SWH – Part 2 – Hite Marina to Escalante

Distance:  188 miles (303 km) approx.

Start: Hite Marina, UT

Finish:  Escalante, UT

Time:  7 days ( March 2-8, 2012)

Daily Average: 26.9 miles (43.2 km)

Total Distance:  386 miles (621.1 km)

Highlights:

  • Silver Falls Canyon: We hiked a good part of this stretch by moonlight. An ethereal glow emanated from the tops of the canyon walls. Memorable experience.
  • Muley Twist Canyon: Appropriately named canyon which winds its way snake-like for approximately 12 miles from the Burr Trail to Halls Creek. Favourite part were the cavernous alcoves or undercuts which I couldn’t help but think would make for amazing outdoor concert venues.

Lowlights:

  • Chafe: In more than two decades of hiking I had never had a serious case of chafe. Indeed, I occasionally made fun of hiking buddies who bitched and moaned about tender thighs or raw behinds. With a wry grin, I would suggest they reevaluate their on-trail hygiene and wiping techniques. Alas, no more. After retiring my beloved Macpac Cross Terrain shorts, I decided to go with an old nylon pair I picked up from Target some years back. This decision, together with the combination of sand and howling winds, left my inner thighs rawer than raw. Not being prepared for my predicament, I went through an entire tube of lip balm in search of some relief. Unfortunately, the malady was not alleviated until my arrival in Escalante, where I was able to obtain some Bag Balm, a salve which is generally used on cows to avoid chapped udders.
  • Water: The Colorado Plateau constitutes one of the most impressive natural landscapes on the planet. Unfortunately, outside of the National Park areas, its water sources have been significantly despoiled by the widespread presence of cattle. Indeed, the situation is that bad that if I was asked to describe the general quality and consistency of the H2O in the region, I would say, “murky, slow moving with a cow poo twist.”

Notes & Musings:

  • Cows Falling From Cliffs: Just before reaching the end of Harris Wash, Mike and my attention was alerted to a herd of cows that were running at pace towards a sheer cliff face immediately to the south of us. Expecting the bovines to realize their folly at any moment, we watched in amazement as the herd continued past the point of no return, until suddenly the lead cows realized the danger of their predicament. They began to turn, however, the proximity of the following herd made for a logjam, which tragically resulted in two animals losing their footing and tumbling 100 feet to their deaths in the wash below. One of the most bizarre incidents I can recall witnessing.

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