Hayduke Trail – Day 9 (21 miles)
I was doing some calculations last night before I went to sleep. I needed to walk almost 20 miles without a trail and hitch into Hanksville before the post office closes at 3 pm. It was not going to happen. Even more so because Dirty Devil Creek has a reputation for being slow, tedious and kind of annoying.
I resigned myself to spending 3 days in Hanksville until it opened again. This unplanned town stop is not my idea of fun.
I walked up Dirty Devil Creek. After about 30 minutes I saw a break in the cliff that I could get up. I was curious if I got up the mesa, would I be able to shortcut the winding canyon to the highway.
I sat down and looked at my map. Yes, I think I could make it! There were a couple of jeep roads that I could use as well!
I headed up the steep scree slope, which worked out better than I had hoped and was on my way.
Up on top, it was pretty boring. The terrain actually reminded me of my home country and the Australian outback. Dry, flat and not a lot of interest.
I hurried along this alternative as fast as I could. I had about a half an hour of cross-country travel and then hit a road. From here it was simple, I wound my way through the roads until I hit the highway. It was 2:15 by the time I hit the road.
The town was a half an hour drive, so I wanted a quick hitch into town. Not a car passed for the first 5 minutes. I thought I might be out of luck.
Just as I was resigned to be too late, a car pulled over. It was tight, but I got there just as the postmaster was walking around to lock up. Success! I picked up my shoes and a new rain poncho.
I relaxed, had some food and resupplied for the next leg.
I tried to hitch out but I must have used up all my luck on the way in. After well over an hour or trying, the owner of the store I was in front of said he would give me a lift. I chipped in some gas money and was back on the trail.
I hiked for just over an hour before nightfall. I made camp at the base of Henry Mountain, the highest point of the trail at nearly 12,000ft (3600m). The gentle rhythm of the wind carried me off to sleep.