I wanted to post some info and pics of my recent trip with Wilderness Trekking school 1 in Escalante. It was a great trip that not only taught me, told me and reconfirmed alot of the thoughts and ideas I had about lightweight backpacking but, showed me as well.
I was really excited to go on this trip but for some reason I didn't plan my gear alot. I read alot of books and looked at maps but, not alot of time with my gear. I thought it was strange to have a whole gear plan setup before going there, I wanted to be educated on what was the best of what I had already or had convinced myself was the best by websites and forums.
On my way there leaving from Denver, making the 9 hr drive to Escalante was a exciting trip in itself. My plan was to drive straight to Escalante and hit up a trail I had read about in the guide book but, then I ended up driving into Capitol Reef National Park; that split second I had just changed my plans.
I got a permit at the ranger station for Chimney rock trail and headed straight there. I had a challenge packing my overnight pack since I had a huge vomit pile of gear all over my car that I had planned to 'sort out' once I got there. So I dug around and found enough of the gear I needed and headed out. I slept under an overhang in a wash that was near the trail. It was a great night which i spent hoping that 50 million years of geology wasn't going to crush me in my sleep.
I got to Escalante and met up with some of my other classmates. At about Noon we went to the Escalante-Grandstair Case Visitor Center where we did introductions and started talking about lightweight philosphies and techniques as well as what BPL wanted us to learn and experience. We then decided to go back to Escalante Outfitters (EO) and setup some tarps and shelters.
The next day we went back to the visitors center to talk about nutrition, seeing what Andy Skurka and Don Wilson, our instructors, were going to carry with them and ideas on what gear was going to be needed. I had been cold the last couple of nights but, the forcast was for warmer temperatures as the week progressed. I decided on a couple of major changes to my gear and food. 1. I cut out the hydration sleeve and back padding on my Jam2, to have it as Andy has his (Savings 3 oz)
2. I couldn't take my beloved pop-tarts on the trip. Not a good weight/oz ratio and they are just sugar i'm told. I love these things for breakfast, lunch or dinner but, when we were only allowed to bring 26 oz of lunch and snack with us for the next 3 days, it changed my way of looking at food. I thought that this was one of those famous Ryan Jordan tricks you hear rumors about, like missing sections on a map.....
Here is what my 26.2 oz looked like:
Officially it was:
1 King Size Snickers
1 ziplock of O.G Pringles
6 Balance Bars (various varities)
2 Clif Bars (Crunchy Peanut Butter!)
1 Sweet & Salty Bar
Here's our groups final pack weights:
Here is a future shot of why Matt had a higher pack weight; he would not be denied his double ridgerest padding :)
We hit the trail on Tuesday afternoon and started our hike in Glen Canyon National Recreational Area at the Coyote Gulch trailhead, going down to the Escalante River and then back out Hurricane wash. Lets just say it was good times!
I took about 300 pictures so I obviously won't post them all here but, here are some pics of spots we stayed and the amazing place that it was.
Camp site #1
Looking east above campsite:
Huge Canyon walls:
Passed a total of 4 arches/bridges:
Don Wilson showing us unexpectedly how to fight your way out of qucksand (Thanks Don!!); see the video at andrewskurka.com:
Walking in water and sandy water to drink, sounds like a good vacation to me!
The Escalante River:
Camp # 2
Andy making us Muffins:
The last dinner, man were we hungry!
and finally, this is what happens when you unleash 12 hungry and thirsty hikers on civilization after a trip!!!
Thats about all i got for now, I will try and post more later. I had a great time and want to thank Don Wilson and Andrew Skurka for their wonderful leadership and sharing with us all of there knowledge and ideas. I also want to thank everyone that was on the trip with me, you guys made it soo much fun!!!!
If you have any specific questions let me know.
Thanks for checking this out.