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Backpacker Magazine – April 2004

Glen Canyon Adventure Guide

An exclusive guide to five hikes that have been under water for 40 years

by: Annette McGivney, BACKPACKER Southwest Editor

©Elias Butler
La Gorce Arch: UTM 12S, 05056284129157
4Davis Gulch
A Walk Among Ghosts

On November 12, 1934, a brilliant but enigmatic writer and painter named Everett Ruess left the village of Escalante to explore ancient cliff dwellings along the Escalante River. He was never heard from again. This hike visits his last known camp, a corral in the lower reaches of Davis Gulch that was discovered in 1935 along with the mysterious signature "Nemo" on nearby walls. But these aren't the only sights to see. From the reservoir, the route passes La Gorce Arch into a quiet canyon whose towering walls hem in a lush environment apparently favored by pre-Columbian Native Americans. Prior to the dam, ruins and intricate pictographs were found here in abundance. Farther along this 1.5-mile stretch of virgin canyon lie live cottonwood trees that apparently fell when the receding reservoir eroded their sandy foundations. Just beyond the high-water mark, a trail on the north side of the canyon leads to 3,000-year-old petroglyphs.

The Way By boat, follow the Escalante 5.5 miles from Lake Powell. Allow 3 hours for the 2.5-mile round-trip to the corral. By foot, drive 50 miles south on Hole-in-the-Rock Road to a turnoff just north of where the gulch crosses the road. Use GPS to follow Davis Gulch Stock Trail 3.5 miles before descending.

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