We ran the Hole In The Rock Trail in 2013, and we were on a mission to run Hole In The Rock Road in 2014. It was the reason we were in Escalante. We came off of Cedar Wash Road and were soon heading down the trail, excited to see the rest of it. It was a long, hot, and bumpy ride and worth every minute of it.
Most of the start of the trail is really, really bumpy. It's full of washboards, and finding the right speed to even them out is the first challenge. We found that 35 miles per hour was about right.
We passed Harris Wash, a trail we'd need to save for a future trip. When we got to the Devil's Garden turnoff we took it, and we were happy with what we found. A pit toilet is always nice, of course, but the scenery was fantastic. We wandered in and around the hoodoos for a long time, and the day started really heating up. It was going to be hot.
We saw quite a few vehicles going in both directions along the way down the road. There were a few Jeeps but also a few SUVs. Most people were alone. We even saw an SUV cursed with two flat tires, but help was on the way and they were happy.
We came over a rise to find a herd of cattle heading down the road toward us. A friendly cowboy moved them along and we slowly crept through the crowd. We would see a lot of cows on that trip, but this was a big group. There were a lot of calves.
Our first real stop after Devil's Garden was at Dance Hall Rock. We got out to stretch our legs, and some of us went up to the rock. It's big, and it must have hosted some fun parties. We noticed that the trail got rougher past that point.
We were in and out of washes for a bit, and we saw both ends of the Fiftymile Bench trail go by. We planned on doing that on the way back, and it seemed crazy that it would take us up the side of the Straight Cliffs.
The scenery changed from red dirt and green patches to pale dirt and slickrock. We stopped at a random plaque just past Fiftymile Point and it mentioned the Hole In The Rock Arch. Just like our trip along Cedar Wash Road, we looked for it but didn't find it. It was such a random thing! Luckily, it was easier to spot on the way back and we found it near the end of Fiftymile Point high above us. The plaque was still pretty random.
We started across the huge slab of slickrock and the trail was a bit rougher, but it was still not a concern. We weaved around rock outcroppings, up hills, and around curves. When we spotted the actual Hole In The Rock we hurried to get there.
We had it to ourselves, and it was really awesome. There was a plaque and a kiosk with information, and we stopped for lunch and wandering around. It was so crazy to think about what the pioneers did to get through the area. It didn't seem even possible!
It was so hot, but we stayed for a while. There was a lot of exploring to do. The water in Lake Powell below us looked so cool, blue, and inviting, but there was no way to get to it. A big boat sat at the bottom of the crack in the water and we wondered if they were looking at us, too.
All good things must come to an end, so we eventually headed back the way we came. We'd finally seen both halves of Hole In The Rock and we were happy.