Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Coyote Gulch- Hiking in a Stream

We all hike in the mountains.
In forests.
In river valleys.
In the desert and so on.
Have you ever hiked in a flowing stream in a canyon?
And camped for two nights?

Ghumakkad's ten-year old grandson did that. Of course with his parents and friends. But it is creditable for the two families to go on a hike in water. Complete with hiking poles, loaded back pack and their three-year old  toddler too! This is a guest story written by Nikhil, my grandson. Pictures courtesy Ankur Bhargava and Abha Maheshwari. Used with permission. 

What is Coyote GulchCoyote Gulch is a slot canyon in the middle of Utah’s massive red rock country. See the two maps below.


There are numerous blogs about the trail which give further details.
Here is Nikhil, the author who wrote this story when he was ten years old!

Nikhil's story follows:
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Hike nameCoyote Gulch in the Grand Staircase Escalante Area, Utah, USA

Duration - 3 days and 2 nights

Team – Abha, Soumitra, Ankur, Akanksha, Nikhil (10), Arushi (9), Rohan (7), Naman (3)



Day 1

Drove on a dirt road named BLM255 for about 2 hours to reach the trail head.

Our trail was called the Hurricane Wash via Chimney Rock. This way we would cut down our hiking time by half, not knowing what lay ahead for us.


We reached chimney rock in time, - 11:30 - but we lost all the time that we made, to find our way to Hurricane Wash. We wasted about a mile in navigating our way to the wash over the rocky terrain. I was carrying about 17 pounds, dad was carrying about 27 pounds, and mom was carrying Naman.

We had lunch on a tall rock since everyone was exhausted and then started walking again to find the entrance into the trail. We finally found the drop to the trail around 2:30 pm. The trail was very sandy and made it more difficult to walk even though it was all flat. Gradually the ground started getting wet and gave way to visible water which led to the river.

We changed from our hiking shoes into our water shoes and neoprene socks – special socks that do get wet in the water but keep you warm once you are out of the water.


We followed the river for the next 2-3 miles to Jacob Hamblin Arch which was our destination to camp.

It was a sight to behold. One because it was so impressive and huge and secondly because we were all tired and couldn’t walk anymore :-). We all got to our respective jobs – pitching tents, filtering water, preparing to cook dinner and playing (kids).

We had Maggie for dinner and mom made mac and cheese for the picky eater Naman.



We all went to bed instantly after dinner since fires are not allowed in the park. Once inside the tent, I was bored, because I was not so sleepy. Mom and I did some stretching because my legs were hurting. That relaxed my muscles and I fell asleep. It was really warm that night. But the wind was howling – hoo whooo . It woke me up four times.

Day 2

We woke up. Enjoyed some packaged mini waffles and ate oats for breakfast.



Mom – dad and Soumitra chachu (Dad's brother in Hindi)– Abha mausi (Mom's sister in Hindi), took some pictures against the arch while we kids were busy making a castle.





We then all changed into our water gear and headed out for the day. We hiked for about 4 miles and saw two water falls, the Coyote Natural Bridge and a little gateway.







Took some pictures along the way and our precious cargo – Naman – changed shoulders couple times..




At about 4pm it was time to head back to our campsite. It had started to get cold. It was a windy day, compared to the previous day. I was leader for most part of the hike and had to set a pace.



Parents made Chole and Rice for dinner. We had to hide our bowls under our jackets because the wind was so strong that it was blowing sand all over. There was sand everywhere – on the ground, in our eyes, in our mouth, inside the tents, and in food.

We kids, were in one tent, while the grown ups and Naman were in another. We slept and called it a day. It was windier than the previous night.

Day 3

There was this one time when Abha mausi and Soumitra chachu got a little separated and I and my parents and Rohan and Arushi were all together. We kept hiking thinking that A and S are right around the corner. We hiked on the trail to keep away from the water and then again stepped into the water when there was no trail/land.


It was at one such instance that we lost our way. Mom and Dad turned around and said, “We should wait for A and S. Its been a while since we saw them” – not knowing that we were the ones who were actually lost!!! Dad said “ let me look at the map, if we are on the right track “ And guess what??? WE WERE OFF THE TRAIL. We kind of panicked a bit, because we had thought that they were the ones lost, so it would be pretty hard to retrace our steps. We had decided on a distress call codehuku huku “ and would keep repeating it until the rest of the party replies to it. Luckily, Soumitra chachu heard us and ran to where we were - shouting “Ankur.” We followed Soumitra chachu to where we were supposed to go and got back on the trail.


We hiked through a different path once we found the rocky terrain, which had new obstacles we didn’t know about. Once within view of Chimney Rock, Naman got down from his carrier and started to scale the steep rock walls, making everyone ashamed of themselves. See the video clip below.


Naman was climbing the rocks like a spider.

We got off the path by a lot, but found our way back to Chimney Rock. Everyone was so happy when we reached the car. We (as in the whole party) hadn’t eaten anything besides an energy bar, so everyone opened all packages and started hogging.

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That was the end of Nikhil's story. Amazing, isn't it?

Nikhil and I had hiked together earlier. The story of one such hike in India can be browsed by clicking "Father's Day Hike".
 


Another outing where Nikhil and Ansh our eldest grandson in India, co-authored a story was 'Why Kodaikanal'. We can see two of them together in the picture below.



So, this story was special. Not because it featured an off-beat trail in USA, but because it had been written by a ten-year old hiker himself. Thanks Nikhil. And thanks Abha and Ankur for incredible pictures and the videos. May you all keep hiking!

Thanks for browsing

   -  Harsh-the-Ghumakkad with Nikhil Bhargava/ 31st July 2018

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