The Hayduke Trail is more of a route than a trail. The route travels through the deserts of the southwest across more than 800 miles of ever changing desert environments; expansive ridgelines, deep drainages, winding canyons, difficult climbs and challenging travel through removed backcountry. Together along with my boyfriend Goose (aka KCop) and his dog Shilo we plan on backpacking this route in its entirety. We will begin in Moab Utah, hike through six National Parks including Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce, Grand Canyon and complete our journey in Zion. We are guessing that this adventure will take us about 2 1/2 months to complete.
The last time I hiked a long stretch in the desert I turned around, flipped the desert off and said ‘goodbye forever!” I had surprisingly enjoyed that desert stretch much more than I had anticipated, but after 700 miles I had my fill and was done with that environment. At that moment I never wanted to hike in the desert again. Why now, as my next long distance adventure, would I choose to hike over 800 miles on the Hayduke Trail? I ask myself that question at times still, even within only days of embarking on this journey, and I am not exactly sure what is drawing me back into the desert. Perhaps because last fall I first travelled through Utah on a road trip which included several backpacking trips into these National Parks and I was amazed by the landscape. Perhaps because one of those trips was one of the toughest backpacking trips I have even taken and I was humbled by Mother Nature. I want to be humbled again. To connect with the rhythms of nature again and become part the environment. I want to push myself, to challenge my skills, to be slightly outside of my comfort zone. I want my body to hurt at times, to suffer slightly at times, to be uncomfortable at times. To be doubtful at the challenge of the route ahead and to push past all of those difficulties feeling accomplished, exhausted and strong. I want to see lands that I have never seen before, to be surprised and awed by the environment over and over. I want to be deep in the quiet of nature, to be far removed and surrounded by the stillness and vastness of the backcountry. I think the Hayduke Trail will be a journey that will require me to learn and grow, to challenge me and also reward me. I am excited for all of this. I am sure this adventure will be so much more than I can possibly imagine…adventures often are!