We had hiked about 7 miles the first day, about 8 the second day, and we were pleasantly surprised that we recovered over night. So, on day three, we set off for another exploration of the Escalante River. Thinking we would go upriver from the highway, we headed back towards Boulder; but on the outskirts of town, we noticed a trailhead sign that indicated we could access the river from the east end and skip the drive. Our hiking book said it was 14 miles to where Hwy. 12 crosses the river but we had no intention of going that far. I remembered the sign at the bridge on our previous hike:
Almost as soon as the trail reached the river, the canyon walls rose up and closed in. We traveled slowly down river, crossing the stream many times and had to stop occasionally to rest our cramping necks. Necks are not accustomed to looking up and the towering cliffs demanded that we look at their flamboyant ribbons of color and texture.
It was hard to make the decision to turn back as each bend in the canyon promised another breathtaking alcove, waterfall, or slot canyon, but common sense prevailed and we retraced our path back to the car after about five miles.
As usual, we finished the hike with howling stomachs, but thankfully we were only a couple of miles from Escalante Outfitters . With mouths watering we made all haste only to find they were CLOSED! .https://www.escalanteoutfitters.com/restaurant/
With heavy hearts we continued towards home, consoling ourselves with the thought of my homemade, cheese/black bean/corn enchiladas with authentic sauce made from scratch, that were languishing in the camper refrigerator. But we spotted this gem!
The special of the day was pozole, something that no self-respecting vegetarian would eat but…on vacation, I eat as the Romans eat or in this case, the Mexicans. I’m seriously thinking of another trip to Escalante just to sample other menu items. I’m certain this experience has ruined me for any other pozole and so, I vow not to eat it ever again, but the memory of that savory soup will linger always. Tamera’s quesadilla, layered with tender pork and good quality cheese came with salsa and guacamole, obviously made fresh on the premises. Tortilla chips, made from flour tortillas, were also freshly made. There was nothing healthy about this fabulous meal and I’m grateful Georgie’s is 600 miles from home.
So, enough of waxing rhapsodic about the food we have eaten; it’s obvious I’m avoiding the inevitable parting of the ways with MFN. We spent our last evening in paradise appreciating the Yonder Escalante glamcamp.
Morning came and neither of us was eager to hit the road for home and say good-bye, so we went into town in search of breakfast that neither of us really wanted. The Outfitter restaurant was still closed but the store offered a nice assortment of prepared food. That uncomfortable space of time, where the imminent parting hung between us like a diaphanous curtain couldn’t be ignored. A lingering hug in the parking lot had me stumbling towards my car with tears welling unbidden. Remembering one of our fireside conversations about break-ups with boyfriends and distracted driving, I paused to text her that I wouldn’t sob and drive.
On the road again, equanimity restored, I was transported by the panorama around me. It was easy to live in the moment and enjoy the drive to Bryce National Park.