noelle o designs

creativity + sewing + upcycling inspiration

craft, family, travel

backpacking Willow Canyon

Let the adventure begin, down into the canyons of the Escalante, with everything we need strapped to our backs.

I’m a sucker for color, flowers that can survive in hot desert climates amaze me. I’m not sure what kind of plant this is- I’m pretty sure it would give me trouble if I had hay fever. Most likely it’s classified as a weed everywhere else- but here it looks beautiful.

We were a little late in the season for beavertail cactus flowers- a week late perhaps? This is one of the last blooms I saw still looking lovely.

As we dropped down into the shade of the high canyon walls and wherever springs dripped from the walls there were tiny columbine flowers sprouting.

Once we hit water there were critters galore. The kids kept themselves busy catching (and then quickly releasing) frogs, lizards, tadpoles, crayfish and fish. Catching chubby little frogs couldn’t have been easier but fish required a net, a Triscuit cracker and patience.

Broken bow arch an awe inspiring sight to see and a good spot for base camp.

Not a bad view to wake up to. We were tucked under a wide overhang overlooking the arch and canyon on either side. We watched the sky and stars rotate throughout the night.

Of course there was a craft project scheduled in- basket weaving essentials on the last night, bring your own supplies. These kids have skills- they made it up as they went along- 2 baskets, a mug (with a handle) and a flip flop were completed before the class dismissed.

The backside of the arch, from high on the hill. An excellent place for perspective photos- holding up the arch, wearing it as hat…

One of the final sights as we hiked out and back to the car- graduation cap rock (seriously how could it be named anything else?). The kids are graduating on from a successful backpacking trip into the desert and we all hike back into the real world. I don’t know how I feel about that. If we hadn’t have been nearly out of food, I might have liked to stay unplugged a little longer. It’s funny how priorities can change with the situation. Time to start planning the next trip.

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