We had twenty four miles until we reached the Arizona border and during those miles we found ourselves following fresh deer tracks down the beautiful length of Buckskin Gulch and then winding our way through the narrow path of the longest slot canyon in the U.S. When we emerged, grinning and giddy from the maze like walk in the tall, shaded stone walls we found ourselves at an intersection of canyons. When we stopped to check our maps we found a petroglyph drawing of a deer on the black stone slab canyon wall. We were excited to share our finding with two other hikers who were passing by and they took us around the corner from where we were sitting to show us an entire panel of stone carvings.
After a long period of lingering with the ancient art we continued hiking and found ourselves in another narrow, twisting slot canyon which spat us out at a trailhead not far from the Utah/Arizona border. We reached the border just when headlamps became necessary to see our surroundings and we found a campground with covered shelters, picnic tables, privies and several other campers. We thought we would make dinner in the campground and then hike another five or so miles to our next water source, but when we arrived at the campground we found the two hikers we had met earlier and found ourselves visiting for awhile over chips and beer which they kindly gave us. Since it was getting later and we were in such a nice place we decided to set our bed on the concrete floor beneath a shelter and stay there for the night.
The following morning we crossed into Arizona and began to follow the Arizona Trail which would take us most of our next section to the rim of the Grand Canyon. It was such a treat to have a marked trail to follow! We were able to stretch our legs and our stride, to get lost in our thoughts and deep into our conversations without having to worry about paying attention to our maps and landmarks in order to find our route. This was the type of long distance hiking that we had known before on other trails and as much as we both love the Hayduke and the challenges that it provides we were thrilled to have a bit of "mindless hiking" on a trail for awhile.