160 miles hiked
Cowboy camping has never been nicer. Balmy and warm, in the sand, burbling water noise… I wake up before it’s light to make tea, determined to fix my habit of sleeping in late so that we don’t have to resort to “alarms”. 45 minutes later we’re headed up the Sudance trail, which climbs tumbled boulders straight up the side of the canyon all the way to the sagebrush top- 1200 feet in .8 miles-and the sun is just cresting the top. It takes us over an hour to make this climb, what with the choosing our routes, backtracking, and light bouldering, but then we are up! Out of the balmy canyon into the cold wind on the sagebrush plateau and the sun has clouded over. Two more slow miles, cross-country and on slickrock trail, and we reach the dirt road that will take us 12 miles to our cache where the highway crosses the Colorado river.
Here’s an example of the variety of tread you’ll find on the Hayduke trail- the first three miles of the day take us three hours. The next twelve miles take us four and a half.
We reach our cache at 2:30 and dig it out of the dirt- we buried this food cache in plastic salad mix tubs, so that we could easily pack them out. I’m hungry- this last stretch took us longer than I thought it would, and I’ve been rationing food- and I happily sit in the dirt eating some bars. There’s only one problem- we have no water. The next non-alkaline water source is in 25 miles, and it’s not possible to reach the Colorado River from the bridge, where we are. Hayduke hikers of past years got water from Hite Marina nearby, but the water in Lake Powell is so low right now that the marina has closed. We stand on the side of the highway with our water bottles upside down, but cars are few and after an hour we only have only gathered a liter. We need three gallons, total. Storms are blowing in, and the wind is getting colder. Fuck it. Let’s hitch to Hanksville.
I can’t say I’m unhappy to be in a warm motel room in this tiny town which is basically an intersection with two gas stations. We notice some thru-hiker tents in the campground behind the restaraunt- it’s DropNRoll and Bubbles! Two hayduke hikers about four days ahead of us- they’ve been holed up here for a few days, waiting for Bubbles’ shoes. (Read DropNRoll’s blog here) They’ve got snowshoes for the summit of Mt. Ellen, and have been packrafting sections. It is SO COOL to see other Hayduke hikers, instead of just their footprints. Other humans. Omg. Omg.
My stomach feels a little off today, I’m not sure why. I’ve actually been amazed by how well my gut has been doing. It’ll probs feel better in the morning.
Photos on instagram