Hayduke Route 26th day: 15.6 miles/362.7 total. Goodbye Escalante. Hello Kaiparowits Plateau. Into the Heart of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Today was a tough day, both emotionally and physically. I’m not gonna lie, I was considering going home with my wife instead of continuing the trail. I even asked her, “Do you want me to go home?” She essentially said, yes and no. I must finish what I started.

After breakfast in Escalante and a one hour drive down Hole-in-the-Rock Road, we arrived back to the trail where we left off by 10:00. After our goodbyes, we climbed the 3900 feet, 7 miles from the road the top of the Fifty Mile Bench (aka the Kaiparowits Plateau. The views were quite spectacular looking out east towards the Canyons of the Escalante River. What was also spectacular were the 50 mph winds, which made for tough hiking. I either couldn’t see due to all the sand blowing in my eyes, or the wind nearly knocking me on my ass. After 9 miles, we arrived at our last water source for 30 miles. It was a protected from the cattle spring, where spent about 1.5 hours eating lunch-dinner and topping off with water for this next dry 30 miles. Pete and I I left with 7.5 liters, Cuban B, 8.5. On top of that, 4.5 days of food, so needless to say, our packs were heavy. We didn’t leave the spring until 4:30pm, so we concluded that our 20 mile day goal was not happening, since we only had 3 hours left of sunlight in rough terrain.

As we left, the wind continued, and it began to get chilly. By the time we were making our way down narrow Monday Canyon, it began to snow. Damn!! Luckily it didn’t last, which is good because there was absolutely no where to camp in this tight canyon. After 15.7 miles, we finally found a decent place to camp by 7:30pm, which is kinda late for us. If we want to have a wet camp tomorrow, we need to do a 25 mile day. I doubt that will happen with the rough terrain we have to traverse. Fortunately, it will not be hot (actually cold) next few days, which will enable us to stretch our 7.5-8L of water.

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