CJR Escalante Adventure 2005 – Day 8

Synopsis: Explore the narrows of Death Hollow. Dayhiking; May 24. View Day 8 route map.

The sun blasted us out of bed and it was very hot even during breakfast. Five turkey vultures circled camp expectantly. We were on-trail at 11:30, planning to hike a short way and find a shady pool suitable for general laziness.


Morning in Camp IV.

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However, a leisurely walk was not in store. Around the bend were the upper narrows of Death Hollow.


Me scouting the first pool.

Photo by John Garbe.
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John and me climbing down past a chockstone.

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
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I believe this pool ended up being chest-deep.

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
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Charles emerges from the shadows.

Photo by John Garbe.
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We passed through seven significant pools. Two or three were chest deep, and the last one, appropriately climactic, required swimming for 50 yards. This one had a large toad population. Dozens of the creatures clung to the walls and rock islands as we swam by. Charles scouted the swimmer; he was able to walk back to its head on a ledge, and John and I passed our packs up on a rope, saving us the trouble of devising makeshift floatation as Charles had.

Once through the narrows, a few more bends led us to a fine flat rock. After the icy water, we weren’t so hot any more. We lounged around and nibbled at lunch.


Relaxing in the sun.

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I walked a few minutes downcanyon and found a fall and more narrows, but these could be bypassed on the left side. Also downcanyon were the beginning of the springs, which feed a beautiful, extraordinarily clear perennial stream. More on this later.

After several hours, we headed for home. The sky held quite a few more clouds than the trip so far, which had been almost completely clear.


Who’s that?

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
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It’s John, returning through the swimmer. This pool was over our heads immediately, requiring some stemming moves under water to climb in or out.

Photo by Charles Yeamans.
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On the way back, there was a bonus pool which we had bypassed on the way down. It terminated with a huge, black chockstone which required some challenging Class 5 moves to surmount.

Back in camp, there was a little time to putter before supper. Charles and John played Tic-Tac-Toe to a draw, and it was indeed as exciting as it sounds.

Charles served a dinner of Skillet Potatoes™ and I followed with freeze-dried ice cream.


Western skyline of the canyon as twilight fades.

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The moon had been full on the night of Day 6, and now it was rising well after sunset. The full glory of the desert night sky was beginning to show; we could see thousands and thousands of stars as we lay in bed.

Please continue reading on Day 9.

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