Hayduke Route 9th day: 18.10 miles today/143.9 total. Good Bye Canyonlands. Hello Beef Basin Road

It’s 9pm right now, and I am mustering energy to write this entry. I am tired, sleepy. Today was the first day that i felt like the Hayduke is starting to feel like a thru hike. It was a long 18.5 mile day. We were up by 6am and left camp by 8:15. We figured that it takes all three of us combined that long to get ready. I’m usually the first one up. Cuban B is usually the last.

Exiting the last stretch of Salt Creek Canyon was the most interesting because of the many Native American ruins we encountered. It was hard not to stop to explore these granaries, cliff dwellings, and pictographs. That is why today took longer than expected, because we kept on stopping to explore these trail side attractions. I definitely enjoyed exploring them. My favorite pictograph was the all-american man colored in red, white, and blue. If definitely got me thinking, is that coincidence or did these ancient ancestral puebloans foresee the establishment of the USA? Hmm? Moving along, we decided to start hiking faster after that trail side attraction, making it to our lunch spot at mile 9.25 and our last water source for about 25 miles. We treated water and camel-ed up, bolusing ourselves with up to 2 liters of water each. We each packed about 6 liters of water. On the way out of Canyonlands, we had an encounter with a park ranger. He of course asked for our permit and made sure we had our bear canister. Funny thing was that we were all gripping about having to pack this heavy bear canister and we hadn’t even seen a Ranger. No worries, we are in compliance. After a steep climb from the canyon bottom we finally made it to the mesa top, where Cuban B surprisingly had cell phone signal and called the manufacturer of his solar panel to get a new one, for it was malfunctioning. He arranged to have it sent to him to Hanksville.

It was about five miles of forest road walking on these mesas before finally making it to camp, 18.1 miles later, at 6:30pm with an hour of light to spare before sunset. It was already cold when we dropped pack. As i write this, my watch thermometer registers 27F (-2.7C). Burr! After dinner, i still have 5L remaining. I’ve only drank 1L since leaving the last water. We have about 10-13 miles of dirt road walk before we make it our next canyons, Dark Canyon, where I hope there is water right away.

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