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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: South
Jan Nesset
Thursday, September 12
From the Hole to the Staircase
So long, Lake Powell! Climbing aboard our smaller houseboat for a ride to Hole-in-the-Rock with captain Steve Ward, we all had mixed emotions. We had had a splendid time on the lake. It was difficult to leave it. We played, explored, rested and learned some things. Our team has voiced thoughts about having a reunion on Lake Powell. Good idea, but we all know this good thing must come to an end before we can think about a return.

Stepping onshore for our ascent of Hole-in-the-Rock, we focus our attention on Allen Malmquist who is about a third of the way up on a sideslope. We wave to Sharron who waits in the National Park Service boat moored in the crook of the cove.
Allen shows us Uncle Ben's Dugway. On the downhill side of the slope which was flattened here by the settlers to create a pathway for the wagon journey, Allen shows us holes drilled into the sandstone. He explains that oak poles were inserted vertically into the holes. Sticks and other debris were then built out and over the sandstone to create the outermost part of the road. So the oak poles acted as stansions to hold the building material to cantilever the road in place. Wow!
But that was it from Allen. We said farewell.
Climbing through the Hole was mostly a matter of scrambling over and around large boulders but occasionally we'd work our way along natural ledges and footholds. It was steep, especially when the thought of lowering freightwagons comes to mind, but the climbing was not difficult. We've had to climb much harder terrain during the course of this Journey.

Judie Crobak-Cox, our Bureau of Land Management contact who is to drive us to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, greets me with a big smile from where she sits at the top of the Hole. We have a moment to chat before the remainder of the team tops out.
She began her drive to us on the Hole-in-the-Rock Road at 6:30 a.m. through an area that experienced flashflooding through the night. She had thoughts of turning around, she said, because the deepest ravines she crossed had severely eroded. Ahead may now be impassable.
The team loaded into the Jeep, it wasn't long until we had to get out for Judy to drive over belly-crunching terrain. Despite the gasps of disbelief Judy did manage to finesse the worst of the washouts.
The Hole-in-the-Rock journey followed much of where the existing road now winds across the country. The most famous historic stop along the road is Dance Hall Rock. The settlers stopped here for a few days to rest and send out scouting parties, and to have some fun. Two fiddlers set up in the natural amphitheatre which has a relatively flat -- danceable -- floor. The accoustics are naturally great.
Cathy Kiffe held out her arms like a soaring bird and dipped and swayed to imaginary music. She said she could feel the music and the flowing of ladies' skirts. My mood was less than festive although I did appreciate the stop. It was nice to imagine the dancing and stand where the fiddlers were likely to have stood themselves.

At a road junction at the entrance of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, we meet Brian Bellow who introduces us to rangers Pat and Larry, our guides for the next two days. We say farewell to Judy. Our first order of the day is to bypass some private property near our campground at Calf Creek. The property is in the bottom of Escalante Canyon, which at first appears to be a problem.
In order to bypass the private property the rangers have decided to take us on a 6-mile hike. The hike will descend from southerly sandstone cliffs to the Escalante River. Once at the river we will follow the river down to the edge of the private property to a point where we can walk around it on the north. Our campground is less than two miles from where we hit the road at the end of the hike.
Our concern is flashflooding. Earlier in the day the Escalante had flashflooded, and in the time we are near the river it is flowing strong. The rangers believe the current is crossable, which we'll have to do several times, and that the river is likely to be receding. We talk about waiting until tomorrow when the river is likely to be lower.
We opt to hike today rather than tomorrow.
Descending the Navajo sandstone, which is white here rather than red, we see two mule deer bounding away through idyllic scenery. Along our route potholes of water surrounded by errant ponderosa pine sentinels create the notion of an oasis. These oasis' are cradled among the white sandstone slickrock. Because of the previous rains, freshets blow along the sandstone, bathing us with cool air. There was a time in this day when an unscheduled 6-mile hike wasn't at the top of our list of things to do. But now it was the best thing to do.
At the Escalante River, knowing that several river crossing were in the plan, I donned my sandals. Others chose to cross the river in their boots or, like Julie, take off and put on her boots at every crossing.
Crossing rivers is just something that outdoor enthusiasts have to do every now and again, but for Cathy Kiffe crossing a river is grand adventure. On this Journey she has gotten "off the porch," so to speak (first coined by Richard but now used to excess by nearly everyone here), and to her the Escalante River can just as easily have been the Congo.
At the deepest crossing Cathy giggled the entire way, presumably as a response to something along the lines of "look at me now!"
Our route takes us under a cliff dwelling and a flat-top natural arch. Throughout these canyons there are numerous arches and archaeological sites. We see pictographs, one of a hundred hands on a wall.

We complete our hike around the private land but it is by no means an end for me. I'll be back!









for Thursday, September 12
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: South
Jan Nesset
An experienced outdoorsman, Jan Nesset knows that everyone has to pitch in at camp
A native of Montana and the third of four children, Jan Nesset joins American...
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List of All Journal Entries
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Wednesday, April 28
Jan Nesset
American Frontiers: Part II: Taking Stock
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Sunday, December 1
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Canyonlands in December
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Thursday, November 21
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Snow Raspberry Bounty
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Sunday, November 17
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The Bisti Badlands
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Friday, November 15
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Public Land Flows Through It
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Thursday, November 7
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A Day At Earth Analytic's Home
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Tuesday, October 29
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Slot Canyon Adventure
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Monday, October 28
Jan Nesset
Some Things Never Change
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Sunday, October 27
Jan Nesset
Back To The Wave
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Monday, October 7
Jan Nesset
The Thing About Summits
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Saturday, September 28
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A New Beginning: National Public Lands Day
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Thursday, September 26
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Big Day of Sneak and Salvage
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Wednesday, September 25
Jan Nesset
History-Coated Strawberry
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Tuesday, September 24
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The Last Of It
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Monday, September 23
Jan Nesset
Dinosaurlandia
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Sunday, September 22
Jan Nesset
Over The Edge
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Saturday, September 21
Jan Nesset
God Bless America
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Friday, September 20
Jan Nesset
Sometimes It's A Tough Life And We Get To Do It
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Thursday, September 19
Jan Nesset
The Niche Near You
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Wednesday, September 18
Jan Nesset
Snow Day
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Tuesday, September 17
Jan Nesset
A Capitol Reef Bull's Eye
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Monday, September 16
Jan Nesset
A Lucky Rift
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Sunday, September 15
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Riding The Hog's Back
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Saturday, September 14
Jan Nesset
Oh Rhythm My Rhythm
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Friday, September 13
Jan Nesset
Precious Images
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Thursday, September 12
Jan Nesset
From the Hole to the Staircase
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Wednesday, September 11
Jan Nesset
Happy Days
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Tuesday, September 10
Jan Nesset
Do You Believe In Magic?
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Monday, September 9
Jan Nesset
The Bridge Over the River Why
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Sunday, September 8
Jan Nesset
Public Lands And…Not You?
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Saturday, September 7
Jan Nesset
That Place So Special
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Friday, September 6
Jan Nesset
Just Looking To Have Some Fun – Be Dammed!
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Thursday, September 5
Jan Nesset
Do The Wave
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Wednesday, September 4
Jan Nesset
The Condors Are Coming!
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Tuesday, September 3
Jan Nesset
Fires Are For The Birds
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Monday, September 2
Jan Nesset
Back On Top
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Sunday, September 1
Jan Nesset
Perfection
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Saturday, August 31
Jan Nesset
The Wheels Have Left The Tarmac
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Friday, August 30
Jan Nesset
Star Light
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Thursday, August 29
Jan Nesset
The Traditional Connection
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Wednesday, August 28
Jan Nesset
Onward and Upward On Mountain Bikes
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Tuesday, August 27
Jan Nesset
Checkerboard Kings and Queens
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Monday, August 26
Jan Nesset
Aldo Leopold As Ranch Manager
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Sunday, August 25
Jan Nesset
A Story In Everything
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Saturday, August 24
Jan Nesset
Fire In The Whole
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Friday, August 23
Jan Nesset
"Good Morning, Flagstaff!"
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Thursday, August 22
Jan Nesset
Hoping For The Best
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Wednesday, August 21
Jan Nesset
Could Get Stinky
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Tuesday, August 20
Jan Nesset
Wheels Asunder
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Monday, August 19
Jan Nesset
Hurt Me, Thank You!
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Sunday, August 18
Jan Nesset
Roads Aplenty and Rocks of Pleasure
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Saturday, August 17
Jan Nesset
Of Dragons and Fire
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Friday, August 16
Jan Nesset
Motorcycles and the Zen of Route Mechanics
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Thursday, August 15
Jan Nesset
Puzzled
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Wednesday, August 14
Jan Nesset
A Day Off, Sort Of
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Tuesday, August 13
Jan Nesset
A Delightful, Light Day
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Monday, August 12
Jan Nesset
Courage On Eagle Mountain
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Sunday, August 11
Jan Nesset
Farewell
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Saturday, August 10
Jan Nesset
My Aching Back In The Saddle
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Friday, August 9
Jan Nesset
Back In The Saddle
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Thursday, August 8
Jan Nesset
In The Saddle
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Wednesday, August 7
Jan Nesset
Shut My Mouth!
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Tuesday, August 6
Jan Nesset
Diversity and Song
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Monday, August 5
Jan Nesset
An Unraveling
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Sunday, August 4
Jan Nesset
A Bagged Peak
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Saturday, August 3
Jan Nesset
Lines On A Map
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Friday, August 2
Jan Nesset
GPS-Marriage Made In Heaven
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Thursday, August 1
Jan Nesset
Free Wheelin'
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Wednesday, July 31
Jan Nesset
An Excellent Start
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