8th Annual Hassey "Goat Vacation" - Utah!
Was this ever a welcome sight! 

We took a long break overlooking the Escalante valley. Despite the sunshine, it was actually pretty chilly. The breeze had kept us cool on the long uphill climb, but now that we were headed downhill it was cold on our sweaty t-shirts. I put my coat on. 

Poor Sputnik. His feet were sore before we even started, and going downhill was worse than going up. The tent on his pack kept swinging side to side no matter how tight I secured it. Sputnik's "rhumba" style of walking was exaggerated by his soreness and even more when he went downhill. The tent slung back and forth and a few times it actually pulled his pack completely to the side. Sputnik never complained. When his pack flipped under his belly he would stop and wait for someone to come fix it, so I had to look over my shoulder a lot to make sure he was still following. In hindsight I probably should have unloaded that tent and carried it down myself. 

Uphill again? Seriously?? The Escalante valley looked tantalizingly close but looks are deceiving. I thought it would all be downhill once the valley opened up, but we had another steep climb or two in store. 

We got to the bottom and our hitherto well-marked trail petered out in dense brush. Flash flooding in the creek bottoms that summer had obliterated the sandy portions of the trail near Escalante, and a lot of weeds and bushes sprang up from the moisture. We ended up bushwhacking our way to someone's driveway and walking out to the road via private property. Not the best way to do things, but we were in no mood to get lost this close to town. 

We got to the road and Bill called his wife to come pick him and Adrian up. We said our goodbyes and Phil and I headed back to our B & B. For some reason that last mile on the road was the worst part for Sputnik. He was tired and his feet were very sore. We went slow and I let him stop frequently to eat the alfalfa plants that grew abundantly along the roadway. As soon as we got back, the goats went straight into their trailer where I bedded them down deep with fresh straw, stuffed their hay bags, and gave them plenty of clean water. They got their drinks and plopped down to sleep. Phil and I stowed our gear and went straight to dinner where we split a whole rack of ribs and two orders of fries. It was nice to eat again!
At least you didn't meet any of the floating balls of 30+ rattlesnakes in Death Hollow. You know, these places get their names because of stuff that happened. Its amazing how much history there is here from the pioneer and cowboys. A couple weeks ago, some history happened near Sid and Charlie, the towering hoodoo I visit now and then-- A group of motorized paragliders visited, and one guy from Idaho had a control rope get twisted and he crashed and died on takeoff. Sid and Charlie should be renamed to "The Sky Sirens". Last year a semi truck actually flew off of Eagle Canyon Bridge on I-70 and fell hundreds of feet to the very spot I took some pictures a few weeks earlier. Eagle Canyon should now be called Flying Turkey Canyon. I don't even want to know what happened when they named Dirty Devil River, and whats up with Ding and Dang canyons?

Sounds like you were really beat by the hike, but other than low food supplies, it sounds like it was a success regarding seeing the sights and having fun! And all this after doing the swell for a week. Wow.
I don't drink beer, but if I did, I'd prefer Dos Equis.  Stay thirsty my friends!
Thank goodness I don't think snakes are common in Death Hollow! Death Hollow's claim to fame is actually poison ivy (more on that later), which to a lot of folks may be just as bad as snakes I guess. I did hear how Death Hollow got its name. Apparently back in the old mail trail days a horse or mule fell into the canyon and died. I was also told that someone once tried taking a horse up Death Hollow creek to see if there were any possibility of a route that way. He made it but vowed to never ever try taking a horse through there again. Goats rule.

I remember you telling about the semi going off the bridge. Yikes! Rather terrifying way to die. You've got quite a long time to think about it on the way down, but at least the end would be quick and painless.

I would say the hike was definitely a success, but it obviously needed a few tweaks. We were very sore by the last day. Phil was especially in a lot of pain. His feet were killing him. Phil's feet are almost as wide as they are long so he has a wretched time finding shoes that fit even marginally well. 4E shoes are still too narrow. His feet split the seams on the sides of his shoes so lots of little pebbles fell into the gap between the outer sole and the inner lining where he couldn't really get them out. He'd also acquired a lot of blisters from his sandals the previous two days, so by the end of the third day his feet were in really rough shape. I was ok until we got back, and then I made the mistake of sitting down for a while before dinner. Boy was it painful to get back up! Walking on solid rock for two days is evidently very hard on your feet!

So about that poison ivy... now, keep in mind that I've never spent much time living in places where poison ivy grows, so I never learned to identify it. Couple that with the fact that I've never reacted to it even when I did live in poison ivy country during college. I remember someone telling me one time on a hike that I'd just walked through a patch of poison ivy. I was wearing shorts so I should have reacted but I didn't. Since I never got an itch from it, it never left enough of an impression on me for me to remember what it looked like. Well, in the days following our hike up Death Hollow I ready many trail descriptions, all of which emphasized the abundance of poison ivy everywhere on shore. All accounts said "Walk in the creek!" There are photos of people covered head to toe in long pants and long-sleeved shirts with gloves on their hands and bandanas over their faces because the poison ivy in that canyon easily grows five feet high and can't be avoided unless you walk in the creek, which can't be done in places. Of course, not knowing this, and not knowing what poison ivy looks like, Phil and I tromped through without a care in our shorts and t-shirts. All I can say is that we are very, very lucky because neither one of us reacted to it.

It wasn't until a week later that I started to get a tingling itch on my bum. I wondered what it could be as it grew worse over the next two days, developing into a very irritating rash. Phil read up on poison ivy and discovered that it can take up to two weeks for a reaction to show up. And guess what. Yep. I'd made a classic camping blunder! I took a late-night hike and forgot the toilet paper. I felt around behind me for some leaves. Oops. Interestingly, I never got it anywhere else. The hand I used to pull the leaves didn't even react. Since we didn't shower until a good 24+ hours after encountering it, we could have been in very rough shape indeed.

Just as my rash began to go away, Phil started to get bumps here and there. He hadn't wiped with any leaves, thank goodness, but we'd been walking through the stuff all during the late afternoon and evening when the creek got too deep. It was weird that it popped out in random places instead of concentrating on his legs and arms. We were very grateful that neither of us was too reactive, and that the rash conveniently waited until after we got home from our trip before it appeared.
OOOOHHH, MY GOSH!!!!!! What adventures and misadventures!!! Sometime, I will have to tell you my own very stupid encounter with poison ivy. Not nearly as adventurous, but equally dumb! :-). Based on the misery it can cause, if the quicksand had come after the ivy encounter, I probably would have refused fo be pulled out by the rope.and.cried, "Please, just let me sink and end the pain and itching."

So glad you did not perish in the quicksand, from being lost in the wilderness or the poison from the ivy. Means we get to see you again at the next Rendy, I trust.
After our rather exhausting 3-day trip, Phil and I were ready to take it easy. I spent the morning in Catherine's front yard with a bucket and scrub brush cleaning sand out of our packsaddle straps and panniers while Phil headed over to the laundromat so we could have clean clothes for the rest of our trip. I was hanging the goat equipment out to dry just as Phil drove up with the clean laundry. We decided to head out for an easy trip to Willis Creek Canyon, which we had visited on two previous trips. It's a beautiful little hike but short and very easy--perfect for people and goats with tired feet.  

Willis Creek was a lot more crowded this time than it had ever been on our previous trips. I couldn't believe the number of cars in the parking lot! And then we met a group of horseback riders. Judging by the amount of horse poo, this trail has recently become a horseback riding favorite.  

This is my favorite rock, but I could not persuade Sputnik to climb up there with me. 

Finn, however, is not one to miss an opportunity to be in the spotlight. 

Giant goat track?

Petrified snow angel? 
End of the line (for us at least) and a very tall cliff. It reminds me of an all-natural version of Petra. 

Such a beautiful canyon. 

What are they looking for up there?

"What's behind this corner? Oh, a waterfall. No thanks!"

When you accessorize, make sure to choose a goat that matches the landscape. 
This a great vacation picture story, thanks
Get ready for WAY too many photos! It was our last day and we wanted to go somewhere awesome. We remembered Bighorn Canyon from our trip in 2015 and we wanted to return with goats that could go further than old Cuzco had been able to do. The patterns, swirls, and colors in this canyon are incredible and it's hard not to take photos of everything

We passed the big stone beehives which I remembered from our previous trip. I longed to climb this hill of stone and take a closer look at the nifty little hoodoo at the top, but it was very steep and I chickened this time like I did back then. 

Still, this is such an enticing little cherry on top! 

We hiked past Bighorn Canyon to see some sights further along the wash. I love this bacon rock! 

We discovered some perfect little seats in the rock wall. This one even looks like it has a person icon in the background.

The goats checked out the other cubbies and nibbled the cobwebs growing along the sides. I'm not sure why goats like to eat cobwebs. 

"Finn, stop photo-bombing!" 

An indentation in the rock looked like an enormous sarcophagus. When I stood back far enough to capture the whole thing the photo didn't come out good, so I took a close-up of Phil playing dead and got the magnificent swirls in the stone instead of the coffin shape. 

I climbed up this swirly rock and found a really nice pothole up there. It was dry and looked like it would be easy to get stuck in it if you were dumb enough to climb into it. Thankfully me and the goats weren't dumb enough to climb into it. 

Sputnik recovered nicely from his Death Hollow trek and was climbing and jumping all over the place. 

Finn didn't want to jump down the easy way like Sputnik did... No, he had to show off by climbing as far as he could along an impossibly narrow ledge a few feet above the canyon floor. 

Last time we were here there was a shallow creek in the riverbed, but it was almost bone dry this time and the last puddles soon ran out. The goats were without water. Finn watched Phil guzzle a Gatorade and tried to beg some off him. But Finn's lips couldn't quite work the bottle without spilling most of the drink. So I cracked open a Gatorade for Finn and poured it into an empty water bottle. His clever lips soon worked out the nipple and he gulped down every last drop.  

Gatorade lipstick--it's all the rage. 

Sputnik wasn't so interested in the Gatorade but he was happy to split an apple with Finn. Actually, he wasn't happy to split the apple. He wanted it all for himself. Sputnik quickly gobbled down his own half and then licked the piece that was still hanging out of Finn's mouth. Finn immediately spit it out and Sputnik wolfed it down.  

We started up Bighorn Canyon in the afternoon. 

"Is that bacon?!?" 

Sputnik the Bacon King. 

Into the Baconverse. 
Yellow rock soon appeared beyond the swirling pink and red. 

Mummy head.

Looks like the surface of Jupiter.

We decided to drop down into the slot canyon for a while. Sand made the going pretty tough compared to the slickrock above. 

Eventually we encountered a rock obstruction that Finn couldn't pass with his pack on. I scouted ahead for a bit and found more blockages further up and decided it wasn't worth the bother of carrying his packs. The view up top was much prettier and the hiking easier anyway. 

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