Hayduke Day 5

Memories from October 8, 2018

I waited for it to be sufficiently light to travel without a headlamp before starting today. This paid off as within a few minutes I had made it to the top and the terrain lined up with the map and everything was good again. The rain just made it more epic.

Last night’s decision to stop not quite at the top was a good one because it did rain a little and the alcove provided better shelter than my tarp and ground cloth would have in the shallow mud. However last night I was literally in an in-between state both physically and mentally. This morning’s quick resolution and the ease of following the map and guidebook step by step on this ridiculous cross country route so much better. I didn’t move quickly but it all made sense and the scenery was grandiose.

There is a lot in the guidebook and Skurka’s supplement about the descent down “We Hope So” wash. Taken step by step nothing felt difficult or intimidating as it had the day before. I’m much worse at down climbing than climbing up but there wasn’t really any climbing, just some lowing yourself down with tricep dips and a few feet of steep descent to get between things.

I missed the turn up the Canyon and headed for the Colorado for a few dozen yards before turning around. The sandstone sometimes formed steps at the banks where so it seemed like an urban river walk, though one through a manicured garden.

When the canyon came to an end, the rest of the day was spent road walking. First to salt river where the Hayduke would begin to cut cross country again. However with storm clouds moving in I made a break for the Needles Outpost where I had a resupply box. I got wet anyways. On the walk in, little after noon, I saw my first human since two days ago around around 8am. Until seeing them, I hadn’t even realized. Maybe it’s because there are so many footprints and my imagination passively invents the people who made them.

Since I was passing a ranger station anyways, I stopped in to get a permit in case I don’t make it out of the park tomorrow. The juxtaposition of the two clean couples ahead of me at the Backcounty Office, worrying about water, scenic-ness of an area, the rain, whether there was water in the canyons, dressed in dry, clean clothes compared with my mud-spattered, rain soaked garments was fantastic. At one point someone asked if the rain would let up tomorrow (forecast says it will and I really hope it does as a rotting smell is beginning to emanate from the depths of my backpack) and I laughed quietly because I’m so beyond worrying about getting wet. They overheard me but chose to smile and understand given my sodden state.

Resupplying at the Needles Outpost went quite quickly. After reloading my pack it was only around 3:30pm. However, Caleb wound up helping me find and patch the slow leak in my sleeping pad. Both he and Amber were very welcoming. I paid to sleep in “the cave” which is a blasted out cavern with about the size of five small campsites. My gear is finally getting the drying it needs. Unfortunately, while writing this, I’m detecting that the patch in my air mattress isn’t holding.

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