This May, five adventurers pushed off below the bridge at Highway 12 in southern Utah to navigate a 100-mile stand-up paddleboard first descent on the Escalante River, which drains into Lake Powell. The caravan, composed of Dylan Brown, Morgan Tilton, Jordan Curet, Morgan Smith, and Aaron Kloer—all seasoned outdoor explorers but novice boaters—made hundreds of hook turns for six days through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s soaring Navajo sandstone. The gorge reached heights of more than 1,000 feet and greeted the crew with boulder-strewn whitewater.
Photo: Tilton admiring one of the many stunning horseshoe bends in a series of progressively taller, more pronounced 180-degree curves near the halfway point on the Escalante. She rode the inflatable Hala Gear Straight Up, which is durable and stable, with fully removable fins and well-placed reinforced stainless D-rings for strapping down gear.