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Lick Wash

Monday, October 31st, 2011: Southeast Utah, Trips.

Day 7: Escalante to Page

Highlights: Psychedelic rock!

To me, it seems that Capitol Reef marks a divide between extreme southeast Utah and south-central Utah. The southeastern area I’ve spent the most time in, the Henry Mountains, the Manti-LaSalle forest, and Cedar Mesa, is much less populated and much less traveled; although it’s closer to where I live, it’s farther from the big cities. When you cross west into the Escalante area you get into the crowds, because this area is much more accessible from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Phoenix. I thought the Burr Trail was pretty remote, but even in this cold weather there were crowds at every trailhead. Escalante, although a very small town, is totally tourist-oriented. I had to stay the night there – camping is just too regulated in this area for my tastes, and I needed a restaurant meal after almost a week of canned food.

The next day, I planned to head south through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument on one of the long backroads, hoping to find a good hike or two and maybe a campsite. The road I took turned out to be another bone-rattler, and every trailhead seemed to have multiple fancy SUVs already parked there. Finally I stopped at the Lick Wash trailhead, where there were a couple of dusty trucks parked. I loaded my pack for a day hike, and as I approached the trail, I met a guy coming out. Unlike the other fashionable yuppie hikers I’d seen on this trip, he was dressed like me – worn-out jeans, a baggy old t-shirt, and a cheap floppy hat. He was also about my age, and motioned that he lives “right over there” and hikes this trail at least once a month “to see what the trees are doing”. My kind of guy!

A mile or so down the trail in the canyon, I met an attractive, fashionably-dressed, 30-something couple heading out with an off-leash pit bull. The dog came up to meet me first, growling. I waited patiently for it to sniff me, but the girl ran up and threw down on the dog violently, rolling it onto its back and clamping its jaws with her hand. She looked up at me, smiling. “This is the first chance I’ve had to do this,” she explained proudly. I love dogs, but dog people are another thing entirely, there are so many different kinds!

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