there were a couple of open-air toilets, one at Jacob Hamblin Arch and one in the lower end of the Canyon (and I didn't know where exactly that one was). I had heard that the one up at Jacob Hamblin arch had been burned down (who would do that, I wonder?), and I hadn't heard news of the lower one. I had pretty much given up hope of finding the lower one when I spotted a green structure high up on the slopes across from our campsite.
Yup yup - that was indeed an outhouse - and not a crude open-air toilet seat, but a modern spacious structure with modern composting and venting. Another score! I went back and informed the rest of the team and they were... most pleased.
Alright - nice spacious campsite: check. Excellent facilities: check. Early arrival time: check. Beautiful, clear evening: check. In other words, everything had worked out nicely. We spent the rest of the late afternoon lazing around, reading, playing cards, and generally just chilling out. Exactly what the doctor ordered after a full day of hiking.
As is usually the case when away from the huzz-buzzy-blinky electronics of civilization, when the light goes away, everyone goes to sleep. We were mostly therefore all in bed by 8:30pm - except for me, who likes to take night shots.
Interactive trackmap with photo points - Coyote Gulch Day 2 - click map to view
Coyote Gulch Backpack Day 2 - Hike Data
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain:
Total Elevation Loss:
* : +/- 75 feet