Day 2

April 15, 2017

Hotel Spring to Large Potholes on the Esplanade Above Paradise Canyon


Click on photos to see larger image.

Today's route stats: 

    Distance:  7.0 miles (rough estimate)

    Elevation Gain:  400 feet

    Elevation Loss:  300 feet


Today was expected to be one of our longest days.  We were hoping to get to the Cowboy camp (mentioned in Steck's book) near Cork Spring. 

The major concern along this route is water, or the lack of water.  We were hoping, and expecting, to find water either in potholes or down some of the slickrock drainages that we would pass.  As we hiked along the Esplanade toward some large potholes that Rich Rudow had told me about, we were on the lookout for other sources of water.  We spotted on smallish pothole in one side drainage, but everything else seemed totally dry. 

I have less tolerance for the heat than I used to, and I consume much more water than either Ben or Rob (especially Ben).  I started out with 3-1/2 liters of water.  And by late morning the temperature was above my comfort level.  I've thought about this a lot, and not exactly sure why this would be so.  Perhaps my blood pressure meds?  I do have an extra layer of fat that surely diminishes my heat tolerance.  For example, by mid morning I was sweating heavily while Ben still had on his long-sleeved smart-wool shirt. 

The hiking along the Esplanade was gorgeous, with huge views in all directions. 


Morning Hike Out of Hotel Spring Canyon. Ben on Slickrock Bench Overlooking River. Mount Sinyella and Colorado River.


We rounded Boysag Point (derived from a Piute word meaning "bridge" because of the natural bridge separating the point from the mainland) and reached the first of Rich's potholes around 1 PM.  We stopped there for a while, getting more water and eating lunch.  The potholes were amazing.  They were way out on the Esplanade near the edge overlooking the Colorado River.  As we were heading out there, it was hard to imagine that we would find water.  But we found several large potholes with lots of water.    Both wonderful and bizarre.

Mount Sinyella in Distance (Across River). Large Pothole and Boysag Point. Deep Pothole.

After lunch and collecting more water, we continued toward Cork Spring.  Hiking along the Esplanade seemed significantly more difficult along in this area than other areas, such as the Thunder River Trail, or in the Sowats area.  The difficulty stemmed from having to head numerous side canyons, each with branches and gullies that at times seemed endless.  Once we got to Rudow's second set of potholes, it was already mid to late afternoon, and we decided to stop for the night.  We certainly thought that we could have made to Steck's Cowboy camp above Cork Spring Canyon, but we would then probably have to hike down into the drainage to retrieve water from Cork Spring.  And we weren't certain of the route or how long it would take. 

Rich's second set of potholes is located on the Esplanade above the west arms of Paradise Canyon.  Getting around the north-east set of drainages was slow.  We kept looking in the distance to see where the large potholes could be located, but nothing looked promising.  But again, we were amazed when we finally found them.  They were huge and beautiful.

Because of my loud snoring, I found a place to camp some distance from the others, as usual.  While picking up stones to hold down my ground sheet, I was startled to find a baby rattlesnake curled up under the stone.  It didn't have any rattles, but it did have the characteristic wedge-shaped head of a viper.  There was a very deep crack nearby, perhaps 15 feet deep, and since I didn't want to sleep next to the rattler, with a stick I flipped it towards the crack.  Then somehow I lost track of where it went.  I eventually found it again or I would have been forced to move my camp.

Tonight I continued to listen to Sapiens.


Odd Location for Huge Potholes. Ben and Rob Collecting Water. My Home.  Mount Sinyella in Distance.


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