Monday, May 20, 2019

36 Hours in Escalante

It is no secret that we LOVE Southern Utah. In fact, I secretly want to move there, specifically to Escalante. There is just something special about that town...if you've been there, you know what it is, if you haven't, you need to go there! Here is our latest (and if I am being honest, the best) trip to Escalante. If you follow this plan (including the bonus side trips, I can guarantee a swell trip)!

Where to Stay
There is not a better, more relaxing place to stay in Escalante than Escalante Yurts. While you may be thinking: how the heck can staying in a yurt be relaxing?! Well, because Jan and Scott Roundy, the owners, have made sure to build these yurts anticipating your every need. These are not your typical yurts, Escalante Yurts are glamping: they have comfortable beds, bathrooms, kitchens, fire places, and air conditioning. I mean, really, they are beautiful. 

Just about two years ago, we were the very first guests to stay in the yurts and I have to say that they not only have been kept well, but if it is possible, the yurts are actually nicer now! This visit, we stayed in the Cedar Yurt. The Cedar has two bedrooms (each with a queen bed) and a loft with three twin beds. It also has a full bathroom, kitchen and dining area and living area with flat screen tv. Each yurt has a wrap around deck with chairs for you to enjoy the quiet nature of the grounds. While we were outside one morning relaxing on the deck, I saw a yellow and black small bird as well as a bright blue bird! 

The only problem with these yurts are the fights between the kids over who gets to sleep in the loft! It is hilarious; in fact, this time they sat in the loft overlooking the living room to watch tv! Ha! It was handy to keep them out of the way while I made dinner. 

I have always wanted to stay here in the summer, though because I'd love to experience the open window that are in each bedroom and listen to the nighttime sounds from the comfort of the bed...another time!

Another fun part of staying at Escalante Yurts, especially for us is how family friendly they are! They have hammocks throughout the property and a secret swing (which, I kid you not my kids spent hours on!). In the morning, the hammocks were the favorite place for my kids to sit. 

There are also these cool swings hung on a pergola that overlooks the property. Again, my kids loved them. This time around, I got to sit in one and read my book, I may or may not have fallen asleep while reading. 

Each evening, we gathered around the fire pits (there are a few located around the property) to roast marshmallows. The fire pits have everything you need for your nightly fire (except the s'more ingredients). 

What to Do

If you have ever been to Escalante, specifically Hole in the Rock Road, you know how ROUGH that road is. It is big washboard on the good parts and terrible divots on the bad parts. I feel that my poor minivan is going to rattle apart when we drive on it. So, getting some side-by-sides at High Adventure Rentals was perfect! The rental check-in and instructions was easy peasy and we were off!

The drive from the rental location to the Hole in the Rock Road was just as pretty as could be in the morning...look at the farms in peaceful!

If you don't have sunglasses, High Adventure Rentals provides goggles for everyone...which was perfect for my kids because HITR Road is DUSTY! 

We decided to try out a new place that is FAR down the down (about 26 miles) to Batty Pass Caves. I was thankful that Joey, from High Adventure Rentals, told us to turn at the dirt road directly across from the Dry Fork turn off and then to follow until we found this old, rusty car. This car is a perfect landmark to search for!

Here are the Batty Pass Caves. They are found in the mountain above the car. There are three of them to explore. Honestly, they are super well preserved and even if you know nothing about the history of them, someone wrote up a bit of info on the brothers that built these caves and their grand plan. I am pretty sure that the brothers were "bat-s**t" crazy! As they were in the process of building a GIANT boat in one of them the hull is still there! Not sure how they were planning on getting the boat down and across the desert to the Colorado River??

We had a picnic lunch at the caves and just soaked in the amazing view! Gosh, Escalante is spectacular!

Then it was back in the side-by-sides to go play at Devils Garden!

We seriously had so much fun driving around and exploring and NOT beating up our car in the process! Oh, and trust me, rent for 6-hours it goes by faster that you think!

Where to Eat
Escalante Outfitters

After playing all day long, we were pretty darn starving, and knew that pizza would hit the spot and make our hungry children happy once again. I had heard about Escalante Outfitters from some friends in St. George and we decided to head there. The outside of the building looks like an awesome little outdoor store, but inside, there is also a charming rustic cafe. The food looked amazing as I walked through to the counter to place our order. 

We ordered a pepperoni pizza, a plain cheese, a Hawaiian pizza and one just for the adults called the Neon Canyon - a pesto base with veggies, including artichoke hearts! Holy smokes! It was delicious and we devoured it all quickly! (we decided to eat outside under their covered patio so we didn't disrupt the other customers - trust me, angry young children are no fun for others!)

The pepperoni pizza was a HUGE hit because the pepperonis were ginormous! 

We splurged and got some soda to go along with the pizza and this brand is seriously super yummy! I need to try to find it near our home!

Escalante surprises every time we visit it and this restaurant was world class. We will certainly return next time we come to adventure!