Hayduke Trail – Day 12 (26 miles)
The wind really picked up last night to the point that I set up my shelter in the middle of the night to keep it off of me.
As I was packing up camp by the full moon, a person walked past. I was slightly surprised by this but all I could manage was a sleepy hello to them.
I continued up Mukey Twist Canyon, my favourite canyon to date. It was an easy walk on the flat dry creek bed, and it gave me the opportunity to admire the awesome sandstone cliffs on either side.
I followed the dry Halls Creek until I saw Red Slide. A 1,000ft (300m) old, red rock scree slope. I turned up this and was happy to find an old miners path up. This path made it a rather easy climb.
I reached the top of Circle Cliffs Pass and headed directly down into the visible Moody Canyon. Getting into the canyon was slightly hampered by scree slopes that had set like concrete. I gave up on entering directly and walked down the canyon a few hundred yards and went down a normal scree slope.
At about 3 pm I came to the first water I had seen since that morning. I stopped here, filled up my water bottles and took a power nap.
From here the scenery changed for the better. The canyon closed in and the cliffs got higher, but I was forced to focus on my feet as the creek became rather rocky.
As I walked along I was amazed at how easy today has progressed. Yesterday as well had miles of easy, beautiful terrain. Beautiful and easy, was I still on the Hayduke?
The answer to that question was a resounding ‘Yes’ and I reached the Escalante River just after 6 pm.
It seems that a lot of water in the desert is a nightmare. The river was a couple of feet deep and the bottom was thick mud as deep as the river. It was horrible to cross, but the overgrown banks were the bigger annoyance. They were covered in thick reeds and shrubs that I had to bash my way through.
I only made it a mile when I found a sandbank and set up camp. I ate dinner and patched a hole in my pack caused by a branch that skewered it.
I’m not looking forward to continuing down the Escalante tomorrow. But on a brighter note, my stomach started to settle down as the day went on.