Hayduke Trail – Day 13 (17 miles)
I started down the Escalante River again. I was making slightly better progress than yesterday, with the thickly overgrown sides of the river giving way to the occasional sandy section.
The vegetation on the side was incredible. I was getting scratched left, right and centre. When the trees became too thick to push through, I climbed up the bank slightly and scrambles through the boulders.
It had taken me 2.5 hours to walk the 2.5 miles. It was slow going. I decided to give the river another try. I went in and the water was just above my knees. This time I could stand on the river bottom.
I began to walk down the water, moving across the river to utilise the sandbanks that would appear. I was actually making progress!
The water was just on the cold side and after a long section wading, they got that icy feeling that all you can feel is the burning sensation. It was still a far better option than pushing through on the bank.
I continued this was for a remaining couple of miles to the Gluch. It was actually rather fun. When I was not concentrating on what I was doing, the sheer beauty of the canyon simply dumbfounded me.
Finally on the open mesa, I started cross country for the trailhead. This section was a mixture of deep sand and slick rock. I weaved my way through the sand on top of the rock as much as I could.
I arrived at the trailhead and now my trail was a well-graded jeep road. I went as fast as I could on this. I had 6 miles to get to the popular Hole in the Rock Rd, and hopefully a hitch out.
It was straightforward, and I got down to the valley. I was talking to a couple camped on the side of the road, when I car came past. I stuck out my thumb and they pulled over.
Town here I come!
It was a long drive in, and we talked. The two women have been travelling the world for the last 12 months, and I listened in awe at some of their adventures.
In town I ran into another PCT hiker I met this year.
We drove out to his campsite and drank a couple of beers as we exchanged our journeys since last seeing each other. This did not last very long as we were both tired and went to bed not long after sunset.