Saturday, September 5, 2009
"SPOOKY, PEEK-A-BOO & (Dry Fork) COYOTE GULCHES"
If you are claustrophobic, there is no way that you will handle Spooky Gulch narrows (pictured). I was walking sideways and I weigh 150. It is so narrow, locals say, rattlesnakes drop in from the top, as they cannot sense the chasm. Stick to Dry Fork Coyote Gulch's narrows if you don't like it tight. Nonetheless, Spooky is awesome, if indeed intense. Peek-a-Boo Gulch presents natural bridges (almost immediately from the south end, which is the access here described).
Steve Allen has a nice loop description in his "Canyoneering 3" (hike 19). It includes the southern ends of Spooky and Peek-a-Boo.
It's hot and dry (except when it flash floods) in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Be cautious.
To access this area use the Dry Fork Coyote Road (high-clearance), which is 26 miles south on Hole-in-the-Rock Rd., to the left or easterly. Hole-in-the-Rock begins just east of Escalante, Utah, off of Rt. 12.
The hiking trail begins at the parking area, 1.7 miles down DFC Rd. The trail northeast will be marked, as it is popular. Do not get on the sand dune as you pass right of it. Stay right and descend into the gulch. When the Dry Fork Coyote Gulch is reached, Peek-a-Boo is the first slot on the left, as you travel down canyon, or east in Coyote. A climb up into Peek-a-Boo is required. Spooky is about 15 minutes east of Peek-a-Boo.
Brimstone Gulch is the next slot downstream from Spooky, but we did not explore it. It is difficult, as are the northern reaches of Spooky. Further along yet, past Brimstone, is a side canyon that contains a natural bridge.
Less tight are the narrows of Dry Fork Coyote in the opposite direction (up canyon), where a loop can be made to the parking area by exiting DFC Gulch left and hiking cross country SE to the vehicle.
I have no time designations for the area hiking. When the water is half gone, return to the vehicle. This is more a photographer's playground than a hike. But it is challenging.
Approximate mileages from trail head: Dry Fork Coyote Gulch 1/3 mi., Peek-a-Boo Gulch is a very short walk down canyon, Spooky Gulch additional 1/2 mile dc, Brimstone Gulch additional 1 mile dc.
If you want to see more of Dry Fork Coyote Gulch, use the Red Well Road. It travels east, 30.7 miles south (down) Hole-in-the-Rock Rd. The trail head is 1.3 miles down Red Well Rd. Dry Fork Coyote confluence is left, a half hour down the trail, as it heads east.
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