Hayduke trail day 7: Salt Creek is a place I would like to live forever

March 24
Mileage: 14
89 miles hiked

Thousands of years ago some chill humans found a cool year-round non-alkaline stream running through a canyon-type place all rustling with leaves and lots of caves to live in. They stayed, they migrated away, they stayed, they came in waves, they pooped and fucked and built granaries and painted animals on the walls and grew corn and hunted rabbits. They knapped arrowheads and shot deer and sometimes the deer got away and sometimes babies died and sometimes they broke each others’ hearts. They commited homocide and succumbed slowly to tooth infections. They had lots of drama and life was exciting and they sat in arches and sang sad songs about love to the moon.

All day we walk through this place where these humans acted out their dramas. It’s called Salt Creek. It’s a clear sparkling creek running over red sand and we walk directly up it or on its banks, whichever is less of a struggle. Trees rustle all around and on either side of us rise the tall red lumpkins, stacked and mounded in towers and castles and walls, and the cool yellow sunshine makes the rock glow gold. There are ruins up there, way up high, careful masonry molded into the shape of the rock. It’s hard to see. I haven’t seen any yet, and my neck hurts from looking. Our packs are heavy with four days of food, enough to get us 80 miles to our cache at what was once the Hite Marina. We didn’t start hiking until noon today. We were worried about hitching back to Needles Outpost from Moab, but luck would have it that another hiker, Karma, who just finished the AZT and is starting the Hayduke in a few days (check out his blog here) was in Moab, and amicably agreed to drive us out here in my van.

We take a long break in the afternoon on top of one of the rock lumpkins and look at our maps- there’s a nearly 30 mile dry stretch coming up in this section. That’ll be fun. In general, though, I feel great- my sickness seems to have passed (I’ve started calling it my “alkaline cleanse”) and this trail gets more enchanting and sublime each day. I’m just really really glad to be out here, with Dan, walking through this world I didn’t know existed.

Camp is up a side trail near Angel Arch, which rises above everything like a topper on a cake. It’s cold as the sun sets- it was cool all day and nights are cold this week- and I eat my noodle dinner and crawl into my sleeping bag. It’s good to be here.

Photos on instagram