Day 27 – Dixie Nat Forest to Escalante

Overland Camping Roadtrip Blog

Travel Day 27:

Total km driven to date: 5653km

Total km walked to date: 224.28km

Dixie National Forest, UT – Escalante, UT

111km drive

10.69km on foot

                Today was one of those days that was really amazing for the difference of landscape over 111km. We started the day in the same campsite in the Dixie National Forest, pine trees galore with little in the way of underbrush due to all the pine needles over the ground. We got back on Hwy 12 and headed SW eventually climbing up and over the pass at 9600ft. As we started to descend on the other side of the mountains the landscape turned to mostly white birch trees and the red rock desert stretched out in the distance. We pulled into a parking lot of Chriss Lake and decided to go for a hike up to the lake to have a swim. The sign said 1.8m each way, or approx 6km round trip. Well first off I think that was as the crow flies because it turned out to be more like 9km hike, and what they consider a Lake in Utah I would consider a pond. It was tiny and fully of weeds and bushes. Needless to say I did not go for a swim but my co-pilot went for a dip. The trail was tiny single track up and over some huge rocks and majorly overgrown, but it wound through some nice pastures and birch forests. I had to snap a pic of one tree that said “What up Bee” and underneath “Walking”. Lots of the birch trees had names carved in them, the oldest name I saw was from ’84, almost as old as me! We also saw the first real wildlife aside from some birds and lizards that we’ve seen since Yellowstone, at one point clueless Axel was standing less than 10′ from clueless white tail deer. They were both shocked once they realized.

                We hopped back in the truck after the hike and continued heading downhill, eventually coming to the tiny town of Boulder Utah. A ranch town with one store, one campground and about 8 houses. From there it was time for another drastic change as the road continued dropping back to 5000ft and we were back in redrock canyon country again. That wonderfully beautiful mars like landscape that is just hot as hell. Got some fantastic pictures from the top of one of the peaks and then we headed down into the canyons before climbing back up on the other side to get to more pasture land outside of Escalante. Saw a sign for the Petrified Forest State Park and pulled up at the toll booth to ask the Ranger what was up. I noticed to my surprise on the other side of the toll booth a large lake/reservoir that looked very inviting on a mid-30’s day. Apparently my annual National Park pass does not work on State Parks, so the Ranger told me if I just wanted to come for a swim it would be $4, if I wanted to go hike to the petrified forest it would be $8. Since I’m on a tight budget I decided $4 was an expensive swim so I turned around and headed back out. As I was leaving I noticed cars on the other side of the lake and a nice sandy beach. Well one quick gravel road and I had myself a free swim in the same lake and it was glorious. Only the second swim of the trip and first since the foothills of the Rockies in Colorado. We got back on the road and at this time it was around 3pm so started looking for a place to camp. Saw a brown sign saying “Dixie National Forest Access” just to the South of Escalante so I took it and followed it for about 5km before finding a nice turn off to set up camp for the night. Its close to an unnamed (probably not I just dont know!) creek so I went for a walk to check it out while my thunderbuddy co-pilot cowered in the truck due to a bit of thunder going on. The creek was one of the coolest I have ever walked up, only about 4″ deep and 5′ across it was very warm and full of pebbles but due to the warmth of the water is was not slippery at all. I think I am affected by “Corneritis” Disease, my father has it and his father before him, where you always want to see whats around the next corner and end up walking for way further than you originally intended! I hiked up the creek far enough so I took a shortcut thru a gnarly prickle thicket back to camp to make dinner.

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