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Capitol Reef and Escalante with Young Kids- Peek-a-Boo Canyon Failure

We decided to take our kids to Capitol Reef National Park and while there made the trip to Escalante.  Both were a great experience.  But I personally LOVED Escalante. 

Failing Peek a Boo Canyon

We attempted to do Peek a Boo Canyon and Spooky Gulch and absolutely failed... so I figured I'd share my experience in case any other family with young kids is crazy like us and wanting to attempt these AMAZING canyons. 

Here's why we failed: 

1. We needed more adult to kid ratio: We have 3 kids - 6, 2, 1 and I am 25 weeks pregnant. It was just my husband and I doing this together and that was our first mistake.  I think we could have been just fine if we had more adults to help us transfer kids and such.  Our 6 year old did great and could have done the whole thing. The biggest problem was that my husband had our 2 year old, and I had our 1 year old on my back with a big baby bump in front that made it really difficult to climb up when I needed to be careful of my belly and my back. 

2. Wear GOOD hiking shoes.  This is actually what I attribute our failure to.  My warn out nike shoes were SOOOO slippery and I couldn't get traction when trying to scale up all the slick rocks. There is a 10-15 foot cliff that you have to climb up.  We actually made it up this and thought we would be in the clear.  But after attempting a few more and my feet kept slipping I decided to stay back while my husband and oldest went ahead for a little bit.  They did great together so 5 or 6 and I think you're at a magic age for these canyons.  That being said... I still think it could have been done had we been better prepared. 

3. Bring a rope - Probably not necessary but was super helpful when we were saved by another family who brought a rope to help get their family up.  It was super useful for climbing down the 15 foot drop when we had to bail. They had set up a line to pass their kids up and let us use them to pass our kids down. I felt so grateful that they were there at the right time we needed because getting up with just the two of us was hard enough... I had no clue how we were going to get all our kids down.

 

Am I glad we tried?  Heck yes! We got a lot of concerned looks as we were hiking in but we didn't let that stop us and we pushed ourselves and our kids to try tough things. Even the little I saw was AMAZING! Honestly one of the coolest canyons I've seen. My daughter was so sad that we couldn't finish so we're already planning our trip back next year. 

We started our hike through the Dry Fork Narrows.  Which our 6 year old and 2 year old hiked the whole thing on their own and loved every minute of it.  So even though the others were a bust we still had a great time getting there. In total our oldest walked 4.2 miles without ever complaining.  We were so proud of her!

Capitol Reef

1. We hiked Hickman's Bridge which was a fun easy hike for the kids.  I would highly suggest it for families of all ages. 

2. Get a strawberry rhubarb pie from Giffords.  You won't regret it!  They sell out in a couple hours so make sure to get there early. 

3. We loved the scenic drive and would have hiked the grand wash trail but our kids were warn out so we just drove all the way to the trailhead instead.  It was beautiful. 

4. The drive from Capitol Reef to Escalate is stunning and an experience on its own. I would highly recommend taking the drive and seeing a little bit more

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