Hayduke Trail – Day 10 (28 miles)
I packed up camp as I looked up at the Henry Range 7,000ft (2,000m) above me. I was heading there. It is the first of two really big climbs of the whole trail.
I set off and began the climb. It was a nice climb, fairly slow and steady. About halfway up I came out of the desert into a subalpine zone. There were trees, running water and the like. It is such a stark contrast to what I’ve been hiking through this whole trip. My favourite part was the aspen trees. There were groves of them everywhere and they were a vivid gold colour as they lost their leaves.
I turned off the road and climbed a ridge. By now I was above the treeline and there was almost no flora around. I got to the summit and looked around. It was the highest thing in the area and I got a wonderful view of the mess all around.
At one stage a family on quad bikes passed me. They were concerned that I was lost as they told me there is no way off this mesa due to cliffs on every side. I assured them I knew where I was and went on my way.
I continued on a little further and then left the road and headed for a cliff. When I got to the cliff, I was dumbstruck. It was a long way down and from where I was standing it looked near vertical.
I got near the bottom and it turned vertical, but I thought that I could get down along the wall. I dropped my bag over the side and began to climb down.
I came to regret throwing my bag down. The wall ended up not being solid enough for hand and foot-holds. I managed to find an alternate route, but all the while I had the worry of not finding my bag sitting in the back of my mind. Eventually, I was reunited with it and continued on down through the second and onto the third band.
The sun was setting and it was 15 minutes from being dark, but I hadn’t found a way down the third band. I gave up and retreated to flat ground to make camp.
I ate tomorrow’s lunch as I did not have enough water to have my dinner.
Not the most successful afternoon!