Good morning Escalante! Beautiful sunrise over the Escalante drainage.
Day Three was really Day One. The group was now basically intact, with Penny, Dave, Doug, Malia, Brandon and myself, and a whole slew of great canyons lined up, ready for the pickin’. First up was Esca-Latte, the perfect wake-up canyon to start out the Escalante stretch of the trip.
This canyon is fairly short, compared to the expedition style canyons we would encounter later this week. It was good for us to try out a couple short canyons together, and get a feel for the group dynamics before heading off into deeper water. But it isn’t like Latte didn’t have some punch. The first rappel is nearly 300 feet, and one of the best rappels I’ve ever done. The sandstone is fluted, and soars high above you, as well as nearly wrapping around you. It’s almost like you are in natures version of indoor plumbing, just getting flushed down a tube. Once at the canyon bottom, it kinda smelled like that too. (I know, my bag of material is thin. I promise that will be the last mention of stinky water for the trip.)
The real gem of this canyon is a super keeper pothole that looks dauntingly difficult to get out of. There are two options. Either pack toss the lip, and jug out (it is overhanging) or take the scenic route. After scouting around at about hip level, there is a small passage underwater, and into the next pothole. It was wild. Basically, while swimming, you take off your pack, carry it behind you, dive under water, pop up on the other side, and then pull your (buoyant, remember?) pack under. It was ridiculous. Very cool. Of course, I’d show pictures, but I broke my friggin’ camera about 100 yards earlier in a swimmer. Didn’t seal it up well enough… How convenient, I know.
I’ll post a video of some of the canyon when I get it done. For now, enjoy the pics.
Brandon at the end of the 280 foot entry rappel.
I think that’s Doug coming down. Can’t be sure though, he is still a long ways up there.
Dave after the fluted rappel.
This one is Doug fer sure.
Malia and B stemming along.
The crew getting ready for the underwater passage.
Getting a little lunch break after the stemming section.
More water, more fun.
Final rappel of the day.
Dave took this picture. I have no idea what flower it is, but it sure is purdy.
Penny coming through a soon-to-be swimmer.