Hayduke Trail – Day 16 (18 miles)
I got up at the campground and packed up without rushing. I said goodbye to the people I’ve met over the last couple days and went to hitch to Tropic.
Within a second a car pulled over, and I saw a friendly face that I met on the PCT. He offered to drive me out to the trail.
However, first I needed to go to the next town to pick up my bounce box from the post office.
With that done, we set off to the Bryce Canyon NP. Here he dropped me off at the entrance. Said goodbye and my thanks and I walked in. It was lunchtime, so a rather late start to the day.
I needed to make my way to the other end of the park to meet the Hayduke. I jumped on the shuttle, but it only took me a couple of miles.
I then stuck out my thumb. Almost instantly sirens started to flair. It was a ranger. Am I in trouble? The ranger rolled down her window and questioned what I was doing, blocking the cars behind her in the process. I explained my situation and at the mention of the Hayduke, she offered me a ride.
I sat in the prisoner’s cage in the back seat and we rolled along talking for the 15-minute ride. She even stopped at a couple of the park features along the way so I could see them.
We arrived at my trailhead and I thanked her and said goodbye. Happy to be back on the trail, I started up the side trail that would connect to where I wanted to go.
At one point I met a couple hiking the lower rim trail. As I spoke to them they mentioned another hiker what was also hiking the Hayduke. They explained he was two hours ahead. I might meet someone else!
It was curious how the spectacular landscape of the ridge quickly changed to general scrubland. I put in my headphones and started singing along to some music as I made my way down the road.
Due to the late start, I continued walking until the last ray of light had vanished from the sky before stopping to set up camp.