Day 14, 12-14 miles? Rough guess. Camp at Wooden shoe/Dark canyon intersection.
My tent has a tiny bit of frost on it in one corner. Those campsites in a valley near water are always a bit colder. Thank goodness I was underneath a tree so that helped a bit.
Just like yesterday morning I don’t feel very energetic. I wake up pretty early and am not sure I get enough good sleep. Or maybe I’m just worried about the climb up ahead.
The day starts with a steep cross country climb. The first section gets us to another ruin. We wish we would have pushed on last night and camped here instead. It’s much warmer and already in the sun. Plus it’s just a cool spot.
We then climb some more and are able to scout out the next section. The map has us go around to the left but also has a note that this isn’t necessarily the best way. We’re all looking at the slopes ahead of us and decide that the one on the right which we can see, versus the map route which we can’t see, looks doable. And it is. I’m huffing and puffing and we have some scrambly sections but we make it! What a relief!
I’m rather tired and have trouble catching my breath but we keep on pushing to the very high point of our route. Thank goodness we don’t have to climb all the way to the peak. Instead we skirt around and contour until we see an awesome open area with red gravel. Lunch!!!
I finally catch my breath and we’re up high enough, close to 8000 feet, that I’m able to get reception to call Greenleaf. They’re having a blizzard with thunder snow back home!
We on the other hand are baking in the sun, with just an occasional snow patch, as we finally make it to the Trail Canyon trailhead. Trail! Wahooo!!! We’re all very excited about having actual trail, maybe we can hike more than three miles in four hours like we just did. Oof!
The hike down the canyon is awesome!! Some great views at the top, decent trail and lots of trees. There are also some sweet potholes and I dump some water over my head to keep from overheating. I also fill up another liter bottle, who knows if there’s still water down below.
I’m loving the trail and since there’s no more cross country for a while I leapfrog with Prana and Haiku instead of hiking with them all the time. They want some more couple time and I’m loving walking and breaking at my own pace. I pass them and we meet up again at the trail junction with Dark canyon.
The trail crosses the now dry wash numerous times and it’s not always easy to find the trail on the other side. Now that I’m a bit behind Prana and Haiku I follow their footsteps but even then it’s a bit tedious. Still not complaining, it beats cross country!
There is another pothole in the wash, Prana and Haiku nicely wrote WATER in the sand. I don’t think I really need any but go check it out anyways and chug half a liter and fill up another liter. We’re hiking down hill so why not.
I pass them again and then we’re pretty close. It’s funny to see who finds the trail first. At some point I’m behind but pick it up while they are still in the wash a bit below. It’s like a treasure hunt. The trail has a bit less sandy sections than the wash but our shoes are filled with sand.
When we get to the junction with Wooden shoe canyon I’m happy with my extra pothole water and decide to camp here while Prana and Haiku are headed into the canyon looking for a spring. It’s nice for all of us to have a little bit of space and alone time.