Deep in the canyons

The route this past week has taken us far from civilization and deep into the canyons and high plateaus of the southern Utah desert. Occasionally we have dirt roads or faint trails to follow, but most of our miles have been walking up washes, climbing out of canyons, pushing through shrubs, hopping over boulders, and hauling our packs and ourselves up and down steep cracks, pour offs and rock ledges. 

We spent a couple of days in Cayonlands National Park and then on BLM land where we had stashed a food and water cache. We arrived to our cache in the late afternoon and we were both thrilled to find that we had also left a six pack of Sierra Nevada pale ale with this cache. This was enough to give us a good buzz and we had a great afternoon gorging on our cached food, dancing to music on the rocks, doing yoga to stretch our stiff muscles and watching the sunset from the ledge near our camp.

The following days took us even deeper into the backcountry and we found ourselves climbing in and out of several massive canyons picking our sometimes near vertical route up rock walls and boulder fields. In between these canyon climbs we moved across mesas and plateaus with endless views of the vast open land surrounding us.

Our next resupply stop was in a one store stop near Lake Powell called Hite. The girl who worked at the store, Melissa, had been kind enough to allow us to leave our boxes in her house a couple of weeks ago and when we arrived in Hite we met Melissa with her new puppy walking up the road from the store. She greeted us with, "I must have boxes for you at my house." and she then proceeded to invite us to come over for showers, food, air conditioning and a place to stay if we like. She had to work all day so after we indulged on cold food at the store she brought us to her house, gave us a quick tour and then left us with the place to ourselves for the day. Not only was there a trail angel on the Hayduke Trail, but she also confirmed our suspicions that there were also several other thru hikers out there!  She had been a trail angel to them as well and had just dropped them at the trailhead the day prior. After a restful day at her house, Melissa dropped us off at the trail after dark, we made camp behind a rock and set our alarm for an early morning of hiking to start again the following day on what would be our fourth section of the Hayduke. We hoped to catch the other hikers soon and hang with some hiker trash!