Monday, November 7, 2016

Escalante Loop Trip- Calf Creek Falls

If you don't know anything about me, the one thing you should know is that I love waterfalls.  I'll hike far and wide to catch a glimpse, take a photo, and/or swim in them. Up next would be the infamous Calf Creek falls.  It so happens there are two falls in this area, Upper Calf Creek Falls and Lower Calf Creek falls. The direction we were driving dictated that we would be visiting Lower Calf Creek falls first.  There is a designated recreation area there managed by the BLM, complete with a campground, restrooms, and water.  It is a great hike to take the family, and dogs, as the trail is well maintained. Grab the brochure at the trail head, and it will guide you through an interpretative hike highlighting the flora, and history of the area.  Round trip, you will hike about five and a half miles, and on warmer days bring your swimsuit and towel, it will be worth the quick dip in the large pool at the bottom of the falls. In early spring,  it wasn't warm enough to go swimming. I hiked in sandals, and waded in a bit to get the image below.
Lower Calf Creek Falls

The area, no doubt was frequented by native Fremont and Anasazi peoples.  Ancient granaries and pictographs dating back about nine hundred years can be found close to the trail.  The photo below was taken from across the creek depicting what is thought to be some ancient gods.   Drawn on to the canyon walls the pictographs blend well with the stains from eons of rainfall creating a most colorful 'desert varnish.'

I'd like to imagine that the images depicted ancient aliens, complete with antennae and wild triangular space suits.  Holding hands.... 

 I thought it might be a good idea to get a campsite at the campground for the evening, but Kristi  disagreed.  She really likes boondocking, and I must say, I couldn't agree more. There is that feeling of peace and quiet that can only be experienced when camping in the wild.  

We still had half a day left after lunch and we decided to try and find Upper Calf Creek Falls.  We had the guide book and took off in search of ...  As I seem to do many times on adventures, I drove right past the small parking lot, and had to flip a U to park there. A dusty lot and a register box are all the amenities here.    The trail starts off down a steep slickrock trail marked sparsely by cairns.  At times the trail was quite easy, other times we seemed to wander a bit.   We finally made our way down to the canyon floor, which was obvious, then had to bushwack our way upstream until we came to the falls.  It was much easier route finding on the way out for some reason.

Upper Calf Creek Falls

The falls was cool, lush and green.  Not much in the way of beach, or hang out places.  We shared the view with another couple for a few minutes, and made an image or two.  The challenge was hiking back up the slickrock.  Although the rubber soles of my shoes had exceptional traction, it was steep, and exposed.   An hour of huffing and puffing, we were back at the parking lot.  It was getting late in the day, and I was getting anxious to find a campsite. Happy hour was calling.  The road was really interesting as we headed toward Hell's Backbone.  On either side of the road there was a sheer drop-off, and we seemed to follow on top of a ridge for miles.  We turned onto the Hell's Backbone road and a few miles later we found a really nice spot overlooking the valley below.  With plenty of juniper for firewood, and a few adult beverages, we were content, and ready to settle in for the evening.

No comments: