Appropriate from the Distance – Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

With some glorious canyons fresh in our minds, we headed further down road 12 to the area’s main draw, Hole-in-the-Rock road.  The local town, Escalante, is a great place to gather information, stock up, and rest for the roughest, more tooth-rattling road we have ever driven down.

Hole-in-the-Rock Road

We really wanted to visit Zebra Canyon, so we checked in with the rangers to see if our 2wd could make it (no repeats of White Pocket) and they said that while we unfortunately wouldn’t be able to make it all the way to Hole in the Rock, we should be fine to make it down to Zebra Canyon.

This road is rough.  It’s so bumpy that you can’t hold a conversation while driving and made us worry the whole time that our wheels would fall off or everything inside the van would fly out of the cupboards.  We weren’t sure whether it was better to drive 10 mph and try to gently roll over the road or drive 30 and try to skip from crest to crest.  In the end we drove 10 and made it to our first stop safely, though shaken like a James Bond martini.

Goblin Valley

Another example of the glories that sandstone, weather, and time can create, the hoodoos here are short but exquisite.  I was surprised that it’s okay to climb over them as the sandstone would seem to erode much more quickly, but the park rangers are okay with it, though I’m sure that they monitor the hoodoos to make sure that excessive damage is not being done (by, say idiots like these).   It turns out that you’re welcome to walk anywhere you want in this national monument, which I guess includes on top of things.

They’re easy to access, family-friendly, and create an almost alien-landscape to walk around.

We wanted to get an early start on Zebra Canyon the next morning, before the sun made things unbearable and spent that night camping in a secluded spot, feasting our eyes on gorgeous landscape like this.

Zebra Canyon

I’m glad we did, because the walk out to Zebra Canyon provided almost nothing in the way of shade.  From what we read, we were prepared to get lost and have very little in the way or landmarks, but it turned out to be rather easy to find.  Here‘s one of the sites we used for directions.

Either way, we had a nice hike out, seeing some really cool rock formations.  And cows (not pictured).

The last photo is of a large hill right before the entrance to Zebra Canyon.  We met a couple who were having a hard time finding the entrance, so we wandered around with them, exploring possibilities.  I’m glad we did, because we ended up walking over this strange, cracked, bizarre hill.  It felt like walking over the back of a giant turtle and if we had been in the swamp, I swear I would have felt like Atreyu.

Find the entrance we did and man is Zebra Canyon narrow.  At times my foot was too wide for the floor of the canyon.  The hike in is awesome, but here’s my only piece of advice: once you hit the wall and it looks like you can climb up, do so.  The higher up the walls you go, the more stripes.  The walk was cool, but all the really stratified photos you see from Zebra Canyon are from people who climbed up and then turned around.

Zebra Canyon was really cool and an excellent hike in and out; I completely recommend it.

If we had a 4wd vehicle I would have advocated for continuing down denture-loosing road to the end, but we were not getting stuck again, so called it a win and left.

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