So a brief introduction. My name is Garrett Cottam. I am a true blue Moquis, except you are not supposed to use blue and Moquis in the same sentence, especially if it is basketball season. Local high school rivalries, enough said. So, a couple of questions and a couple of answers. First, you might ask “What is a Moquis?” Well, the Moquis Indian is the local High School Mascot. The Moquis were native to the Escalante area many many years ago. If you come see us in Escalante you can learn more about the Moquis when you come. Second question, what on earth does that have to do with Spooky Gulch being spooky? In short, nothing! It was just a good lead in for this post and I am quite proud to call myself an Escalante Moquis.
So let’s talk about Spooky Gulch for a second. You might be asking yourself what it even is? Spooky Gulch is a very narrow slot canyon found in the Dry Fork drainage on the Escalante Desert, also known as the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. As a kid we would picnic on the desert and explore and eat bologna sandwiches. If you’re wondering what a bologna sandwich is and how to pronounce that silly word, count yourself lucky. We would run and play in the sand and dirt until we were thoroughly exhausted. I remember as a boy scout we went hiking in dry fork and we were so excited to be out exploring that we took off and left our leaders behind. When the day was over and we gathered at the trailhead to go home we found out that we had hiked 2 of the 3 slot canyons in the area and the famous Spooky Gulch was not one of them. Back then, 20+ years ago, it was a breeze to hike these beautiful sandstone slot canyons. Well a few weeks ago I had the privilege of taking my 12 year old scout and his fellow troop members on an outing to Spooky Gulch. It is much scarier now as an almost 40 year old rounder man. I started into the canyon and came to the first narrow sharp bend. It was painfully obvious that I have sat at a desk sipping soda for far too long. Time to get out and hike more. I knew that the canyon got narrower further ahead and decided to save myself the suffering and so I hiked out the same way I had come in. I found my way to the top where I was able to follow our scout group from above. It was spectacular. The Escalante Desert is a thing of beauty, and especially in the spring time. We had a wonderful time, saw some beautiful country, and was home in time for dinner. Yep dinner. I am not that committed to fitting through Spooky Gulch yet. Besides I can still fit through the Hole-in-the-Rock canyon so I am good. Good times. If you like to hike and explore you need to spend some time on the Escalante Desert. If you plan it right, let someone know where you are going, and take plenty of water, you too can be home in time for dinner.