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Backpacking with the Sierra Club in Coyote Gulch
June 29 to July 4, 2010
Jacob Hamblin Arch

June 29 to July 4, 2010. Backpacking with the Sierra Club in Coyote Gulch, Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. A dozen of us, mostly from Las Vegas, headed for the canyons of the Escalante to bask in the glory of red sandstone chasms, listen to the summer serenade of birds and toads, and skip through fish-filled sandy steams running beneath grand arches of gracefully curving stone.
Starting to get

Day 1: We left Las Vegas and drove about 5 hours to the BLM Visitor Center in Escalante, UT. From there we continued for another hour to the trailhead, where temperatures were about 100 degrees. We couldn't wait for the rest of the crew in the blazing sun, so we started down the trail. We stopped 6.5 miles out and camped on a rocky bench above the creek.

coyote gulch

Day 2: We continued down Coyote Gulch about 2.5 miles to Jacob Hamblin Arch where we camped in the enormous alcove at the toe of the fin that forms the arch. With such a short day of hiking, we explored a side canyon along the way.

Coyote Gulch

Day 3: We continued down Coyote Gulch about 5 miles, passing Coyote Arch and Jug Handle Arch along the way. We camped in another huge alcove about 1 mile upstream from the Escalante River.

escalante river

Day 4: We day-tripped down the canyon and climbed onto a promontory overlooking the Escalante River. On the other side of the river, we had a great view of Stevens Arch. We then dropped into and hiked up the Escalante for a mile or so. The crew returned via the same route, but I continued down the Escalante River to the confluence with Coyote Gulch. Hiking back up Coyote Gulch alone, I learned about the difficult traverse necessary to pass a large obstacle that blocks easy passage.

coyote gulch

Day 5: We hiked 5 miles back to Jacob Hamblin Arch, arriving by lunch time, and relaxed for the rest of the day. We passed part of the afternoon planning a surprise birthday party for one of the crew.

coyote gulch Day 6: We started out in the pre-dawn twilight and hiked out to the trailhead, hoping to beat the mid-day heat. We were somewhat successful, and drove home in time to see the 4th of July fireworks in town.
Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
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