Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Day 6 - A Different Side of Utah

Moab, while dotted with some beautiful geology painted a very bleak side of Utah. I honestly couldn't understand how anyone would want to live there unless that's where they were born and had no idea the rest of the world existed. On our way to Zion we decided to stop by Escalante which turned out to be an excellent decision. The drive from Moab to Escalante  (mainly on state road 12) takes you up into beautiful mountains where there are free ranging cattle crossing the road, copious white birches and my favorite thing - the air smells amazing. I don't know how to describe the smell exactly but it reminded me of summers when I would go to visit my grandmother on her farm in Vermont. It's clean, almost sweet and literally made me happy to breathe it in.

Escalante is a very small town but there are a ton of trails and sites to visit. In fact they sell a guide book that is an inch thick with pictures and info on all the trails which would probably take a good several weeks to accomplish. Lunch was procured at Escalante Outfitters, a combo outdoors equipment store and restaurant. I found the food to be fantastic despite the demure appearance of the establishment. Fortunately the Petrified Forest campground right outside of Escalante "downtown" still had a couple tent sites available and we took advantage of site 13. The park has a small reservoir that you can swim in which was surprisingly an agreeable temperature and very relaxing. After cooking dinner and hanging out for a while playing cards we laid out a blanket and sat on top of a large rock watching as a storm slowly rolled in around 1:30 am. The lightening show was amazing and we hopped back in the tent when the lightening / thunder intervals were less than 5 seconds.

Most of the storm skirted around us as far as the rain was concerned but the wind was vicious. As the tent walls snapped in and out we were seriously wondering if the tent poles would hold or if we would be replacing the thing the next day. Thankfully we had staked not only the corners of the tent but also the ropes that come off each corner as well. It finally settled down around 3 am I guess or I just passed out unconcerned by the potential of become a human burrito inside the tent. If I went home today, I would pick yesterday as my favorite day of the trip between the peaceful beauty of the mountains and the amazing little campground in Escalante.

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