I just returned from a four day trip to Coyote Gulch in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It was a quite the adventure, crossing the many different micro climates of the trail. We went from slick rock, to sand dunes, to small willow and cottonwood forests on the canyon floor. I was with a group of five backpackers, led by Garth Tino, a faculty member at Utah Valley University.
I had a great time, but made some mistakes. Everyone forgets something on a trip, and I forgot two things. One was an inconvenience my camp shoes, but the other was a huge embarrassment, my hand sanitizer. I felt so awkward every time I had to ask someone for theirs. Lesson learned. Time to make a poop bag. (It's not what it sounds like)
We found a spring, flowing water right from the rock, and the water was pretty tasty. I feel that my choice of grub was good, and remember, you can eat good in the back country and not need a full stove or fridge. We had a great view of the stars, and if the moon wasn't full, I might have slept under the stars.
One thing that we discussed as a class was the difference between personal and professional responsibility. By yourself or a group of friends, there are some risks that you might be willing to take, that if you professionally were to do would be quite foolish or reckless. You might even stray into the legal area of endangerment.
Some parts of the trail can be difficult to find and follow, so if you desire to follow in my footsteps, do your research, and get the right maps. Due to the many interconnected waterways, side and slot canyons, it can be easy to get lost. Talk to people who have been there, and better yet, talk to the BLM rangers who oversee the NM to really know before you go.
For the full picture experience of the trip, and some videos, go to http://tinyurl.com/bhp8fd4