We had an outstanding experience with ECO. It's a first-class operation.
We went on a Narrows trip in May as a birthday present to ourselves. We are experienced travelers and are both fit, so we knew that we could plan our own trip if we wanted. However, we are also busy people and knew that we would have a really special trip if we chose the right outfitter.
ECO turned out to be just the right thing. It's a small family-run business that prides itself on creating an exceptional experience for its clients. We had a wonderful time and really felt that they gave us a trip that we could not have organized ourselves. What's special about this company? Probably the guides and the extent to which they work to ensure that there is sense of discovery for each of the guests. Grant and his team know the Escalante area so well and are very experienced at working with guests of all ages and abilities. They are great at pushing you to try new things (like shimmying down sheer rock ledges or walking up rock faces with tiny little footholds), but at the same time supporting you and making you feel safe. I can't say enough about how good these guides are. Real professionals who are natural teachers with the sunniest of personalities. Plus they know this area like the back of their hand. We saw things and did thing we wouldn't have had the confidence to do by ourselves.
ECO has a real knack for picking routes with novel experiences. Our group was on the large side, with 10 guests, of all different fitness levels. During the day we started out on a hike as a large group and then split up after lunch into 3 different groups according to walking pace and interest. Each group had a different program after lunch, but we all felt that they made us try things that we never would have done if we were by ourselves.
So, why would you go on a trip like this? As I said before, you'll have a different experience with them than if you are new to the area and are going to self-guide yourself. Second, these trips are really for people who love to hike, but are sort of "over" having to carry a pack or making all the food and supplies plans themselves. The camps are set up in advance for you, and are supplied by horsepack, so all you have to do is carry your day pack and enjoy yourself. At the end of the day dinner is cooked for you and all the dishes are washed. It's quite a luxury! And a pretty reasonably priced luxury too!
ECO earns high, high marks from me. Well worth your time and your money. Most of us left the canyon thinking about when we could come back for a return trip !
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