834 miles hiked
Even though I sleep long and hard in the dark clear night I wake up feeling tired. A deep tired, way down in my bones. It’s the kind of exhaustion I recognize from the end of a trail. I don’t want to hike anymore. I don’t want to eat bars. I don’t want to take photographs. I don’t want the chore of making nice sentences about my day before I’m allowed to go to sleep. I just don’t. I want to be alone in a quiet room with a bed and a stack of books, without the obligation to do anything or talk to anyone. Some birdsong would be alright. And vegetables.
The annoying cross country of the morning makes me even broodier. Annoying cross country? Who even am I. Sandy washes and big mounded slickrock to climb over. The mileages are off, per usual. We hike for three hours and cover three map miles. But I feel that we were walking at least 1.5mph. Oh Hayduke, must we have this argument on the last day.
We reach the trailhead for the east rim trail and begin to cruise on actual tread, past the cool zion rock walls and up into some conifers. It feels good to cruise. Still, I just feel so, so tired inside. I just need 24 hours to, like, stare into space.
The best part of the day comes when I get 4G on the mountaintop and learn that my book is now available as an audiobook!! I knew that it was in production, but I had no idea when it would be finished. So cool! A freakin audiobook!
We cruise through Echo canyon, which is just ok- a bit of a narrows, sort of. Some mucky potholes. Everything here seems smaller than what we’ve seen, and more trampled. I’m glad we came here when Dan’s parents were visiting, and hiked up to Angel’s landing. That was really cool. And my photo of Zion Canyon from the summit has more likes than any photo I’ve ever posted on instagram. Ha!
The sky curdles and it rains. There are hikers everywhere. Then we’re switchbacking down on paved trail (it’s manmade slickrock! I say to Dan) and then we’re at the restrooms at the parking lot. A 1/3 mile trail leads up an incline to weeping rock, a big chunk of cliff that drips onto maidenhair ferns. The western terminus of the Hayduke trail. Boom. We’re done.
Last week, when we were in Kanab Creek Canyon in the Grand Canyon, cooking dinner on the sand as Showerbath Spring’s perfect water cascaded through what seemed like a giant planter full of flowers, I said that, in my heart, Showerbath Spring was the real western terminus of the Hayduke trail. And as I stand in front of weeping rock today with all the other tourists, I know that, for me, this still holds true. Showerbath Spring is the end of the 1mph terrain through the Grand Canyon- that beautiful, grueling, transcendental 1mph terrain, and the Grand Canyon is the fireworks-in-the-sky grand finale of the Hayduke. So although I’m at weeping rock, trying to take a good selfie with Dan, my heart is at Showerbath Spring. And I imagine a piece of it will remain there forever.
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