Southern Utah Wanderings | Day 4

Day 4 | Tuesday, October 6, 2009 | Starting Odometer: 144260

It was a great start to a day. The wind had finally died down overnight and I woke up to a great sunrise over Lake Powell from Alstrom Point. Since it was my mom’s birthday and I had full signal up there, I gave her a call to wish her a happy birthday. I took some photos before packing up the Jeep and heading back to Big Water from some more gas.

Packing up

The Moon

Instead of taking the route I came by, I decided to check out the Tibbet Canyon and Nipple Creek trails which formed a loop off off the Smoky Mountain Road not too far from Alstrom Point.

Tibbet Canyon

Nipple Butte

Mushroom Shaped Rock along Nipple Creek

After completing the loop, I headed up the long and dusty Smoky Mountain Road over the desolate Kaiparowits Plateau to Escalante. While the scenery along this road was nice….the highlight of the road was the climb up Kelly Grade.

Along the Smoky Mountain Road in the Glen Canyon NRA

Back into the GSENM

Headed towards the Kelly Grade

Climbing the Kelly Grade

Surrounded by great colors!

Overlook at the top of the Kelly Grade

Further along the Smoky Mountain Road after some high speed driving across the top šŸ˜‰

I made it to Escalante for a late lunch at the Golden Loop Cafe to decide where I would head that evening. I ended up deciding to take the Hole in the Rock Road east of town until it got dark and that’s where I would setup camp. Along the way I stopped at the Devil’s Garden to explore and took a bunch of photos. It reminded me of a smaller Goblin Valley with bigger and more spread out goblins.

Metate Arch

Mano Arch

Further along I reached Dance Hall Rock as the sun was getting low in the sky. Made for some good photos.

Dance Hall Rock

Long shadows

In the end, I actually ended up reaching the Hole in the Rock just after sunset while there was still a little light left. Looks like I would be camping at the end of the trail near Lake Powell again.

Hole in the Rock, just after sunset

My campsite for the night

Ending Odometer: 144445 | Total Miles: 185