Grand Escalante and the Cosmic Navel

Derek and I, along with another couple, headed down south for our first camping weekend of the year! We got down to Escalante, UT and Grand Stair Case National Monument to a mix of rain which eventually turned into snow. We decided to camp at the Escalante Outfitters so as not to have to set up ours tents in the middle of nowhere with the weather how it was. We munched on pizza from the Outfitters that evening. I think it may be the best pizza in Utah. Goat cheese, jalapenos, and pepperoni-yum! We turned in and hoped for better weather in the morning. We woke up Saturday morning to this…unnamed-2 So much for a warm spring weekend in Southern Utah. With the weather conditions, most of the dirt roads leading to some of the desired hikes were impassable. We decided to make our way to the Upper Calf Creek Falls area and see if we could hike to the waterfall. The slick rock was covered with snow which made for a slippery hike down and a handful of good stumbles. I returned home with a nice baseball sized bruise on my outer thigh from one such stumble. The sun came out mid morning and quickly began to make the day warm and melt away the snow. We made it to Upper Calf Creek to find not one, but two waterfalls! We hiked around to explore the bottom and top of both falls as well as splash around in the water and through a few snowballs. By the end of the day, that warm weather we were hoping for had arrived and our drive back to Escalante looked like a whole new landscape without the snow.IMG_8171IMG_8174IMG_8183IMG_8187IMG_8207IMG_8233IMG_8247IMG_8249IMG_8251IMG_8259IMG_8276IMG_8280IMG_8178We played games, ate, had a fire, and relaxed that evening. The next day the roads were dry which meant we could get to the hike we were truly there for…The Cosmic Navel. Derek saw this online a few days before we left and decided we had to try and find it ourselves. We made our way to the start of the trail and followed GPS coordinates up and down red rock, sand, and slick rock. It took a while, but we found it! The Cosmic Navel (or Cosmic Ashtray depending on who you ask and what you Google) is a large, and I mean large, pothole full of sand. The hike ends with a view of the top and then there is a way to work your way down to the left into the hole with grooves in the rock forming a make-shift ladder. The Cosmic Navel is around 200 feet wide and the reddish-orange sand makes you think you’re on Mars when your down there. Definitely look it up, there are some pretty fascinating articles about how it was formed and why it’s there. Why call it the Cosmic Navel? Because it kinda looks like a giant belly-button…from outer space. Anyway, we climbed down to play in the sand and explore. Before we left, we played a few rounds of bocce ball using rocks. It’s certainly the most interesting place I’ve ever played bocce ball. We made our way out of the navel and back to the car. This was one of the most unique hikes I’ve been on in Utah. The scenery was other-worldly and breathtaking at the same time. Derek already has plans to return in the fall. Just to play more bocce ball in the space belly-button. IMG_8281IMG_8283IMG_8289IMG_8290IMG_8292IMG_8297IMG_8307IMG_8309IMG_8310