Last month, my husband and I started a commitment to road trip every month or so to explore the wondrous surroundings of our southwest desert location. In the past, we’ve done some traveling to Joshua Tree, Bisbee, Moab, and other Colorado locations but when we lived in Sedona, that locale was excellent for exploring and hiking so we often stayed put. Other trips were primarily based on family visits, leaving us little opportunity for new wanderings and discoveries.
Recently, we planned a three day trip to Escalante, Utah.
Our main impetus was to check out the glamping opportunity at Yonder Escalante, a new upscale campsite offering elevated amenities such as comfy cabins, spa-like outdoor showers, an indoor-outdoor clubhouse and assorted meal, cocktail and s’more kits for creating your own campfire fun. We took the cabin with the private bath and extended patio for more privacy because, frankly, we are slowly sliding into the idea of camping so that it sticks.
The first night we opted for the in house meal kit. Thankfully it was available because a Tuesday night in Escalante didn’t offer many options for dining out. We tried the vegetarian sausage and it was delicious. It took no time to get a fire started and the prep work done.
A couple of glasses of wine and then a hot beverage got us through the rest of our cozy bonfire for two.
The next day, we left our site for a hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls which is part of the Grand Escalante Staircase National Monument. The trailhead was a short drive from our campsite. Luckily we didn’t arrive too late as the parking was limited. The 6.1 roundtrip hike was on an extremely sandy trail so it took us a little longer than anticipated but the waterfall at the trail’s end was well worth it and so unexpected.
The 126 foot fall is generated by a natural spring that splashes down into a water well surrounded by a natural beach – again thanks to the sandy soil surrounding the area. The spray from the water was quite refreshing. Many folks were set up for the day – luxuriating in the coolness of the environment. Click on my Instagram link here to see the video of this impressive waterfall.
Lunch was late but wonderful at the Escalante Outfitters. We had salads and local beers on the shaded deck which was kept busy by a steady flow of customers – again, not much available in the way of restaurants at the time. So, we left town with some to go salads from the Mercantile Store for a late dinner back at our cabin. It was another relaxing evening, sitting in the comfortable breeze at the clubhouse. We took a walk around the property and checked out the drive-in with classic cars available Thursday-Sunday for evening entertainment.
The next morning, we breakfasted at the Kiva Koffeehouse – a lovely destination spot that we backtracked to because it wasn’t open on Tuesday. We felt that the drive was worth the repeat, winding along the Escalante staircase.
It’s a blessing and a curse to travel on the early weekdays. We get to have the places to ourselves and there is relatively less traffic on the trails and the roads but many shops and restaurants are closed.
At the last minute, we decided to extend our trip to incorporate a visit to Horseshoe Bend which is located right outside Page, AZ and Lake Powell. It was a short walk to the edge that held one of the best views outside of the Grand Canyon. We had researched that the ideal time to see and photograph the site was high noon. We were thankful for the 90 degree temperature – it could have been so much hotter.
That night we revisited Lake Powell to find that the park now had an entrance fee of $30. A little surprised but, in the end, it was well worth the golden hour we experienced after our dinner at the Rainbow Room.
Staying at the Hyatt Place was such a commercialized contrast to our adventure in the desert- lots of boater families looking to seize the day at the lake. We were glad to have had our tranquil Escalante experience… (plus, no critters or storms to hamper the adventure).
We won’t be visiting any more national parks until after the summer. It’s warm everywhere but the highest elevations and a lot of families are out and about. Many areas now have sign up reservation lists for visitors, so we will wait until traffic settles down a bit.
An anniversary trip back to Sedona is in the works for next month instead…after living there for several years we have a few tricks up our sleeves for avoiding the tourists 😉
Namasté, Kim 🕉