Moby Goes to Coyote Gulch

June 2016

Coyote Gulch is a popular backpacking destination in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. It’s one of those places you should go even though you’ll be joined on by swarms of other hikers. There are several ways into Coyote Gulch. We took Hurricane Wash, probably the safest way, but also the longest, hottest, and most hideous.

Colleen, Katie, Lloyd, Larry, and Moby

Larry and I joined my sister, her husband, and my daughter for a 3 day, 2 night trip.

It was pushing 100 degrees when we began the hike in the late afternoon.
Our camp under the soaring canyon walls

Jacob Hamblin arch

The Jacob Hamblin arch was named for Jacob Hamblin, Mormon pioneer and apostle to the  Lamanites (Mormon lingo for Native Americans). Born in Ohio in 1819, he joined the church at the age of 22. Jacob married a woman named Lucinda and they had 4 children. When the Mormons went west to build zion in Utah in February 1949, Lucinda refused to go. So Jacob took their 4 children and went without her. I wonder how she felt about that.

Bad Man or Mormon Hero?

Jacob married again (and again and again)–3 wives and 23 additional children. He helped open the west to Mormon settlement, and was apparently a successful negotiator between the church and the Indians. In 1882 the U.S. government made polygamy illegal, and Hamblin went into hiding in Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico to avoid capture. He died in 1886. 

See “A Brief History of Jacob Hamblin” and “Jacob Hamblin” on Wikipedia.

Jacob Hamblin’s 4th wife on a hiking vacation, having left her long skirt and children at home.













Rather than filter the muddy creek water for drinking, Larry and Katie constructed a ladder to reach the clean, cold spring water spilling down the canyon wall, just out of reach.




We’d hoped to hike to the confluence of Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River, but the canyon became very steep and hard to navigate. I played the Grandma Card and quit. If you go, do your research first. I think you can get through if you know how.

Larry was a mountain goat–I was a chicken.


We saw some strange creatures in the canyon:

The lizards are almost the same color as the red canyon walls.
Ears bigger than Larry’s!
Poison darts, anyone?  The Red Spotted toad (Bufo punctatus) is not toxic, but it looks like it should be!
Horsehair or Gordian worms (Nematomorpha) are found in damp areas and are usually between 20-39 inches, although they can grow to be 2 meters. Their name refers to the Gordian knot–and the worm did seem to be tying itself into knots as it writhed and twisted in Larry’s hand.

The thunder clouds on the drive back to the Mormon pioneer town of Escalante were fantastic.


Good-bye for now. Plenty more to see, so we’ll be back!

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