Two weeks spent exploring the slickrock benches and verdant canyons of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

A couple of days later, we were joined at our camp by Alex,  Jeff and Whiskey the dog.  Together we drove down Fortymile Ridge Road to a sandy trailhead from which we could reach the Escalante River itself.  Our goal was to get a good close--up view of Stevens Arch, high up on the redrock wall just upstream from the confluence of Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River.

  • Our hiking party, including Whiskey the dog and Alex in her shoulder sling and high-fashion hiking skirt
  • Looking out over the cliff towards the Escalante
  • Traversing to the opening of the Crack in the Wall; Stevens Arch is seen at upper right
After an hour's hike across the sand and slickrock, we reached the Crack In The Wall, where the landscape drops off dramatically a steep sand hill that leads directly down to Coyote Gulch.  This gave us our first glimpse of the Escalante River and Stevens Arch.

  • Lowering our gear down over Crack In The Wall - Whiskey the dog travelled similarly in a harness
  • Shuffling down the sand hill was a helluva lot easier than the slog back up
  • Stevens Arch as seen on our way down the sand hill from Crack In The Wall
The Crack In The Wall is a narrow cleft that requires a bit of tricky downclimbing and a tight sqeeze through a slot to get from the slickrock bench down to the start of the sand hill.  It was much easier lowering the packs over the side than trying to drag them through the slot.  Whiskey came down the same way, in a harness.