Hayduke Route 23 day: 15-16 miles/340 miles total. Steven’s Canyon and Coyote Gulch

I don’t know if I had mentioned it before, but we have been off the standard Hayduke Route and on an alternate (again). The standard route has you exiting Capitol Reef National Park via Moody Canyon in order to enter the Escalante River further up canyon. Having hiked and packrafted the entire Escalante River, I had no desire to do so again. Hence why I decided to explore terra incógnita (for me) and ended up doing the Baker Route and Steven’s Canyon.

Back to that, we left our cowboy camp by 0830, ready for more route finding in Steven’s Canyon. The route had us leave the canyon floor and climb to the rim in order to bypass a dry waterfall. Some of the rim walking had some scary exposure, where a misstep would lead to a 300 foot slide fall. After about two hours of this agoraphobic path, the route again dropped us into the canyon floor, only to pass thru a gauntlet of poison ivy. There was no avoiding it. It was everywhere. Damn!! I hate a poison ivy. I’m pretty sure I got some on me. It won’t be the first time. Oh well. The rash would start showing in about three days. Steven’s Canyon eventually fed us to the Escalante River, where we still had about a mile hike in the mid thigh deep water to get to Coyote Gulch. It also at this confluence where we saw the massive Stevens Arch. This would be my third time thru scenic and wet Coyote Gulch. This indeed is one of the most beautiful canyons ever and also very popular. We saw maybe at least 25 souls through out the canyon as we made our way up to our campsite at Jacob Hamblin Arch. On the way, we walked under Coyote Bridge. It’s no wonder this place is so popular, especially with all the flowing water and waterfalls. Cuban B and I where in drill mode and hightailed it very quick to camp, arriving by 5pm. We both have a very fast pace, especially with good trail. Belinda, Pete, and Garrison arrived about an hour later. Deep in this canyon we slept under the arch.

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