Henry Mountains and a movie date in the woods

We left Hanksville after a great day of rest where we stayed in a hotel, ate at the only three places in town and met up with two other thru hikers! In the early morning the housekeeper from the hotel where we stayed dropped us at the trail and we began our long rise up into the Henry Mountains and the tallest point on the Hayduke Trail on the summit of Mt. Ellen at 11,419ft. We had been looking forward to these mountains and the change of scenery that they would provide, but first we had about ten miles of walking across the mesa in deep sand dodging plants with weapons aimed at our ankles and thighs. When we reached the base of the mountains and began our accent the temperatures began to drop and a small creek bubbled alongside our dirt road route. The pinyon pines grew to full sized trees that were now mixed with other tall pine trees and gigantic aspen which burned in the brightest yellows and oranges of fall colors. We began to notice the elevation as we rose over 10k ft and just before the summit we made camp for the night as the sun sank and the cold night set in.

The following morning we slept late and snuggled in our bags long into the morning. Initially we had discussed possibly rising in the dark and hiking to the summit for coffee with the sunrise, but the freezing early morning hours changed that plan completely. When we finally did hike to the summit in the morning sunlight we startled a large group of sleeping deer and followed them for much of the day as they grazed there way along the open mountainsides. After a break at the summit we made quick time with the decent and were soon back in the sand and small fierce bushes of the desert floor. We moved quickly down the canyon as we were excited to reach our destination for the night. We had a cache ahead waiting for us with beer, juice, olives, pickles and other good foods. Goose had downloaded a movie onto his ipad at our last town stop and we had a dinner and movie date planned for the night... we had been looking forward to our "date" all day and we were thrilled to arrive to camp with a couple of hours of sunlight left and plenty to keep us fed and happy for the night. We stayed up late drinking, eating and laughing at the comedy we were watching from the warmth of our sleeping bags and the shelter of a large juniper tree. It was a good day and a great night!