Day 60 • April 30, 2012 • Henrieville Creek to Calf Creek, UT • 37 miles
This is one of my favorite areas in the country. After a brief but very steep climb Rob, Zoe and I flew down the hill toward Escalante, a different canyon view around every turn. We stopped at a roadside point of interest to view a granary in the cliffs, used by ancient puebloan people to store their grain. There we saw several golden eagle soaring overhead. We had lunch at the interagency (BLM, Forest Service, and something else) visitors center and checked out another relief map of the area.
After Escalante there is a steady climb before reaching some spectacular views of the surrounding mountains including the Henrys, LaSals, Boulder Mountain, and Navajo Mountain, before a precipitous drop into Calf Creek. Last time I was here the roadside sign describing the surrounding mountains was titled “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” which at the time seemed appropriate because it was a very clear day. Unfortunately today wasn’t so clear and the sign had been replaced with something less provocative. Maybe they had too many complaints about the view.
We were all set to stop by the Kiva Koffeehouse on the way to our destination at Calf Creek campground. Twice before I’d tried this but was there on Tuesday, the only day of the week it is closed. This time we carefully planned our arrival for Monday but when we got there the place was deserted. I failed to realize that last call is 3:00 and they shut the doors at 4:30. We don’t ever reach our destination by 4:30. I had threatened to just camp on their doorstep but tomorrow was Tuesday—closed again. Oh well, it’s only tea with one of the most spectacular backdrops imaginable. We have our own tea, thanks, with plenty of spectacular backdrops and no need to leave a tip. After three failed attempts, the Kiva is dead to me now.
Calf Creek campground is a beautiful spot run by the BLM. It’s also small and today it was full. I’d called ahead to learn that they will accommodate cyclists in the day use area. It’s nice when a campground has such a policy, not all of them do, but at the end of the day we’re not going anywhere else. The campground host was gone so we set up camp in the day use area which was completely empty. When he returned later in the evening he seemed a little miffed that we hadn’t received permission but warmed up to us, maybe when he realized we didn’t have any other options.