Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Escalante River Natural Bridge (Escalante National Monument) - 10/16/14

Escalante River Natural Bridge in Autumn

Closer View of Escalante River Natural Bridge

 Four club members had just finished lunch at the Kiva Coffee House on the hill above the Escalante River (plug) when three of them decided to do a short afternoon hike to the Escalante River Natural Bridge whose trailhead was just below. The fourth whiled away the two hours in the coffee house with a gorgeous autumn view (plug). We parked at the river trailhead and, as soon as we started down the trail, we were faced with the sign in the photo to the left! Well, we weren't going that far!

River Crossing
 In our short research, it wasn't clear if we were going to have to get our feet wet in the short two miles upstream. But, we immediately had to take the plunge as we headed in the direction of upstream. John and Tim had water shoes but Kay went in with hiking shoes and hiking socks still attached. Note: Tim was very bothered by the sand, stickies and ants while hiking in his water shoes that had little protection.

Escalante River

 After the first river crossing, there is about a half mile of trail before the second. Most of the trail along the river is deep sand. The hiking is tough on tired legs. We had done the six miles of Lower Calf Creek Falls earlier that day. But, curiosity about the natural bridge kept us going. We had heard that the bridge was not "all that." We wanted to see for ourselves and ... it was a hike suited for the autumn afternoon. We quickly learned to enjoy the shallow river crossings (5 total one way). It was cool on our tired feet and the views from the middle of the river were colorful. Plus, it washed the sand off of our shoes!

Escalante River Afternoon
 About half way up to the bridge, we saw a grouping of tents up on the hill to our right. Soon, we started hearing chainsaws cutting trees. After passing the view of the natural arch located upstream from the natural bridge, we came upon one of the workers in the crew. He explained to us that his crew were taking out non-native Russian Olive trees from the river area. Geez! That's a job!

Tim and John Getting Their Feel Wet

 It was in this vicinity that we found the natural bridge located on the left side of the trail in an alcove. It was actually more impressive than I had been prepared for. Very large and distinctive. It was especially photogenic with the yellow cottonwoods in front of it. We went a little further up the trail to see if we could get a closer view of the arch that follows. No can do. So, we returned under the river and through the sand to the cars. Refreshing hike!

4 miles; 300 feet elevation gain; 2 hours

Natural Arch Up River from Bridge

Escalante River Natural Bridge

No comments: