Hayduke Trail – Day 1

I tried to sleep in as long as I could at the hostel in Moab, which was not very long. I then got up and packed the last of the food that I will be posting forward.

Leaving the hostel around 11 am, I walked into town. The only thing I needed to do was post the food and at the same time pick up my new shelter.

I posted the food ahead, but my shelter had not arrived yet. I’ll be back in this town in a couple of days so hopefully, it will show up before then.

I had lunch and then stuck out my thumb to get a ride into Arches NP and the start of the trail. I got a ride quickly with a couple of Columbian tourists. They got me into the park and halfway to my destination of the Devil’s Garden.

The drive alone was spectacular, with massive sandstone towers sticking out of the ground in every direction.

I stuck out my thumb and got a ride with three people from Wyoming. They were lovely and incredibly excited about the hike I was about to embark upon.

We arrived at the trailhead and I set off. I would have a couple of hours walk to get to the start of the trail. Luckily it passes through some of the best landscape of the park.
I followed the extremely well-used trail past a few awesome arches, including Double O arch until I reached Dark Angle (It is only a few miles walk and well worth a visit if you happen to be passing by). From here I continued on for another half a mile before turning left and heading down the cliff to Salt Valley.

It was a fairly easy descent, I just had to find the right way to go. When I reached the bottom, it was flat and sandy. I walked across this for almost a mile until I reached a jeep road.
I continued on the jeep road as lightning started cracking behind me. First the unusual thunderstorms in the Sierra and now here! Are they following me?

I followed the road across the open valley and up into the next rock outcropping. Here I meet a 4WD, they got out to see if I was ok. They thought my car must have been sand bogged and I needed help. When my situation was clarified, they offered me a bottle of water before I continued on. Trail Magic on Day 1!

I was still on the jeep road but had climbed upon the outcropping. I was meant to continue on this for another mile, but I was distracted by the amazing rock all around and ended up walking about 5 minutes too far.

I turned left into the scrub and started head in the right direction. I followed this direction for almost an hour until I hit the park’s boundary marked with a fence.
For the rest of the day, I followed the fence line. I watched the sunset on this open expanse, with huge vertical cliffs protruding in between.

A great start to the trail. The cross-country section has been easier than the Sierras so far. It is more walking on a fairly open field of loose sand while weaving my way through small shrubs and avoiding small, 1-inch cactus.
At one point I accidentally kicked a cactus and the needle went straight through my shoe and into my foot. Hopefully, that does not happen on a regular basis.

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