Hayduke Trail – Day 17 (30 miles)
Today was a bit of a link day, maybe the first of the trail. Not bad for a few hundred miles of walking.
It was a cold night and I did not really want to get up. The weather report said it was 16F (-9C), although I think it may have been a tad warmer.
On a side note: The switch to winter has definitely started here, with each day getting noticeable colder. I thought that I really need to get over the Kaibab Plateau soon as last night was pushing my 3 season gear to the limit.
I started walking with everything but my down vest on. I had about 2 miles to go before the first water source for the day.
I continued down Park Wash and by the time I got to Jimmy spring the temperature has increased enough to be comfortable. For once it was nice water, infact it was the best water on the trail so far.
The rest of the day was fairly monotonous as I continued down the wash and onto Park Wash Rd. It opened out into a wide open terrain that left me with little visual stimulation.
Although the road was flat, it was not easy walking due to the constant deep sand. By the time I stopped for lunch at a cow trough, my hamstrings were burning from slipping all day.
The great water earlier in the day was just an anomaly as I stared at the algee laden water from the trough. I filled up and continued on down the lonesome road.
The afternoon turned out to be much the same as the morning. It was hard to remain on what I was doing, and tried to focus on my walking form just to maintain my pace and avoid zoning out.
Late in the afternoon I hit the highway, walked about 10 minutes down it and then crossed to the other side. This was a bit more exciting. The canyon had great sandstone walls and the creekbed ranged from heavily covered in river rock to patches of mudholes with the last of the monsoon seasons water.
I filled up from one of these mudholes to save me walking 20 minutes off trail to a reliable water source.
I ended up getting to the entrance to Buckskin Gulch when the sun started to set. It is the longest slot canyon in the states. Tomorrow should be a great day!