Yes, we are finally in Dark Canyon Wilderness. The 19 mile day seemed long and tedious. It was mostly forest road walking, 14.4 miles of cold, windy, snowy-muddy road walking. We slept in today until 6:45 because it was so damn cold, 25F to be exact. Fortunately, since we were up on a mesa, the sun shined on us right away. I was a little frustrated that we didn’t leave until 9:15am, the rest of the guys taking too long to get ready. I would rather get started by 0745 and be done by 5:30pm.
Walking high up on these mesas granted us amazing views of all the canyons and the distant mountains, the La Sal’s near Moab and even the Henry Mountains, which the Hayduke Route takes us to, near Hanksville. I even saw from way up high, the landmark know as Bears Ears. Yes the contentious Bears Ears, as in Bears Ears National Monument, declared a monument by Obama using the Antiquities Act, only to be denounced by Trump. All politics aside, this place whole area deserves protection. Come see for yourself.
We eventually made it to Trail Canyon, where we finally had an actual trail again leading us directly into Dark Canyon where we are to eventually connect with the proper Hayduke Route. On the way down Trail Canyon, there were potholes with good water. I collected two liters in case we did not have water available in Dark Canyon. I waited for Pete to make sure he also gathered water. This canyon actually had plenty of water. I wished I’d gather more. Once making it down to Dark Canyon, I caught up with Cuban B, only to discover there was no water at this junction and that he had failed to gather any water in the last know source. He only had 750 mls left. Shit!! It was 6pm and Pete was perhaps half hour behind us. There was no way we were gonna keep hiking when sunset is at 7:30 pm. We had to camp here. I had about 5 liters. My only hope was that Pete hauled more. So, Cuban B and I decided to look for water while we waited for Pete, I found a side canyon not far from where we dropped pack that had granite looking creek bottom. I instantly made the educated guess that there would be some potholes in the granite. Sure enough there was water there for Cuban B. Eventually Pete caught up by 6:30 and we found a place to camp. After dinner, i still have 4 liters left. I hope tomorrow’s water is not too far away.