Hayduke Route 31st day, April 17, 2018: 21 miles/ 468 total. Wet feet all day! Goodbye Hackberry. Hello Paria River!

It was colder than usual this morning, but the thermometer, very stoically and objectively said it was only in the 40’s F. Ahh, but the wind was the true culprit in putting a bite in that chill along with sting in our eyes, with it’s ally the sand. Yes, sand everywhere in everything now. There is no escaping it. I feel my teeth are being ground down with how much sand I’ve chewed with my food.

As we were hiking out the last stretch of Hackberry Canyon this morning, I couldn’t help to compare it to the more famous Zion Canyon. But where Zion Canyon is more overwhelming, Hackberry Canyon is more bite size. Also, there are no crowds except for the ever present cattle (and there shit), which I’ve come to the conclusion are the primary wildlife (feral) in our public lands. Gotta have our burgers, right? The sun vanished for a brief moment while in Hackberry, covered by ominous clouds that suddenly began sprinkling snow flurries. Yes, snow. Better than rain we thought. Fortunately the sun ended up winning this battle for us, but not without the wind having the last word.

Leaving Hackberry, we had about a 2.5-3 mile road walk on Cottonwood Road before we jumped into the silty Paria River, another tributary of the Colorado River. I’ve actually hiked this River further down from Buckskin Gulch to the Grand Canyon years ago. This time, we are hiking it north, upstream against the current and with a mighty and annoying wind in our face. Despite, the wind in our face all day, the quicksand, the mud, and deep sand, I personally enjoy the beautiful scenery in the Paria. There is apparently the Old Paria Townsite or Ghost town along the River which we didn’t bother to look for more evidence of because I read recently that some jack-asses burned them down years back.

Eventually, we made it to camp at Deer Creek Canyon, where there was fresh spring “clear and not silty” water. That was a 21 mile wet feet all day for us. Hmm, I hope my shoes and socks don’t freeze overnight.

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