Three months ago I scored my BLM permit for two people to visit South Coyote Buttes. As a photographer I wanted to capture images during the “golden hour” immediately after sunrise. So my brother-in-law (BIL) and I met Nick at 5:30a at the Kanab Tour Company. My early-bird start presented no problems for office staff.
Several days ago o-dark-thirty we met Nick and immediately got a good vibe from him. He made sure we had cold-weather/machine gear like buffs and we were off on our big adventure. During our windshield time Nick was an engaging conversationalist including getting to know our tour preferences, telling us about the area, details about geology, etc.
After a 45 – 60 minute drive from Kanab we arrived at the South Coyote Buttes parking lot and Nick unloaded the two two-person machines. My BIL drove us to our first stop, Paw Hole. The machine was an absolute blast – fast, absorbed big bumps like we were riding on pillows, and great traction in the sand. Fast forward to our departure 6 – 7 hours later and we saw our first people of the day pull up in a rental full-size 4×4 king cab truck. They said they only slipped once but I wouldn’t have risked getting stuck in our smaller 4×4 rental truck.
The sun was just coming up at Paw Hole and two weeks of rain provided a visually interesting layer of fog (see photo). I’d suggest making a quick stop at Paw Hole and head to Cottonwood Cove and spend the majority of your time there then return to Paw Hole if time allows. There’s so much more to see at Cottonwood Cove and Nick knew it like the back of his hand. He totally accommodated my photography goals and was always one step ahead of me and provided audibles about my next visually-intriguing location.
At one point while he was around a corner he rushed around a big rock and in a hushed tone called my BIL and me over. We rounded the corner and saw 10 desert bighorn sheep – a large male ram with nine females (see photo). What an exhilarating experience to capture their images for at least 15 minutes! I could go on and on about the mini Wave, creek/river bed, etc., but I’ll simply say that Nick is a fantastic tour guide. He seemed as genuinely amazed and interested by the area as we were.
While driving back to Kanab we asked about where to eat and Nick said Escobars. He described the owner and food and was 100% correct – we had a five-star meal and service. So so good! The only thing I would’ve changed is adding another handful of hours onto our eight-hour tour because I know there were many more things Nick could have shown us.