Not many fun-hogs here

  Dear HCN,

In response to Michael Cohen's letter, (HCN, 3/l/99), Mr. Cohen needn't worry about recreational fun-hogs filling the Escalante River Canyons. Aside from Coyote Gulch being overrun, in my 28 years of backpacking the Escalante River, I have never seen more than a handful of people, and most of them were up Death Hollow, a tributary.

On my last hike from the Highway 12 crossing and out 25 Mile Wash, I never saw another biped. But I did see mule deer, owl, fox, ringtail cat, falcons and wolf spiders. Scientifically, I wouldn't know if the Escalante ecosystem is disturbed. Some of the smaller side canyons are choked with vegetation and hard to enter. From 25 Mile Wash to Coyote Gulch the trails are disappearing. Not only are the cows not there, there aren't any people.

The lonely, subtle and sequestered beauty of this place is not a Zion, Bryce, or Grand Canyon. The Escalante's 100 miles of winding, drawn-out, and sometimes difficult river-negotiating terrain, perhaps doesn't appeal to visitors who expect prominent vistas, or a single spectacular viewpoint.

More than once in the past, my companions have said, "When do we get there?"

Bruce Mouro

Ogden, Utah

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