Packraft ready and T minus 11 days

March 18 is precipitating quite fast.  I am commited to four more days of work, and three more off days before I depart from home. I have been anxious and nervous lately and very excited with butterflies in my stomach. I guess the feeling I have can perhaps be compared to preparing for a summit of Mt.Everest. The sentiment is the same. Such preperations for adventurous endeavours I do not take lightly and quite frankly can be somewhat stressful to me. Needless to say, adequate preparations are essential in order to increase the odds of having a successful trip.

All of my food caches are set and ready to be hidden appropriatley in the backcountry.  I don’t remember if I mentioned this before, but yes, the Hayduke trail requires that we cache food and water at certain locations in the backcountry in order to resupply ourselves.  The trail is so remote, not crossing major highways for most of the time, making it difficult or nearly impossible to resuplly at a nearby town.  Despite that, we will be resupplying in some nearby towns like, Hanskville, Esclante, Tropic, South Rim Grand Canyon, and Colorado City, requiring us to hitch hike or walk into the nearest town.  In order to eleminate the need to carry 8 to 10 days of food in some sections, we opted to establish a total of five food caches and one water cache in order to alleviate a 40 mile waterless stretch.  Because to this cache dynamic, we aloted ourselved 3 days for travel from Southern AZ and the pre arranged food cache drop-offs. We leave home on the 15th.  We had planned for one more food-water cache at Burr Trail in Capitol Reef, but fortunately, we have some friends joining us from AZ in order to hike 5 days with us that section of the Hayduke. They will be brining us our resupply food from home.

On another note, I am excited to try out the new retrofits on my Alpacka-raft.  I may not have mentioned it before, but we are actually taking an alternate Hayduke route. That is the beauty of the Hayduke Trail Route, the flexibility to take alternates, catering the journey to our own desires. Hence, the reason for the packraft is that we will actually be floating the Colorado River from Moab to Lower Red Lake Canyon for 65 miles in Canyonlands National Park Needles District. After the float section, we will hike the nine miles to Elephant Hill Trailhead with our gear and pack rafts on our backs.   I had the whitewater spray deck and cargo-fly zipper added.  The spray deck will help me stay drier and warmer while the cargo-fly zipper will enable me to store my gear inside the packraft tubes, instead of on top of my legs on the bow, lowering the center of gravity.  Despite the added weight that the retrofit added to the packraft, I am looking forward to paddling it thru this section of the Hayduke.  Eleven days to go.

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Basic packraft set up with backpack strapped to bow. Picture taken on Escalante River, May 2014
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Packraft with whitewater spray deck and cargo fly zipper

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