Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Happy Hiker Is BAAACK!

Willis Creek Canyon is near Escalante off of Utah's Scenic Byway Route 12. Any hiking trail near Highway 12 is worth pursuing, if you ask me. I love the drive and I love the scenery. ANY day that involves a hydration pack and hiking shoes is a good day in my book. Add a slot canyon to the mix, and I'm in happiness overload!

When my rheumatologist told me "no more hiking...no more skiing" at the beginning of the summer, I took a few weeks to let that sink in. And then I decided NO WAY. I have to live life on my terms, and that includes being outdoors and enjoying nature. The serenity and joy I experience when I'm outside can't come any other way.

A friend had invited me to hike what she called "the narrows." In my mind, I was picturing the Subway at Zion's National Park, and I jumped at the chance. As it turns out, we were headed to Willis Creek Canyon near Escalante. THAT hike is on my little hiking bucket list, too, so it was ALL good.

We didn't hike very far, but we spent a couple of hours in that canyon with our cameras. We photographed every little thing: rocks, frozen puddles, cracks in the rock, sunbursts, even each other. We even spent a little time at some rancher's corral, taking pictures of the cedar posts and barbed wire. Barbed wire? Yeah, I know, that's just how I roll. I have a thing for barbed wire.
It wasn't until we were lingering over the most delicious Lemon Cream Pie ever, that we discovered we had hiked the "lesser" slot canyon of Willis Creek. Say what??? Yes, if we had persevered another quarter of a mile or less, we would have witnessed the even bigger, better, and more beautiful slot canyon just a little farther down the creek. And apparently, there's even a THIRD one, the biggest, best, baddest one of them all. (Bull Valley Gorge, for future reference.)  Even finding that out didn't dampen our spirits; we simply added that to our list of places to go. I am THRILLED to know I can go back, and hike in such an amazing and awesome slot canyon. No wonder the other hikers we'd seen earlier never came back before we left. They had made a discovery that will have to wait for us another day.

I'm BAAACK, and it feels so good!

***If you like slot canyons, you'll go crazy for this one: Little Wild Horse Canyon (click on title for link to post). Most amazing hike through nearly four miles of a slot!
There's just something about old, gnarly trees that speaks to me.

My only complaint?  The barbed wire wasn't rusty enough.  As I age, I find beauty in things old and weathered.

Always on the lookout for heart-shaped rocks.  I will add it to my collection of heart rocks from my boys.

I got lost in the beauty of the place.

Thanks for sharing your photography tips with me, Connie!

Be still, my heart.

I followed the siren's song of this small waterfall until it came into view.

A perfect day, combining hiking and photography.
The view from the dirt road that leads to Willis Creek.


  1. That does sound like a perfect day! Glad you got to do the things you love.

    1. Oh, Susan, it was so wonderful to be outdoors again. We spent the whole morning out there.

  2. "I find beauty in things old and weathered." Thanks for this - now I feel at home.

    1. Sincerely stated; I hope you do. I worry less about the wrinkles and flaws than I did when I was slightly younger. It is what it is. I'm trying to work on the insides now.


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