Hayduke Trail – Day 2 (22 miles)
I woke up at 6 am. The sun was yet to rise so I waited the 30 minutes it took to rise before I got up. Last night was excellent; warm, no breeze and no condensation.
I packed up and continued to follow the fence line from yesterday. The only sound that I could hear was a young coyote howling nearby.
After a couple of miles of following this cross country, I came to a cliff. I went right along its face until it diminishes and I could scamper down.
I turned left back to where I was heading. After 5 minutes I looked at my map and realised I should have continued right when I descended the cliff. I altered my course and went around another outcropping and down into the beginnings of Courthouse Wash.
I passed some puddles of water but decided to head to a spring less than a mile away. I found the gully that the spring was in and went up. It was dry. There is more water in a couple of miles, but lesson learnt to get water when it presents itself.
I found a puddle of water in a rockpool less than a mile down and filled up.
I continued down the wash. I had to scamper around basins that water has caused in the rocky creek bed. I arrived at Courthouse Wash proper and dropped into it. It was overgrown with trees, shrubs and wet boggy mud.
I pushed through but it was exceedingly slow going. As I pushed through I did see a lot of trees cut down by beavers.
After 30 minutes I had made no progress. I decided to try and get out of the canyon and walk next to it until the trees thinned out. The walls were almost vertical but 5 minutes later I found a spot to get out.
I clambered up the wall and followed the wash on the slick rock above. I was making far better progress! I also got some great views down the wash.
I continued in this manner for almost an hour. By this stage, the wash had opened up to a wide open area. The sides were also 40ft (13m) sheer walls. I could not get back down. There was also a side wash coming up that I wanted to get down before I arrived.
Unfortunately, I was still on top at this side canyon. And it was as deep as Courthouse. This offshoot was about 1.5 miles (2.5km) long before it definitely shallowed. I gritted my teeth and started up next to the new wash, the whole time looking for a way down.
Just over half an hour later I was at the top of the side wash. Here I could get into it! I made my way down into the beautiful contrast to the surface. Above I walked on exposed sandstone, and besides the odd Arun that was all I could see for miles around. Down here it was cooler and an oasis in comparison. Low green grass, bushes and trees surrounded by two vertical walls became the new standard.
I really enjoyed this new area as I followed game trails back to the wash I wanted to be in. When I arrived, I turned right and continued down.
I continued down the wash for about 3 hours before I popped out onto the Colorado River. I walked to the highway and crossed on the bridge. I was now in the town of Moab.
I went to the grocery store and bought 3 days resupply and a bunch of fruit. I then went to the post office to see if my new shelter had arrived. It had!
I wanted to get out of town early but decided to test the new tarp before I leave. I set it up and cut line to suit it.
I then set off. The afternoon session was the total opposite of the mornings. I had a 5-mile walk along a paved road. It paralleled the Colorado, with huge 300ft (100m) cliffs on either side. I found the views very entertaining, and with light traffic, the miles flew by.
The paved road turned into a small gravel road as it turned off the Colorado. I continued up this new canyon, with the same steep cliffs surrounding it.
I wanted to make another 4 miles but new I did not have time before sunset. I ended up finding some flat ground at a trailhead and went to bed.