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Calf Creek Falls  (Escalante, Utah)

(Reprint from News: June 18, 2001)

June 18, 2001

 

I got back on Utah Highway 12 the next day heading east and drove through some spectacular sandstone landscapes, then around noon I approached the parking area for Calf Creek Falls.  I've driven by the falls many times during previous trips but never had the time to hike to the waterfalls.  What the heck, I figured, I wasn't in any hurry and I'd heard good things about the falls, so I pulled into the parking lot, put on my hiking boots, and stuffed my daypack with a few quarts of water, some peaches, and my camera.

 

The temperature was 93 degrees when l headed out for the 3-mile hike, but the air was dry so it wasn't unpleasant and the hike along the sandy trail through the meandering red sandstone canyon was peaceful and relaxing.  After an hour of hiking, I started to hear the falling water echo off the sandstone cliffs and a few minutes later, the spectacular waterfalls suddenly appeared through the trees.  It was a beautiful sight.

 

There were a few folks here splashing in the water under the falls and having a good time, enjoying this oasis in the middle of the barren desert.  Yep, I figured this was a good place to take off my shoes and kick back for a while.  In fact, I relaxed for over an hour at the bottom of the Calf Creek Falls, wading in the pond and sitting on the sand, watching the water cascade down the sandstone chute, smoothened over the eons to a glistening sheen. 

 

After a while, I started talking to one of the folks who was here.  He was an architect about my age named Chris who spoke with an English accent and lived, interestingly enough, in Illinois.  Chris had brought his two teen-aged boys with him on a two-week vacation to show them around the West, and they were all obviously having a great time.  Chris applauded my 18-month trip and told me, "Life is too short not to enjoy it.  You have to take advantage of every minute."  As I gazed up at the falls, I told Chris that I couldn't agree with him more.

 

       

Above left:  A tired gas pump in Cannonville, Utah.  I laugh at this "Too Pooped To Pump" sign every time I drive through Cannonville.  This time I bumped into the owner, a pleasant man in his eighties, and we had a nice chat.

Above center:  Utah Highway 12 is an amazing road, winding for several miles under, over, and through the sandstone.  A lot of television commercials have been filmed here... perhaps because it looks like Mars.

Above right:  Calf Creek Falls, near Escalante, Utah.  That's Chris, the architect from Illinois that I met, on the right taking a swim.  Calf Creek is one of the few perennial streams in southern Utah, and the pool here is a great place to cool off after the hot, three-mile hike.

 

 

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