Hayduke Route 18th day: 17.5 miles/ 270.7 total. Totonka Leads the Way. Goodbye Henry’s. Hello Tarantula Mesa

Was that cattle herd or a buffalo herd we heard last night? We don’t know but the rumble sounded thunderous. I was wondering if sleeping next to this spring was unwise. Being that it was cold last night and morning, as we were still high in the Henry Mountains, we slept in, not leaving until 9am. We only had a 17 mile day, so we didn’t feel pressed. It was mostly dirt road walking for the first 10 miles anyway. Those 10 miles were actually quite scenic and peaceful, with panoramic views 360 degrees. Looking out west, I could see the water-pocket fold in Capitol Reef National Park, a 100 mile north-south ridge-fold on the Earth. That is our destination soon after this section. Beyond the water-pocket fold, I could see, Boulder Mountain, the Aquarius Plateau, and the Pink Cliffs of Bryce Canyon National Park. To the south, it was not hard to notice giant Navajo Mountain. I proposed to my lovely wife at the base of that mountain, at Rainbow Bridge to be exact. I don’t know what it is about this place, but it sure feels like home to me, especially this upcoming area of the Colorado Plateau I am about to hike thru. I like to think that perhaps I am a reincarnated old soul, an indigenous ancestral puebloan (Anasazi), that once roamed these lands. These lands sure feel familiar and like home to me.

So the bad news for today was that are two water sources on this road walk section were bone dry. The good news was that we still had about 3L each left. We’ve learned our lesson before on the Hayduke. Never assume the next water source will be dependable. The next supposed water source was 7 miles away. Well these next 7 mile were cross country and entailed route finding. The funny thing about these next 7 miles was that, what we thought were cattle trail and poop along the way, were actually buffalo trail. And yes, we actually saw a herd of buffalo. Yes!!! The famous Henry Mountain Buffalo, the supposed last pure breed’s of the Americas. Ha!! The Hayduke route was essentially following the buffalo trails, that led us to our camp spot and water. Let Totonka lead the way. Seeing those buffalo really made our day.

And about that water source, we at first were not sure about it. There was salt all around the water and the ground was orange. In other words, it looked alkaline and too mineralized. I tried about 50 ml after filtering and confirmed its quality. Yes, it was potable. Thank you Jesus. Viva Hayduke!! Viva Totonka!!

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