We awoke to another cold morning; 27 degrees F to be exact. I was tired this morning, and if we weren’t so driven, we’d sleep in. But we knew we had miles to walk and miles had hikers to beat down. As we packed, we couldn’t help to notice the smell of some kind of fossil fuel. Maybe diesel, oil, grease. It finally dawned on me when I kept noticing the coal coming off the canyon walls. Oh yeah!! We are close the Smokey Mountain, that part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument where coal is burning and smoldering under ground. Many people don’t know that about GSENM. They also don’t know about the major paleontological digs and finds that happen hear. So why do Utah lawmakers and POTUS want to shrink this monument. Well, I bet you know the answer.
Moving along, we were happy to see that Last Chance Creek had water in it all thru out the day as we hiked up canyon. Oh, thank God for that. Water is not guaranteed in these parts, and seeing so much water all day really makes me happy. Even better, the canyons we hiked today were so much easier to navigate thru. So much so that we hiked 23 miles, even with two long breaks in between. We eventually made it to Paradise Canyon where the water had dried up. Rumor had it, however, that there was water one mile up canyon from Last Chance Creek Canyon. Walking up, I was praying that there’d be water. Sure enough, about a mile up, I noticed the canyon floor become moist and salty. Then cottonwoods appeared. You know what that means. Cottonwoods mean water!!! And just like that, at our 23 mile mark for today, we had a wet camp, with decent puddles of water for our taking. Granted, they were somewhat fouled by cattle. Heck, in this country, we can’t be picky. Water is life. Needless to say, we filtered that water. Heck we even treated it chemically with bleach. Gotta make sure we kill the viruses and prions too, especially in this cattle country.