"the rules & a Ping Pong Ball" Top 5 Page for this destination Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument Favorite Tip by richiecdisc
Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument Favorites: 6 reviews and 8 photos
Fondest memory: We had stopped by the small backcountry ranger station called White House the day before where a helpful if a bit disgruntled ranger explained “the rules” to us. It seemed he had done this a few too many times and was surprised at how little we knew about it. Basically, 20 people per day get permits to hike to The Wave. The 10 that plan ahead get them via the Internet but you have to know when you'll be there as well as have some luck. The walk-ins of whom we were about to join comprised the second 10.
This all sounded kind of typical to us but then it was explained that due to such demand, you had to be there first thing in the morning when they opened up. Each group leader filled out an application and was given a number. This number would correspond to one on a Ping Pong ball. These balls would be placed in a spinning bingo type device and the winning numbers would be drawn while the eager looked on. Man, talk about the drama.
To make things even more interesting, if you did not win a permit you could come back the next day at opening once again and you would be given two numbers, thus increasing your chances. Two numbers, two balls. This process could be repeated as long as you liked. Once you missed a morning, you lost your extra balls. On our first visit, one guy had seven balls and sadly still did not get the luck of the draw. Shamed, he returned not the next day. If you are so lucky, you pay $5 per person for the hiking permit which is good for the following day, all day. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
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