Wow! What a day. I am tired. The Hayduke Route really kicked my (our) asses today. Traveling down Monday Canyon entailed the use of hands and feet, climbing over and under huge boulders. Sometimes the boulders would pile up, essentially choking the canyon and preventing easy passage. Sometimes we’d have down climb sketchy rock faces, and sometimes jump off them them from 5 feet high with heavy waterlogged packs. That was the part that was so tiresome, especially on the knees. Surprisingly, when we got to Rogers’s Canyon, there was flowing water and flowing for miles. This water was totally unexpected and welcomed. It was even ice cold. On the negative note, we had been hauling 6-7 liters of water for what we thought would be a 30 mile dry stretch according to our trail data. Such is the nature of the Hayduke Route. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Leaving Rogers Canyon, the down climbing ended and the uphill on Navajo Canyon began. Just when we thought the hard part for the day was done, Navajo Canyon had it’s own cruxes. The guidebook mentioned that this canyon was straight forward with just one pour-off to climb over. One pour-off my ass!! I counted at least 6 pour offs that required quite the moves to get around. To top it off, when there was easy passage it was choked up by large bundles of stabbing tumble weed, that even with pants and long sleeves, we felt the daggers while bushwhacking thru. Ouch ouch!!
Finally, after what seemed an eternity thru Navajo, we climbed an old jeep road to a main dirt track that eventually led us to another old abandoned jeep road. That abandoned jeep road dropped us into the canyon that would drop into Reece Canyon. By then it was 7pm and we called it a day. It was a dry camp, but fortunately we still had plenty of water until the next source 5 miles ahead.
On a side note, we keep on coinciding with and frog-leaping the other Haydukers we saw in Escalante (Cougar Bait, Corey and Quetzal). Looks like we will be on the same pace as them. The funny thing about them, that I just realized, is that Quetzal (from Mexico) barely speaks English and Corey doesn’t speak a word of Spanish, and apparently they are an item. Cougar Bait is essentially the third wheel that is leading the group since he has all the maps and beta on the Hayduke. Ha!! What a threesome.
Quetzal (which means feather in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs) likes conversing with Cuban B and I since we both are fluent in Spanish. She apparently is quite the traveler and loves thru-hiking. She did the PCT last year, the year with epic, record snow pack. She has aspirations to be a triple crowner and has dreams of extending the Continental Divide Trail into Mexico, essentially making it a multinational trail. Heck, why not extend it all the way to Patagonia. A ultra thru-hiker can dream, right?